Your hands are raw.
That's because you've washed them a dozen times already today. Same thing yesterday and you used antibacterial gel in between. You don't touch anything that might remotely be germy, and you're super-careful about hygiene.
But consider this: Your great-grandma never had antibacterial anything, and she managed to live and procreate. Is there a lesson here?
Submitted Photo - - At 290 pages, “The Wild Life of Our Bodies” by Rob Dunn retails for $26.99.
Author Rob Dunn thinks so. In his new book "The Wild Life on Our Bodies," he says that there may be good reason to reach back 100 years in order to be healthier today.
What makes us human?
The answer, says Rob Dunn, is "unambiguous." We are human because we "take control" and change the world around us. But while that often seemed like a good idea, the result hasn't always been sweet.
Intestinal worms, for instance, used to be common a century ago, and still are in some countries. We Westerners usually consider the beasties as horrifying but Dunn says that the removal of such parasites from our bodies might've caused more harm than good. Some research points to the lack of worms as a reason for the rise in diseases of the digestive system.
Scientists have developed several completely germless creatures for laboratory use but for humans, being 100 percent germ-free is no way to live. Not only does the pursuit of germlessness put us at risk for all sorts of illnesses and physical problems, it can seriously curtail a normal social life. When H1N1 broke out around the world, the complete avoidance of strangers was common.
But human choice isn't completely at fault for what ails us. Evolution has had a hand in trading one danger with another. We are less hairy, Dunn hypothesizes, because parasites love fur and hate its lack. But in evolving with smooth skin to avoid bugs, we've invited skin cancer into our lives.
So what's the solution? Are we supposed to pursue ticks or roll in dirt? Should we inoculate ourselves with worms?
Dunn writes about two people who did just that.
Though it's decent enough for a good look, "The Wild Life of Our Bodies" felt to me like a book in search of the right path to take.
Sometimes, it was deliciously disgusting and I found myself completely absorbed in what Dunn was saying. It's intriguing to think that all the "bad" things we've eradicated in the name of modernity have come back to bite us or, more specifically, have not come back to bite us which, it turns out, is not good.
Then there were times when Dunn seemed to go a bit off-topic, and I had to force myself to focus. Fortunately, there are nuggets of WOW buried in those chapters, because that's what kept this book in my hands.
In general, I do think "The Wild Life of Our Bodies" is worth a try, particularly if you're willing to meander and explore. If you're really not much of a science fan, though, just wash your hands of it.