Cats Protect Newborns From Developing Asthma
Everyone should appreciate the value of cats (as we do, honoring cats in our blog’s name); yet some people seem oblivious to the greatness of cats. In another demonstration of what we gain by associating with cats, research has shown living with cats as newborns helps protect those with a specific gene variation from developing asthma.
Almost one in three children in the study carried the TT gene variant, regardless of whether or not their mother had asthma.
“it looks like the effect is linked to a particular gene-variant, which goes to show just how complex the development of asthma and allergies are. It’s not only about genes and the environment, but how the two interact, and there’s so much that we still don’t know,”
The research indicates that cats reduce the risk of childhood asthma, pneumonia, and bronchiolitis in genetically susceptible subjects.
And no, dogs do not provide this protection. As with most research the scientists have new paths of inquiry to follow based on these results. Lead author Jakob Stokholm suspects that the reasons cats have this effect but dogs do not, “could be related to the bacteria that cats carry and perhaps fungi or viruses that they bring into the home”. Those questions can be the topic of further research.
Related: Cat Allergy Vaccine Created (2011) – Awesome Cat Cam – The History of Domestic Cats – Parasites in the Gut Help Develop a Healthy Immune System – Hypoallergenic Cats (2006) – The Amazing Reality of Genes and The History of Scientific Inquiry