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Child's Play

Good news for kids who like to play outside. 

According to new research, a healthy and diverse microbiome may be key to preventing childhood leukemia. And one of the best ways to encourage “gut” health is to get plenty of exposure to dirt—preferably “healthy” dirt, not dirt whose microbial activity has been killed or compromised by toxic agricultural chemicals.

Leading cancer researcher Professor Mel Greaves of the Centre for Evolution and Cancer at the Institute of Cancer Research in London theorizes that the onset of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)—the most common form of childhood leukemia—may be prevented if a child is exposed to common bacteria and viruses very early in life. Also known as microbes, these bacteria and viruses can be found in most natural environments, including in healthy soil and in human breast milk. 

Most cases of childhood leukemia have high remission rates—up to 90 percent. But conventional treatments for the disease include chemotherapy, radiation and other cancer drugs. And those can create life-long negative side effects. 

Read ‘Can Playing in the Dirt Help Prevent Childhood Leukemia?’

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