Cats and Farm Life Help Kids Avoid Skin Disease


According to a recent study in the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology, rural living helps to keep children from developing a chronic and painful skin condition.

The research indicated that the children of mothers who lived around cats and farm animals are at a lower risk of developing atopic dermatitis in the earliest years of their lives.

Researchers from the University of Zurich, Switzerland, studied more than 1,000 European children in rural areas of Austria, Finland, France, Germany and Switzerland. Of those studied, 508 of these children were from families that lived on farms.

The research team also identified two genes associated with a child’s risk of developing atopic dermatitis in the first two years of life.

The findings support the theory that these genes, which reduce the risk of developing the condition, interact with the environment and a child’s immune system to influence the development of atopic dermatitis, said the researchers.

This study is not the first to support the team’s findings. Earlier research had also found that allergies are less likely in children who grow up on farms and whose mothers lived on farms during their pregnancy.

Atopic dermatitis (also called atopic eczema) is a chronic inflammation of the skin that frequently occurs in childhood. The condition affects up to 20 percent of children in industrialized countries and is one of the most common childhood skin diseases.

[Source: Health Day via BusinessWeek]

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