ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Needling Away Your Headaches With Acupuncture
Health Tip: Anticipating Acupuncture
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Genes May Help Drive Rotator Cuff Injury
Study Examines How Rheumatoid Arthritis Destroys Bone
Pain More a Cause of Arthritis Than a Symptom
CANCER
Yoga May Bring Calm to Breast Cancer Treatment
Wristbands May Lessen Nausea After Radiation
Low Vitamin D Levels May Initiate Cancer Development
CAREGIVING
Medication Errors Could Be Cut: Experts
Mom's Smoking May Lead to SIDS
Simpler Sleep Apnea Treatment Seems Effective, Affordable
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
DIABETES
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
DIET, NUTRITION
Adults Need To Get Thier Food Facts Straight
Weight Loss Might Not Curb Knee Arthritis
Functional Foods Uncovered
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Heavy Traffic Can Be Heartbreaking
Walkable Neighborhoods Keep the Pounds Off
Researchers ID Genetic Markers for Esophageal Cancer
EYE CARE, VISION
Just Like Skin, Eyes Can 'Burn' in Strong Sun
Sports Eye Injuries Leading Cause of Blindness in Youths
Half of U.S. Adults Lack 20/20 Vision
FITNESS
Fall Cleanup Is a Prime Time for Accidents
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
Walk Long, Slow and Often to Help the Heart
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Brisk Walk Can Help Leave Common Cold Behind
Be Healthy, Spend Less
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Fish Oil Supplements Help With Heart Failure
Fructose Boosts Blood Pressure, Studies Find
Cocoa in Chocolate May Be Good for the Heart
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Even Young Kids Can Learn CPR
Exercise Eases Obesity and Anger in Kids
Don't Leave Your Kids In The Car !
MEN'S HEALTH
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
MENTAL HEALTH
Keeping a Healthy Holiday Balance
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
SENIORS
Life Expectancy in U.S. Hits New High
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Caffeine in Pregnancy Associated With Low Birth Weight Risk
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
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Cats Can Trigger Eczema in Some Infants

By Carolyn Colwell
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, June 25 (HealthDay News) -- Infants who have a certain genetic mutation are more likely to develop eczema if there is a cat in the home, a new study suggests.

The idea that genetic mutations associated with a disease can be triggered by environmental exposures is not a new one, the researchers from Denmark and Great Britain noted.

"It's more of an example of a mechanism that's likely to happen between genes and the environment. It's sort of proof of a concept, or an idea that's been around for years," said study author Dr. Hans Bisgaard, of the Danish Pediatric Asthma Center at the University of Copenhagen. "You can have a gene for many diseases but never have the disease if you aren't exposed to triggers."

In the study, infants with the FLG mutation were studied in two groups, a high-risk group in Denmark and a representative sample in Great Britain. Children with the mutation were twice as likely to develop eczema during their first year of life. Those with the mutation and a cat in their home from the time of their birth had a further increased risk of having eczema. The study was published in the June issue of PLoS Medicine.

Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, begins in the first year of life for 65 percent of the people who have the condition, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. About 20 percent of all infants and children have symptoms.

Bisgaard explained that the study did not determine how exposure to cats triggered the eczema, but it did demonstrate that the eczema was not an allergic reaction to cats.

"It's probably too early to tell parents to go out and shoot the cat," Bisgaard added, because the finding needs to be replicated. "What is often misleading is that people try to learn some guidance from every new scientific research study. I wouldn't take much guidance from this. I would see it as proof of a concept, the right theory we're working around."

Bisgaard said there are a number of genes that predict asthma and allergies. In the foreseeable future, it is likely "we will be able to profile a child for the risk of these diseases."

In addition to the need to confirm the results before condemning cats, other factors besides the presence of cats need to be considered as potential triggers, added Dr. Marc Riedl, section head for allergy and immunology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. "The cat ownership or exposure could potentially be a surrogate for something else that wasn't measured," he said. For example, there could be a fungal exposure associated with cats, rather than the cats, that sets off the skin reaction, Riedl explained.

Riedl agreed the importance of the study is that "it once again demonstrates gene and environmental interactions in a medical condition. This is another example of how the genetics of an individual convey some susceptibility to environmental exposures."

More information

There's more on atopic dermatitis at National Institutes of Health.



SOURCES: Hans Bisgaard, M.D., University of Copenhagen, Danish Pediatric Asthma Center; Mark Riedl, M.D., assistant professor and section head, allergy and immunology, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles; June 2008, PLoS Medicine

Last Updated: June 25, 2008

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