New Swedish research has found that growing with a dog is linked to a lower risk of asthma in children, especially if the dog is female.
Conducted by researchers at the Karolinska Institutet and the University of Uppsala, the new large-scale study analyzed national registry data for all children born in Sweden between 2001 and 2004, a total of 23,585 babies who had a dog at home during the first. year of life.
The researchers ranked each dog by sex, breed, size, and were described as "hypoallergenic" and investigated the relationship between each characteristic and the risk of asthma, diagnosis of allergy or prescription of asthma or allergy at six years of age.
The team also took into account all known factors that could affect the risk of children developing asthma or allergies, such as whether parents had asthma or some allergy and number of siblings.
The results, published in the journal Scientific Reports, showed that the prevalence of asthma at six years was 5.4%, although certain characteristics of dogs appeared to reduce this risk.
Children with only bitches at home had a 16 percent lower risk of asthma than those who grew up with male dogs, and children living with two or more dogs had a 21 percent lower risk of asthma than those who only lived with one dog.
Children living with a male dog appeared to have a similar risk of asthma for children who did not have a dog.
The researchers also found that children whose parents had asthma and allergies were more likely to be exposed to races described as "hypoallergenic" compared to children whose parents were asthma and allergy free.
However, exposure to these races was associated with a 27% increased risk of allergy, although it did not increase the risk of asthma. In addition, the researchers also failed to find a link between "allergic" races and a lower risk of asthma.
Although previous studies have found a link between growth with dogs and a lower risk of childhood asthma, it is unknown until now whether a dog's characteristics can also modify that risk.
"The sex of the dog can affect the amount of allergens released, and we know that uncastrated male dogs express more than one allergen in particular than castrated dogs and bitches," explains lead co-author Tove Fall. "In addition, some breeds are described anecdotally as hypoallergenic, or allergic, and are considered more suitable for people with allergies, but there is no scientific evidence for that."
"The likely explanation for this greater risk is that families with a history of allergy to furry pets more often choose these dogs, and also that allergic dogs & # 39; do not release fewer allergens, "added Catarina Almqvist Malmros, co-author of the study. led the study with the fall.
"The discovery must be treated with caution, because we can not say anything about any real causality," he added. "More studies are needed to monitor the differences over time, to measure the risk of allergies using biomarkers and to take microflora into account." JB
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