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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Health Update

Air Date: Week of

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TOOMEY: Think of the household allergens that trigger asthma and you probably think of cat dander. But several studies show that children who live with a cat have a much smaller than expected chance of developing the condition. New research may show why. The study looked at a group of more than 200 children. Researchers measured the amount of cat allergen in their household dust and then they tested the children's blood for antibodies produced in response to allergens. One of these antibodies, immunoglobulin E, can trigger asthma. Researchers found that children who were exposed to a lot of cat dander - and it did have to be a lot - did not produce immunoglobulin E in their blood as a result. But living with a cat won't protect you from developing asthma since there are many triggers for the condition. And the authors say that asthmatic children with confirmed cat allergies should continue to avoid Fluffy. And that's this week's health update. I'm Diane Toomey.

CURWOOD: And you're listening to Living on Earth.

(Music: King Cobb Steelie "Mayday" MAYDAY)



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