Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Cats prevent kids from getting asthma?

I know the title of this blog sounds unrealistic, but a new study shows otherwise. Here's the information from ABC:

Are cats good at preventing asthma? That's the finding of a group of scientists studying childhood allergies in houses with and without cats. Cats may be affectionate pets, but, for many of us, cat dander causes trouble of the sneezy, wheezy kind. Now, allergy researcher Matt Perzanowski has good news: Cats may actually be protecting some kids from getting sick.

Perzanowski said, "Being allergic to a cat is a strong risk factor for having asthma. Children who grow up with a cat are less likely to develop asthma." Perzanowski discovered this result as part of his research into the swiftly rising number of asthma cases across the globe. The disease has reached epidemic proportions in the U.S., and is especially prevalent in low income urban neighborhoods. " Perzanowski said, "Asthma prevalence now is between one in four, and one in three kids, so you know, a really large percentage of kids develop asthma and asthma symptoms early in life. "

As they wrote in the Journal 'Allergy and Clinical Immunology,' Perzanowski and colleagues at Columbia University's mailman school of public health studied a group of children living in New York City, measuring allergen levels in each home and comparing it with kids' allergy and asthma history. They found that by age five, kids who grew up around high levels of cat allergens were far less likely to show symptoms.

I am allergic to cats and we did not have a cat growing up. (I am not saying that proves something, but it does fit with the story.)

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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