Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The sweet smell of dog

About that University of Cincinnati study. General feeling being that having a dog as a pet can only be a good thing for your baby because intense exposure to dog aeroallergen somehow has a long-term anti-inflammatory effect in those allergic to dogs, compared to cat aeroallergen, which is pure refined evil has a significant correlation with eczema at the age of 4 in kids with cat allergies.

Eczema seems to be a disease with a major autoimmune component.This kind of cohort survey research is constructive to the effort to find cures for eczema because it can highlight particular allergens and scientists can then look closely at what those allergens are doing to your immune system.

The authors mention collecting vacuum samples from the floors of people taking part in the study. They measured the concentrations of the major dog and cat allergens in dust. I was interested to find that they already know what these allergens are. These must be the active agents in skin prick tests.

It's a scientific paper so there's no mention made of this, but there should be: having a dog is a major undertaking. I know. About six years ago, Hidden B and I adopted an Australian cattle dog puppy. I loved the dog (didn't grow up with one; dad foisted a cat on us for a few years). I enjoyed going for a jog with her; going for a hike and throwing a tennis ball; trying and generally failing to teach her manners. But the work, the work. Picking up the poop in the backyard, which became a manicured latrine. Dealing with noise complaints from neighbors. Stopping the mutt from savaging the postman. And paying the kennel bill whenever we went on vacation. It was like having a kid. (In retrospect, good practice.) So you just can't expect a family with a history of atopy to casually take on caring for a dog.

But maybe someone can develop a reverse air purifier, which comes with a filter loaded with dog hair and dander, and blows a sweet, gentle doggy breeze into your house while you and your loved ones sleep.

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