A new Swedish study showed that growing up with a dog is associated with a lower risk of asthma in children, especially if it is a female.
A large-scale study by scientists from the Karolinska Institute and the University of Uppsala concerned data from the national register of all children born in Sweden in 2001-2004, for a total of 23 585 infants who had a dog in their home during the first examination. year of life.
Researchers categorized each dog by sex, race, size and whether they were described as "hypoallergenic" and examined the relationship between each trait and the risk of asthma, diagnosing allergies or prescribing asthma or allergic medication at the age of six.
The team also took into account all known factors that may affect the risk of developing asthma or allergies in children, such as whether parents had asthma, allergies and the number of siblings.
The findings, published in the journal Scientific Reports, showed that the incidence of asthma at age 6 was 5.4 percent, although some dog characteristics seemed to lower this risk.
Children with domestic dogs had a 16 percent lower risk of developing asthma than adolescent dogs, and children living with two or more dogs had a 21 percent lower risk of developing asthma than those with only one dog.
Children living with a male dog showed a similar risk of asthma in children who did not have a dog.
Researchers also found that children whose parents suffered from asthma and allergies were more exposed to races described anecdotally as "hypoallergenic" compared to children whose parents were asthma and had no allergy.
However, exposure to these breeds was associated with a 27% higher risk of allergy, although the risk of asthma was not increased. In addition, the researchers found no connection between "allergic" breeds and lower risk of asthma.
Although previous studies have already shown a link between adolescence and dogs and a lower risk of childhood asthma, it has not been known whether dog characteristics can modify this risk.
"Dog sex can affect the amount of released allergens and we know that non-castrated dogs express more specific allergen than castrated dogs and female dogs," explains co-author of the author Tove Fall. "In addition, some breeds are described anecdotally as" hypoallergenic "or" allergy-friendly "and are considered more suitable for people with allergies, but there is no scientific evidence."
"The likely explanation for this higher risk is that families with fur allergies more often choose these dogs, and that" allergy-friendly "dogs do not actually release less allergens," adds Catarina Almqvist Malmros, who led the study with a fall.
"This statement should be treated with caution, because we can not say anything about the actual causality," she added. "Further research is needed to monitor the differences over time, measure the risk of allergies with biomarkers and consider microflora." JB
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