Too much cleanliness may depress you!

Updated: Apr 19, 2011, 19:25 PM IST

London: Are you obsessed with cleanliness? If yes, this may make you depressed, scientists claim.

Researchers found that cleaner homes and offices are leaving lower levels of dirt and bacteria which could lead to weaker immune systems and, in turn, can impair the brain function.

Previous studies have linked clean homes to weak immune systems, while others have suggested a child`s exposure to bacteria and things like animal hair could help develop a resistance to some illnesses.

The latest study, from Atlanta, suggested that weaker immune systems tend to over-react to dust and dirt in the form of inflammations or allergies which can slow the brain`s production of "happy" chemicals such as serotonin and cause depression, the Telegraph reported.

According to the researchers, the rates of depression are far higher in the developed world than in poorer parts of the planet.

For example, about 10 per cent of people claim to suffer depression in Britain, while it is just one per cent in Nigeria.

The research was conducted by exposing 27 patients to the drugs which are used to treat hepatitis C because it causes similar reactions to allergies.

Dr Andrew Miller, one of the researchers, said: "We believe the immune system is causing depression.

"As people develop and grow up, their immune system develops. If they are exposed to more bacteria and parasites, they are able to better control the inflammation.

"Nowadays, people`s environment is much cleaner and hygienic so our immune system never really learns how to deal with infectious agents."