Associate Professor, University of Colorado, Boulder
Humans co-evolved with environmental microorganisms in soil, mud, and water that, because they were abundant and harmless, induced immune tolerance. Since the advent of increased hygiene in urban civilizations, exposure to these microorganisms has been dramatically decreased. It has been proposed that the relative absence of these organisms, termed “Old Friends”, has contributed to an epidemic of inflammatory disease, including allergy, asthma, type I diabetes, and, we have argued, anxiety and affective disorders. In this presentation, Dr. Lowry will discuss evidence from animal models that vaccination with Mycobacterium vaccae, one of the “Old Friends”, would be a rational approach to prevention of anxiety and affective disorders.