New study reveals kids who grow up with a pet is good thing when it comes to respiratory virus
It appears the family dog does more than offer slobbery kisses and scares off thieves that lurk in the night, now he or she has a new role in the home when it comes to kids developing asthma.
University of California researchers find that dogs protect against an infection with a common virus called respiratory syncytical virus (RSV) which is linked to the development of asthma in children.View slideshow: Dog suggestion for allergies and asthma
Dr. Kei Fujimura, PhD, University of California, San Francisco, lead researcher and colleagues compared three groups of mice; mice fed house dust with dogs before infection with RSV, mice infected with RSV, uninfected mice for control group.
Researchers found the mice that had ingested house dust did not show any symptoms associated to RVS airway infection such as lung inflammation and mucus production. Researchers then examined the microbes in the animal’s guts and found they had possessed a distinct gastrointestinal bacterial composition in comparison to those animals that had not been fed the dust.
Dr. Fujimura had stated "This led us to speculate that microbes within dog-associated house dust may colonize the gastrointestinal tract, modulate immune responses and protect the host against the asthmagenic pathogen RSV.”
"This study represents the first step towards determining the identity of the microbial species which confer protection against this respiratory pathogen,” says Dr. Fujimura.
Researchers had written in a statement that this study represents the first steps towards for determining the identity of the microbial species which confer protection against this respiratory pathogen.
This information may lead to the development of microbial-based therapies to protect against RSV and eventually reduce the risk of childhood asthma development.
The findings from this study were presented at 2012 General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.
A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine had suggested that children growing up on farms that are exposed to household dust that has the greatest amount of bacteria and fungi have a 30 to 50 percent less likelihood to develop asthma in comparison to children who do not grow upon farms.
Another study published in the journal Respirology, 2007, also found children growing upon farms with exposure to farm animals have a lower risk of asthma.
William Midodzi, lead author and PhD candidate in the Department of Public Health Sciences in the University of Alberta School of Public Health in Edmonton, Canada had stated concerning the study "Farm children of ages one to five years also showed a stronger protective effect against asthma than those aged six to 11 years, possibly due to earlier exposure to the farm environment.”
It seems to appear that exposure to animals early on in children’s lives is linked to a lower risk for developing asthma and allergies.