Dogs may prevent, not cause, asthma in kids
If fears of triggering asthma are keeping you from getting a dog, you might want to reconsider.
University of Arizona researchers say having a dog in the home at the time of a child’s birth may actually decrease his or her chance of developing asthma. And the National Institutes of Health think it’s worth almost a million dollars to find out for sure.
Serrine Lau and a team of researchers at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy have received a two-year, $937,000 challenge grant to study the issue.
“Several longitudinal studies have shown that exposure to certain domestic animals, for example, indoor dogs, during a person’s early life (even possibly before he or she is born) is associated with strong protection against asthma and asthma-related conditions later in life,” Lau said.
“The purpose of our research is to learn more about the biological mechanisms responsible for the protective effects of dog exposure. Conceivably, this could be a step toward someday leveraging these mechanisms for treatment or even preventive purposes.”
The team hypothesizes that exposure to dogs at an early age creates a “signature” (either the presence or the modification of a protein) in a child’s blood.
By comparing the signatures of children known to have been exposed to dogs at an early age with the signatures of children known not to have been exposed to dogs, and by noting the presence or absence of asthma in the children, the team hopes to learn more about how children exposed to dogs at an early age are protected from asthma.
(Photo: Courtesy of University of Arizona)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 13th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: asthma, cause, children, college of pharmacy, dog, dogs, grant, infants, news, prevent, prevention, research, science, serrine lau, study, university of arizona