New twist on a pet theory

2:33pm, September 23, 2002

Cats are complex animals, which perhaps makes it appropriate that the question of the link between cats and children's allergies keeps getting more complicated. Contrary to common wisdom, recent research has shown that early pet exposure may reduce allergic disease in children (SN: 9/7/02, p. 157: Pet exposure may reduce allergies.).

Now, a new study confirms that effect–except in kids whose mothers have asthma.

Juan C. Celedón of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and his colleagues followed 448 children born into families where at least one parent had signs of allergies or asthma. Previous research has shown that this sort of family history boosts a child's risk of developing allergies and asthma.

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