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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Emerging Science Note/Better Breathing Babies

Air Date: Week of December 15, 2006

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New research shows that living with two or more dogs may reduce a baby's chances of developing allergies. Jen Percy reports.

Transcript

[SCIENCE NOTE THEME]

PERCY: Do you have a sick baby at home? Living with dogs may be just the prescription your child needs. According to scientists at the University of Cincinnati, infants are two times less likely to have allergic reactions like wheezing in their first year of life if they live in a home with two or more dogs.

Scientists studied 520 infants who were at risk for developing allergies. They collected dust samples from the infant’s homes and measured levels of an allergen called endotoxin. They then used skin pricks to monitor the infant’s responses to the samples.

Researchers found no relationship between reduced allergies and exposure to endotoxin but did find that having dogs and high levels of endotoxin reduced wheezing.

They aren’t yet sure why a dog’s presence in combination with endotoxin exposure is beneficial to infants. Further studies are in the works to determine whether dog ownership will have long term benefits for the immune system.

But in the meantime if you’re having a baby, you might want to make some canine friends. That’s this week’s note on emerging science. I’m Jennifer Percy.

 

Links

“Infants Wheeze Less In Homes With Multiple Dogs”

 

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