• Dr Glenn Caley

Rats don't cause rubbish dumps

But they thrive in dirty environments where there is food for them.




In the 1800s, the French chemist Louis Pasteur popularised the germ theory, proposing that microorganisms are the cause of most diseases.


By contrast, physiologist Claude Bernard, taught that the ‘terrain’ of the human body was more important than the ‘pathogens’ that infect it.

We are surrounded by, and even harbour, microorganisms in our bodies. When exposed to pathogens, we become ill if our defenses are weakened.

Unlike the germ theory, the terrain theory explains why some people get sick while others, when exposed to the same pathogens, do not.

For this reason, it is said that on his death bed, Pasteur admitted, “Bernard was right: the pathogen is nothing, the terrain is everything.”



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