ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
U.S. Spends Billions On Alternative Medicine
Pharoah's Wine Jar Yields Medicinal Secrets
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
More Faces Being Spared in Motor Vehicle Accidents
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Majority of College Students Report Backpack-Related Pain
CANCER
U.S. Reported 25,000 Cases of HPV-Related Cancers Annually
Low Vitamin D Levels May Initiate Cancer Development
Get to Know the Pap Test
CAREGIVING
Diabetes Epidemic Now Poses Challenges for Nursing Homes
Coordination Has Led to Quicker Heart Treatment
New Guidelines for Treating Heart Failure
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
COSMETIC
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
DIABETES
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
DIET, NUTRITION
Eating Healthy : You Can Live Longer
Licorice May Block Absorption of Organ Transplant Drug
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Global Warming Biggest Health Threat of 21st Century, Experts Say
Common Pesticide Tied to Development Delays in Kids
Prenatal Exposure to Traffic Pollution May Lead to Asthma
EYE CARE, VISION
Glaucoma Treatment Can Prevent Blindness
Sports Eye Injuries Leading Cause of Blindness in Youths
Diabetic Hispanics Missing Out on Eye Exams
FITNESS
Vigorous Treadmill Workout Curbs Appetite Hormones
Simple Steps Get Walkers Moving
Occupational Therapy Plus Exercise Benefits Osteoarthritis
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
Eating Healthy : You Can Live Longer
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Walk Long, Slow and Often to Help the Heart
Research Shows Genetic Activity of Antioxidants
Coffee Is Generally Heart-Friendly
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Should Your Child Be Seeing a Chiropractor?
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
MEN'S HEALTH
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Psychotherapy Can Boost Happiness More Than Money
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
SENIORS
Protein Deposits May Show Up Before Memory Problems Occur, Study Says
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
How Much Fish to Eat While Pregnant?
Exercise, Weight Control May Keep Fibromyalgia at Bay
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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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