Azara Blog: Cats are allegedly linked with eczema

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Date published: 2008/06/24

The BBC says:

Being exposed to cat allergens early in life may spark eczema - if you carry a key gene fault, a study has suggested.

Scientists found having the mutant FLG gene increased the risk of eczema in a baby's first year twofold, but adding exposure to a cat quadrupled that risk.

The study, of 892 babies born in the UK and Denmark, was published in the Public Library of Science journal.

However, a UK expert said other research suggested cats may actually reduce the risk of eczema.

The study, led by a team at the University of Dundee, found exposure to dogs made no difference.

A potentially classic case where researchers have confused correlation and causation, although here it's quite possibly valid since it is not obvious how these two events might be otherwise linked. But the fact that some unidentified UK "expert" suggests that even the correlation is probably weak. And it's amazing how often cats get a bum press.

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