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Animal hair Allergy prevention : Pets reduce the risk of allergies

animals in the household may protect children from allergies. The suggest new studies. The effect was all the greater, the more dogs and cats life with a small child together, reports Bill Hess, Elmar, University of Gothenburg, and colleagues in the journal "PLOS One". While in the investigated house, the half of the children without the animal almost at the age of seven to nine years, at least once in the life of an allergic Episode had included the researchers, the less Allergy cases, the more Pets the families had.

More animals = less allergies?

"in the past, the keeping of Pets was considered as a risk factor for the development of allergies," the researchers write. Several studies from the past 20 years have shown, however, that this is likely to be the case. Hess, Elmar self-reported almost 20 years ago, that could together protect life with animals and children.

other research groups (for example, to Dennis Ownby from Georgia Regents University in Augusta, USA, or Charlotte Braun-Fahrländer, University of Basel, Switzerland) to come to the conclusion that Pets may have particularly in the first months of life have a positive impact on the later appearance of allergies. Scientists explain that the development of the immune system depends largely on the early contact of the organism with dirt and germs. And dogs and cats, a drag undetectable more and different microorganisms than in pet-free households.

Now tested Hess, Elmar and colleagues, whether or not the number ("dose") of Pets plays a role in the protective effect. They used two surveys from the area of Gothenburg: In a cross-sectional study of 1029 children were examined at the age of seven to eight years to allergies. At the same time, it was asked how many dogs and cats in the household lived when the child was a year old. The scientists also take into account other factors such as the number of siblings.

Therefore, showed 49 percent of those children who grew up without a pet, an allergic reaction such as Asthma, hay fever or eczema. In households with four animals there were, however, only about 28 percent. The evaluation of a long-term study of 249 children of a cohort brought up a similar result.

As an explanation, the researchers point to the so-called "Farm-effect", according to which children who grow up on farms develop less allergies than city children. The Team of Hess, Elmar suspected on the basis of its result, "a Mini-Farm effect where the keeping of domestic animals prior to the development of allergies and protect".

German experts reacted cautiously

This evaluation is not giving the data, however, stressed Erika von Mutius of Munich University hospital, who was not involved in the study. The investigation confirm earlier scientific results, says the member of the scientific Advisory Board of the Allergy information service. The study was serious, but "there is information missing, how closely the children with the animals lived together".

The Susanne Lau Charité, Berlin is similar: Although the study of Birth cohorts provide just in General, robust data to a dose-response relationship. However, one should critically question whether or not other factors would have influenced the outcome: "families with many Pets may have a very different Lifestyle than families with no or only a pet."

Protective factors need to be studied further

How exactly in the context of animal husbandry and allergies, need to be explored further, says Dennis Ownby, Professor of Allergology and immunology in a review article on the topic. Among other things, there is evidence that Pets might have in the pregnancy to have a positive impact on the immune system of the child.

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studies dealing with older children and their Pets, but not bring inconsistent results, and to prescribe to all children a pet, "is impossible, and probably undesirable". The more important question is whether from the findings, for example, probiotic supplements can develop, the use of the Interaction of human and animal micro-organisms, allergic reactions to prevent. The use of stable dust extracts in a nasal spray, they are already researched for a few years. (with dpa)

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