By Annie Dabb • 28 June 2022 • 13:31
Image - Child and dog: Vitaliy Zalishchyker - Unsplash
“Our study seems to add to others that have explored the ‘hygiene hypothesis’ which suggests that the lack of exposure to microbes early in life may lead to lack of immune regulation toward environmental microbes,” said Williams Turpin, PhD, the study’s senior author.
Researchers used an environmental questionnaire to collect information from nearly 4,300 first-degree relatives of people with Crohn’s disease enrolled in the Crohn’s and Colitis Canada Genetic, Environmental, and Microbial (CCC-GEM) project.
Using the responses and historical data, Dr Turpin and his team analysed several environmental factors, including family size, the presence of dogs or cats as household pets, the number of bathrooms in the house, living on a farm, drinking unpasteurised milk and drinking well water.
The study found that exposure to dogs, particularly from ages 5 to 15, was linked with healthy gut permeability and balance between the microbes in the gut and the body’s immune response, all of which might help protect against Crohn’s disease.
Similar effects were observed with exposure to dogs across all age groups.
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From Newcastle originally, Annie is based in Manchester and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features.
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