Tuesday November 4, 2008 (foodconsumer.org) -- Women's
hands are dirtier than men's in terms of the number of species of microbes
harboring on the palms, according to a new study published online Nov 3 in this
week's issue of the
Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences.
The study of 51 college students led by University of
Colorado-Boulder Noah Fierer, Ph.D., showed that only five species were shared
by all participants.
The right and left palms of the same individual shared
only about 17 percent of the same bacteria types, and among all study subjects
only 13 percent were shared with each other.
The study also found human hands harbored far more
numbers of bacteria species than previously thought and women had a greater diversity
of microorganisms on their hands than men.
Fierer and team found a typical hand harbored roughly 150
species of bacteria and in total 4,700 different bacteria species across 102
hands in the study were determined.
"The sheer number of bacteria species detected on
the hands of the study participants was a big surprise, and so was the greater
diversity of bacteria we found on the hands of women," said Fierer.
The researchers speculated that men have less types of
bacteria in their hands probably because men's skin is more acidic. Studies
showed that microbes are less diverse in acidic environments.
The diversity of bacteria was fairly stable on individual
hands and did not change much by regular hand-washing.
The authors said most of bacteria are non-pathogenic,
meaning that they do no harm to humans.
Early studies found hand-washing with soap and water are effective at
getting rid of germs on the hands.
The findings may help scientists to determine a healthy
baseline of bacteria beyond which other bacteria could be associated with
certain diseases, said Fierer.
Disclaimer: What's published on this website should be considered opinions of respective writers only and foodconsumer.org which has no political agenda nor commercial ambition may or may not endorse any opinion of any writer. No accuracy is guaranteed although writers are doing their best to provide accurate information only.
The information on this website should not be construed as medical advice and should not be used to replace professional services provided by qualified or licensed health care workers. The site serves only as a platform for writers and readers to share knowledge, experience, and information from the scientific community, organizations, government agencies and individuals.
Foodconsumer.org encourages readers who have had medical conditions to consult with licensed health care providers - conventional and or alternative medical practitioners.