ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Uncover Why Turmeric Helps You Heal
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Garlic Yields Up Its Health Secret
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Safe Toys for Dogs
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Chronic Low Back Pain Is on the Rise
Healthy adults have potential autoimmune disease-causing cells
Majority of College Students Report Backpack-Related Pain
CANCER
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Yoga Eases Sleep Problems Among Cancer Survivors
CAREGIVING
Rapid Infant Weight Gain Linked to Childhood Obesity
Few Hospitals Embracing Electronic Health Record Systems
Health Tip: Benefitting From Adult Day Care
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
Grapefruit-Heavy Diet Helped Spur Dangerous Clot
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
DIABETES
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Probiotics Are The Good Guys
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Pesticides on Produce Tied to ADHD in Children
Vitamin D Deficit May Trigger MS Risk Gene
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
EYE CARE, VISION
Sports Eye Injuries Leading Cause of Blindness in Youths
Protein Might One Day Prevent Blindness
Poor Night Vision May Predict Age-Related Eye Disease
FITNESS
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
More Steps a Day Lead to Better Health
When It Comes to Lifting, the Pros Have Your Back
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
Tune Up Your Health With Music
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
The Brain Comes Alive With the Sounds of Music
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Fondness for Fish Keeps Japanese Hearts Healthy
Too-Low Blood Pressure Can Also Bring Danger
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Working Intensely Early on May Help Autistic Kids
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
MENTAL HEALTH
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
Brain Scans Show How Humans 'Hear' Emotion
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
SENIORS
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
Laughter Can Stimulate a Dull Appetite
Exercise Benefits Even the Oldest Old
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Calcium Helps Ward Off Colon Cancer
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Soy May Not Lead to Denser Breasts
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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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