New Swedish studies have shown that raising dogs lowers children's asthma risk. Especially when the dog is a female.
This new, large-scale study, conducted by researchers at the Karolinska Institutet and Uppsala University, surveyed national registry data for all children born in Sweden from 2001 to 2004, with a total of 23,585 babies for the first time at home.
The researchers searched each dog according to gender, breed, size, and whether it was described as "without an allergic reaction" and investigated the relationship between asthma and allergy diagnoses, or asthma or allergy medication at age 6 .
The researchers also considered all known factors that could affect the risk of children with asthma or allergies, such as whether they have asthma, allergies, or more siblings.
A study published in the journal Scientific Reports found that certain dog characteristics lowered the risk, but the incidence of asthma at 6 years was 5.4%.
Children with female dogs had a 16% lower risk of asthma than boys with male dogs, and children with two or more dogs had a 21% lower risk of having asthma.
Children who live with male dogs have a similar risk to asthma in children without dogs.
The researchers found that children with asthma and allergies are more likely to be exposed to anecdotally described varieties than children who do not have asthma and allergic reactions.
However, the incidence of asthma was not increased, but the exposure to this type was 27% higher than the allergic risk. Researchers also found no association between "allergy-friendly" varieties and asthma risk.
Previous studies have already found an association between dog and growth and low risk of pediatric asthma, but it is not yet known whether the traits of dogs can correct this risk.
"We know that dogs can affect the amount of released allergens and express more specific allergens than open dogs and female dogs," explains co-author Tove Fall. "Some varieties are also anecdotally described as hypoallergenic or allergenic, and are known to be more suitable for people with allergies, but there is no scientific evidence."
"The explanation for the higher risk is that families with allergies to fur pets choose this dog more often and that allergen friendly dogs do not actually emit less allergic antigens "Catarina Almqvist Malmros added. He led the fall school.
"We can not say anything about actual causation, so we have to treat this result with caution," he added. "More research is needed to monitor differences over time, to use biomarkers to measure allergic risks, and to consider microbial counts." JB
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