ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Awareness of Alternative Therapies May Be Lacking
New Insights Show Ginseng Fights Inflammation
Yoga May Bring Calm to Breast Cancer Treatment
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Extra Pounds in Mid-Life Affect Later Mobility
Pain More a Cause of Arthritis Than a Symptom
Get in Step With Summer Foot Care
CANCER
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
HPV Vaccine Has Higher Allergic Reaction Rate
Herb May Counter Liver Damage From Chemo
CAREGIVING
Older Caregivers Prone to Worse Sleep Patterns
Mom's Smoking May Lead to SIDS
Obese Children More Likely to Suffer Lower Body Injuries
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
COSMETIC
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
DIABETES
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
DIET, NUTRITION
10 Beginner Tips for Fast Weight Loss, the Low-Carb Way!
Adults Need To Get Thier Food Facts Straight
TV Food Ads Promote Bad Diets
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Gene Explains How High-Fructose Diets Lead to Insulin Resistance
U.S. Diet Needs Heart-Felt Overhaul
Exposure to 9/11 Fumes Tied to Chronic Headaches
EYE CARE, VISION
Contact Lens Cases Often Contaminated
Diabetic Hispanics Missing Out on Eye Exams
Eye Problems, Hearing Loss May Be Linked
FITNESS
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Super Bowl Loss Can 'Kill' Some Fans
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
'Organic' May Not Mean Healthier
Have a Goal in Life? You Might Live Longer
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
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
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
Whole Grains Lower Risk of Heart Failure
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma
MEN'S HEALTH
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Chocolate a Sweet Pick-Me-Up for the Depressed
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
Musicians' Brains Tuned to Emotions in Sound
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
SENIORS
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
Healthy Diet Could Cut Alzheimer's Disease Risk
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Calcium Helps Ward Off Colon Cancer
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
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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