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  1. The recently coined term “hygiene hypothesis”describes the way in which excessive sanitation has caused human bodies to turn on themselves in lieu of parasites and other bacteria to fight. Using a storybook format, this project describes the way in which our bodies co-evolved with environmental saprophytes, bacteria and helminths to which they were continuously exposed to and developed an effective and deadly defense against. However, as civilization, and thus sanitation, have taken huge leaps forward in a relatively short period of time, in extreme cases the immune system begins to attack itself. This project displays that while the parasites and other invaders no longer attack, the immune system remains equally as strong as it was when bacteria were plentiful. This, they argue, can cause increased inflammation, with the potential to cascade into a full blown auto-immune condition due to the destruction of the system of checks and balances. More research is necessary to discover how to disable the overblown immune response in the future.

    Katie Hayden

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