ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Know Your Asthma Triggers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Pain-Relieving Powers of Acupuncture Unclear
Naprapathy: A Hands-On Approach to Pain Management
The Zen Way to Pain Relief
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Most Kids With Type 1 Diabetes Lack Vitamin D
Studies Struggle to Gauge Glucosamine's Worth
For All Their Plusses, Pets Pose a Risk for Falls, Too
CANCER
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
CAREGIVING
With Alzheimer's, Health-Care Costs Could Triple
Depression, PTSD Common Among Lung Transplant Patient Caregivers
Timing May Matter in Organ Donation Decisions
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
DIABETES
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
DIET, NUTRITION
Atkins Diet Tougher on Heart After Weight Loss
Keep Stress Off the Holiday Meal Menu, Expert Advises
Vitamin B12 Key to Aging Brain
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Skin Woes Take Toll on U.S. Combat Troops
Former Inmates at Increased Risk for High Blood Pressure
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
EYE CARE, VISION
Omega-3 Foods May Lower Eye Disease Risk
Cases of Age-Related Farsightedness to Soar
Eye Disease, Cognitive Decline Linked in Study
FITNESS
Football Can Shrink Players
Run for Your Life
Occupational Therapy Plus Exercise Benefits Osteoarthritis
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
GENERAL HEALTH
You Can Get Great Exercise In The Garden
Dr Churchill & Ashley Pelton Interview 1 of 4
When It Comes to Lifting, the Pros Have Your Back
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Chinese Red Yeast Rice May Prevent Heart Attack
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
Babies Who Eat Fish Lower Eczema Risk
3 Home Habits Help Youngsters Stay Slim
MEN'S HEALTH
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
MENTAL HEALTH
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
Worries About Weight Are Tied to Teen Suicide Tries
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
SENIORS
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
Health Tip: Be More Comfortable During Childbirth
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
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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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