My opinion: So now we have yet another reason to love pets! As the article mentions, the evidence is pretty clear that dogs can help prevent asthma and some allergies. However, there are still some points missing. The effect that the researchers observed in mice may not be the same as in humans. Also, we don't know if this effect works for adults, and if it does, to what extent? Finally, does the same thing occur with cats? After all, not all people looking for this benefit would want dogs. Ultimately, I'm thinking that dog exposure helps build immunity, but it would be nice to know if this also happens in other situations. Feel free to write any comments.
Dogs in the house protect against asthma, infection
Saturday 21 December 2013 - 12am PST
The researchers, from the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) and the University of Michigan, published the results of their mouse study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
They explain that when mice were exposed to dust from houses in which dogs lived, the community of microbes in their gut - known as the gastrointestinal microbiome - was "reshaped."
This also resulted in decreased reactivity by the immune system to common allergens, they say.
In the study, the investigators introduced cockroach or protein allergens to the mice and found that inflammatory responses in the lungs - which are associated with asthma - were significantly reduced in mice that had been exposed to dust associated with dogs, compared with those who were exposed to dust from dogless homes.