Research has found more ways dogs contribute to better human health besides being loyal and faithful. According to Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of the American Humane Association (AHA), more research is coming. Scientists have long theorized that growing up with a pet can reduce the likelihood of developing allergies or asthma; they needed statistically significant results. Fortunately, science is getting closer to confining man’s best friend may also be front line in the prevention of asthma.
The AHA is dedicated to deepening the understanding of the human-animal interaction and its role and impact on society. Robin Ganzert is passionate about the work she does and is continually searching for studies that back the positive affect of this interaction. The AHA is active in conducting research, education, training, and services to a wide variety of organizations to promote advancements in pet human understanding.
An article on CNN.com from the University of Michigan highlights the latest breakthroughs in research regarding this phenomenon. Researchers created a study examining the dust from the homes of dog owners and non-dog owners. The mice were divided into three groups with one group exposed to the dog dust, another group to the non-dog dust, and the last group to no dust at all. All of the mice were then exposed to two common asthma-related allergens.
Results showed that individual mice exposed to the dog dust had milder reactions than those mice that were not. The study showed the dog dust exposed mice produced less mucus and experienced less airway inflammation. Now research was backing up earlier theories. The next question was to identify the active components.
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Dog dust contains a specific bacterium, Lactobacillus johnsonii, which boosted the immune response of the mice and helped to protect them against some allergens. This was the result of measurable changes that occurred to the bacteria living in their gut. When researchers isolated the bacteria and gave it to other mice, they showed a similar response to those who were exposed to the dog dust.
The skyrocketing statistics on allergies in children has health care professionals alarmed. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAI) approximately 8% of children under 17 has a form of allergy or asthma. This is projected to cost the healthcare system over $25 billion annually with the untold cost to a child’s quality of life.
The University of Michigan study was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Again, according to the CNN article, “The results could lead to future studies on how manipulating gut bacteria, possibly with probiotics or other microbial strategies might be used to treat or protect children from allergies and asthma.”
Little was known as to why growing up in a home with a dog affected the development of asthma and allergies in children. “This is a very exciting discovery,” says Robin Ganzert. “It further supports the health benefits of owning a dog, and could have a significant impact on the development of allergies and asthma in children. As research continues, scientists may be able to provide better protection and treatment options in the future.”
This research falls into the passion of Robin Ganzert. She is constantly looking for new and innovative ways to include dogs in the life of a family. Some of the valuable initiatives that Robin has implemented include No Animals Were Harmed, Red Star, Wags4Patriots, Hero Dog Awards, and Humane Heroes Club.
The benefits of owning and living with dogs are shown to add asthma prevention qualities to the more commonly known benefits of bonding and protection traits. Robin Ganzert believes people will soon be looking at Spot in a whole new light.