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Why Dirt Is Good For Your Child’s Health And Other Answers Form New Book By UC San Diego Scientist

Why Dirt Is Good For Your Child's Health And Other Answers Form New Book By UC San Diego Scientist

GUEST:

Rob Knight, director, Center for Microbiome Innovation at UC San Diego

Transcript

"Dirt Is Good, The Advantage of Germs for Your Child's Developing Immune System," by Jack Gilbert, Ph.D. and Rob Knight, Ph.D.

Is it OK for my child to eat dirt? Should I get a dog? What causes colic? Are microbes to blame?

Those are just a few of the questions Rob Knight, a co-founder of the American Gut project and a professor in the department of pediatrics at UC San Diego, has been asked over the years by new parents and parents-to-be concerned about how to keep their children safe and healthy.

Knight and his American Gut project partner, Jack Gilbert, a professor of surgery at the University of Chicago, have spent years studying the human microbiome, the ecosystem of microbes including bacteria and other single-celled organisms that live in our bodies, and its connection to human health.

Now Knight and Gilbert have turned their research into a book, "Dirt Is Good, The Advantage of Germs for Your Child's Developing Immune System."

"Things that happen early in our childhood affect our health in terms of our microbiome throughout the rest of our lives," said Knight.

Knight said the book aims to answer questions he and Gilbert had about their own children in addition to questions people have asked them over the years after giving talks on the microbiome.

"I think it's a topic where there's a tremendous amount of interest and at the same time where there's very little solid evidence out there. Like if you go on the internet you just get this incredibly confusing set of web pages where some of them are accurate, some of them are not accurate and it's really hard to tell which are which," said Knight.

Knight discusses his book Wednesday on Midday Edition.

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