Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have been conducting an asthma study and they have found that in more than 50% of the cases of asthma, they can trace the cause back to allergies. And about 30% of those being allergies to cats.
The study is the combined work of researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, both divisions of the National Institute of Health.
The data they used in the study came from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), a nationally representative sample of the population of the United States. The researches examined the data from skin test that cover 10 allergens. The results showed that in 29.3% of the asthma cases, the patient was also allergic to cats. The second most prevalent allergy was to a fungus named Alternaria with 21.1%. The next was white oak at 20.9%. While each of the 10 tests has be strongly associated with asthma, after they made adjustments for different characteristics in relation to the allergens, only these three were positively connected to asthma. The other allergens in the test were Ragweed, dustmites, Russian thistle, Bermuda grass, peanuts, perennial rye and german cockroach.
This was a very broad study, with a total of about 10,500 individuals participated in the skin testing.
The results had two opposite findings. The first one is that allergies can cause asthma. The second one is that not everyone who has asthma, get it from allergies. They plan to do more research to find out the cause in the cases that are not caused by allergies.
Sensitization to cats is one of the strongest risk factors to developing asthma. But on the other side of the coin, the research also shows that being exposed to cats early in life might be able to protect the person from cat allergies later in life.
In no way are they saying that anyone should get rid of a cat, but if a parent thinks there may be a connection between a cat and a child’s asthma, they do say to consult a physician to see if anything can be done.
One thing that is does confirm is that the state of a person’s environment plays a big part in the development of asthma and they want to pursue it further to see if there is a way to shut off the allergy before the asthma develops..
The lead researchers on the project are Darryl C. Zeldin, M.D., a senior investigator at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and Peter Gergen, M.D., M.P.H, of NIAID’s Division of Allergy, Immunology and Transplantation, a co-author on the paper.
Source National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) http://www.newswise.com/