New studies in Sweden have shown that growing with a dog is associated with a lower risk of developing asthma in children, especially if the dog is female.
Researchers at the Karolinska Institute and Uppsala University, conducted by researchers at the Karolinska Institute and the University of Uppsala, studied the national registration data for all children born in Sweden from 2001 to 2004, a total of 23,585 children who had a dog in their home their first year of life.
The researchers classified each dog by sex, breed, size, and whether they were described as “hypoallergenic” and investigated the relationship between each characteristic and the risk of asthma, the diagnosis of allergy, or the prescription of drugs for asthma or allergy 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, for example, whether the parents had asthma or any allergies and the number of siblings.
The findings, published in the journal Scientific Reports, showed that the prevalence of asthma at the age of six years was 5.4 percent, although some characteristics of dogs seem to reduce this risk.
Children with only domestic dogs have a 16 percent lower risk of developing asthma than those who grew up with male dogs, and children living with two or more dogs have 21 percent less risk of acquiring asthma than those who lived with only one dog.
Children living with a male dog seemed to have the same risk of asthma in children who did not have a dog.
The researchers also found that children whose parents suffered from asthma and allergies were more often exposed to rocks anecdotically called "hypoallergenic", compared to children whose parents were asthma and had no allergies.
However, the impact of these breeds was associated with an increased risk of allergies by 27 percent, although there was no increased risk of developing asthma. In addition, the researchers also failed to find a relationship between “allergy-friendly” breeds and a lower risk of developing asthma.
Although previous studies have already found a link between growth with dogs and a lower risk of developing asthma in children, it has not yet been known whether the characteristics of a dog can also alter this risk.
"The sex of a dog can affect the amount of allergens released, and we know that uninfected male dogs express more of a certain allergen than neutered dogs and female dogs," explains co-lead author Tove Fall. “Moreover, some breeds are anecdotically described as“ hypoallergenic ”or“ allergy ”and are said to be more suitable for people with allergies, but there is no scientific evidence for this.”
“The likely explanation for this higher risk is that allergy-free families on domestic animals are more likely to choose these dogs, and that“ dogs with allergies ”do not actually release less allergens,” added Katharina Almquist Malmros, who led the study with By the fall.
“The discovery should be viewed with caution, since we cannot say anything about any actual causality,” she added. “More research is needed to track time differences, measure the risk of allergies using biomarkers, and record microflora.” Jb
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