Sunday, 6 June 2010

Country Air, take a good long sniff of that whiff

It appears that smelly country air may be good for you. The Saturday issue of the Telegraph has an article about how Pungent country air does you good .  Researchers fed live bacteria to mice and assessed their ability to navigate a maze compared to control mice that were not fed the bacteria."We found that mice that were fed live M. vaccae navigated the maze twice as fast and with less demonstrated anxiety behaviors as control mice," says Matthews of The Sage Colleges in Troy, New York.

Mycobacterium vaccae is a nonpathogenic species of the Mycobacteriaceae family of bacteria that lives naturally in soil. Its name is derived from the Latin word, vacca (cow) as the first described strain was isolated from cow dung in Austria. Prof Dorothy Matthews, who led the new research, says it “suggests that Mycobacterium vaccae may play a role in anxiety and learning in mammals”, testifying to the fact that “we evolved with dirt as hunter gatherers”. In other words, cowpats fertilise minds as well as fields.
Next time I am walking the dog through Larks Hill, and the cows are there maybe I will sniff the air that bit better.

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