Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Medicine Science

Want To Fight Allergies? Get a Dirty Dog 147

Posted by Soulskill
from the or-live-in-one-of-those-awesome-bubbles dept.
sciencehabit writes "A dog in the house is more than just good company. There's increasing evidence that exposure to dogs and livestock early in life can lessen the chances of infants later developing allergies and asthma. Now, researchers have traced this beneficial health effect to a microbe living in the gut. Their study, in mice, suggests that supplementing an infant's diet with the right mix of bacteria might help prevent allergies — even without a pet pooch."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Want To Fight Allergies? Get a Dirty Dog

Comments Filter:
  • I KNEW IT! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Spy Handler (822350) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @02:18AM (#45723185) Homepage Journal

    I've had allergies all my life, dust and pollen. My mother HATED animals and we never had any pets.

    Flash forward 20 years -- I get a dog, a little Chihuahua that lives inside my house. I'm sure his hair and dander is all over the place and I breathe it in every day. And.... my allergies are MUCH better now! I can actually breathe with both nostrils, which I never could do most of my life due to sinuses being swollen.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @02:28AM (#45723235)
      Who the hell hates animals? Your mother sounds like an inhuman monster.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Who the hell hates animals? Your mother sounds like an inhuman monster.

        Or perhaps she just hates the mess or the noise they make, or their tendency to bite (rightly) if they're mistreated or mistrained.

        Not everyone wants to live with animals. I pity such people, but I respect their choice.

        • by ruir (2709173)
          In urban areas, should not be a choice at all. I dont want really to hear dogs barking at night, or step on dogs poo. But then, it is not he fault of the dog, but the stupidity of the owners. And even in rural areas, it is not usual to keep fido at bay, the farthest you can from your own house, but right next to the neighbours.
          • Re:I KNEW IT! (Score:5, Insightful)

            by MrNiCeGUi (302919) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @03:57AM (#45723629)
            I must disagree with your rationale for wanting dogs banned in urban areas (because that's what I deduce from your wording that you want). There are already laws in place for dealing with those aspects that annoy you, respectively noise and littering.

            The fact that there are inconsiderate people out there is not, in itself, sufficient to call for an outright ban.

            I lived close to a bar, and I can tell you a thing or two about noise, street fights and vomit on the sidewalk. I still did not consider asking for a ban on all bars within urban areas. I did, however, call the police when i considered it appropriate.
            • Re:I KNEW IT! (Score:5, Insightful)

              by icebike (68054) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @04:39AM (#45723771)

              Really, I don't mind well behaved dogs, but anyone telling you that any laws on the books dealing with constantly barking dogs or dog crap on the sidewalks will have any effect at all is insane.

              Police will not enforce such laws. Animal control will not enforce those laws. Until the neighborhood comes to blows, nothing you say will make the slightest difference.

              There is something about dog ownership that causes deafness.

              The closer the dwellings, the smaller the dogs need to be, and the less time they should be allowed chained up outside.

              • by Joce640k (829181)

                Police will not enforce such laws. Animal control will not enforce those laws. Until the neighborhood comes to blows, nothing you say will make the slightest difference.

                Rifle?

                • Police will not enforce such laws. Animal control will not enforce those laws. Until the neighborhood comes to blows, nothing you say will make the slightest difference.

                  Rifle?

                  Prison?

                  You can't shoot at someone (two- or four-legged) just because they're pissing you off.

                  [And yes, I saw the Funny mod, and I agree with it.]

              • by Anonymous Coward

                Around here, it's a $50 ticket for not having a bag with you to pick up poop. There's no dog poop on the sidewalks. There are lots of dogs. You may live in a less civilized area, but don't push your hangups on me.

                I'm not implying that the fine is the cause of the good behavior or an indication of civilization. I mentioned both the fine and the lack of poop on sidewalks two points of evidence which contradict the bulk of your post.

