Killing Ourselves with Cleanliness

As the number of allergy sufferers soar, potential cures are getting more radical. Alternative theories abound on why developed countries have such high rates of allergic reactions.

Allergies are far more common in rich nations than in poor ones. Hygiene hypothesists believe that's because people in poor countries are riddled with parasites. Studies in Africa and South America have tested groups of parasite-infected people and found them to have few or no allergies. These people were then treated with vermifuges. Once they became parasite-free, they developed allergies, Pathologist Marie-Helene Jouvin says. "We don't know precisely how it works, but parasites have developed this very fine mechanism that allows them to survive in a host's body without killing the host and without the host killing them."

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Mind & Brain

We all know eating “healthy” food is good for our physical health and can decrease our risk of developing diabetes, cancer, obesity and heart disease. What is not as well known is that eating healthy food is also good for our mental health and can decrease our risk of depression and anxiety.

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For the 99%, the lines are getting blurry

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What is the middle class now, anyway? (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs

For those of us who follow politics, we’re used to commentators referring to the President’s low approval rating as a surprise given the U.S.'s “booming” economy. This seeming disconnect, however, should really prompt us to reconsider the measurements by which we assess the health of an economy. With a robust U.S. stock market and GDP and low unemployment figures, it’s easy to see why some think all is well. But looking at real U.S. wages, which have remained stagnant—and have, thus, in effect gone down given rising costs from inflation—a very different picture emerges. For the 1%, the economy is booming. For the rest of us, it’s hard to even know where we stand. A recent study by Porch (a home-improvement company) of blue-collar vs. white-collar workers shows how traditional categories are becoming less distinct—the study references "new-collar" workers, who require technical certifications but not college degrees. And a set of recent infographics from CreditLoan capturing the thoughts of America’s middle class as defined by the Pew Research Center shows how confused we are.

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