Saturday, April 28, 2012

Stop killing and demonizing microbes!

Here is some relevant research. I have always followed in mind this line of thinking; microbes are our friends. Microbiota co-inhabiting us regulate our immune system and prevent us from allergies and immune deregulation. Daily shaving, shampooing, scrubbing with antibacterial soaps (Dettol, Savlon, Lifebuoy, etc.), gargles with spirited mouthwashes and then spraying denat and brut based deodorants - these have devastating impact on the body surface microbiota. We have been doing this for 50 years now and I am afraid, we might have by now grown a completely different bacterial microflora than what was populating our elders about 100 years ago. I think we can't say they were dirtier, but they were definitely healthier and active. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Recent and noteworthy in PLoS ONE: Testosterone and Cortisol Release among Spanish Soccer Fans Watching the 2010 World Cup Final

This field study investigated the release of testosterone and cortisol of a vicarious winning experience in Spanish fans watching the finals between Spain and the Netherlands in the 2010 FIFA World Cup Soccer. Spanish fans (n = 50) watched the match with friends or family in a public place or at home and also participated in a control condition. Consistent with hypotheses, results revealed that testosterone and cortisol levels were higher when watching the match than on a control day. However, neither testosterone nor cortisol levels increased after the victory of the Spanish team. Moreover, the increase in testosterone secretion was not related to participants' sex, age or soccer fandom, but the increase in total cortisol secretion during the match was higher among men than among women and among fans that were younger. Also, increases in cortisol secretion were greater to the degree that people were a stronger fan of soccer. Level of fandom further appeared to account for the sex effect, but not for the age effect. Generally, the testosterone data from this study are in line with the challenge hypothesis, as testosterone levels of watchers increased to prepare their organism to defend or enhance their social status. The cortisol data from this study are in line with social self-preservation theory, as higher cortisol secretion among young and greater soccer fans suggests that especially they perceived that a negative outcome of the match would threaten their own social esteem.  Read this interesting Open Access article, in full, here.

Reference: van der Meij L, Almela M, Hidalgo V, Villada C, IJzerman H, et al. (2012) Testosterone and Cortisol Release among Spanish Soccer Fans Watching the 2010 World Cup Final. PLoS ONE 7(4): e34814. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0034814