                • by icebike (68054)

                  Around here, it's a $50 ticket for not having a bag with you to pick up poop.

                  Another law that is never enforced.
                  Citing laws on the books does not contradict what I said.
                  The only way that $50 ticket gets issued is if the dog craps on the Cop's shoes.

              • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @09:52AM (#45725183)

                There is something about dog ownership that causes deafness.

                The solution then to the barking dog problem is to get your own dog.

              • by Shavano (2541114) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @10:15AM (#45725365)

                There are alphas like that and they should be fined, repeatedly. But you may not understand our situation.

                Our barking is to indicate a warning to our packmates or to scare off a threat (or occasionally to intimidate a squirrel). We don't bark much when our alphas are home to hear us because our alphas quickly reassure us that they don't need us to help frighten off the threat. Once our packmates acknowledge the situation, we know we have done our job and can go back to more productive activities.

                However, some things are too scary to stop barking, and one simply must keep barking until it has gone away.

                • On the internet, no-one knows you're a dog, until you out yourself.

                  • by Shavano (2541114)

                    Nobody ever asks.

                    Most people think we're not intelligent because we can't talk. But that's because our mouths and vocal cords don't give us the admirable control that people have, and until recently even writing was impossible because every time I pick up a pen, I find myself compulsively chewing it to pieces, which gets ink on the carpet; for some reason my human packmates say that is "Bad! Bad! Very Bad!" And computer keyboards are difficult too because we only have short little toes and no opposable

              • by Roadmaster (96317)

                Where I live, Police will not enforce such laws. Animal control will not enforce those laws.

                TFTFY. But really, if your authorities don't do their job, that's again no reason to seek outright bans on household animals. Vote to have the authorities changed by a team who cares. Failing that, move to a different location where authorities do care.

              • by Anonymous Coward

                We should also ban children, by your logic. Loud, unbehaving things. Something about owning a child causes deafness. Especially teenagers. Heck, also ban drunken college students.

        • Or perhaps she just hates the mess or the noise they make

          Mess? Absolutely. Noise? We have an 80-pound Golden Retriever. He's quietest guy in the house.

      • by ruir (2709173)
        I dont want an animal any near my home. No responsibilities, no worries, no mess. Besides, it would not be sane for both of us to keep a dog in an apartment. And is it human for the dog and the neighbours to keep dogs confined to varandas? If you call other people monsters because of not wanting or liking pets, you really ought to have your head examined. But then, replying to an AC...
      • Who the hell hates animals? Your mother sounds like an inhuman monster.

        Well, that's what self-hatred does to you after some time. ;-)

      • Or a member of PITA... Oh wait that is the same thing.

    • What TFA suggests is to get a "dirty dog" which pass on some "gut microbes" onto the human babies which, according to TFA, may help the human babies to fight allergies.

      This scenario has several implications:

      1. How the "gut microbes" being passed from that "dirty dog" to the human infant ?

      Shit.

      Specifically, dog shit.

      Which means, the human infant somehow ingested some of the dog shit which contains the microbes that previously reside inside the dog's guts.

      2. The transfer of a microbe from a species (dog) to a

      • by Luckyo (1726890) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @03:29AM (#45723515)

        You'd actually be surprised to hear that mother's body prepares itself for giving birth by allocating a number of fecal bacteria to the vagina, which baby licks up on its way down the birth canal.

        So yes, nature intends for babies to "eat shit". Because it's needed to establish appropriate gut flora. To the point where nowadays doctors take vaginal swabs and put them in baby's mouth if baby is born of cesarean section and cannot get these naturally.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I swear, God is a fucking troll.

          • by Bengie (1121981) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @09:03AM (#45724865)
            The vagina does actually change to some degree and the bacterial flora changes. Turns out this change increases "good" bacteria for the infant and infants tend to ingest some of the bacteria on the way out. Other research has shown that infants actually have strong immune systems, they're just suppressed via a gene expression while they're young. Seems this gives time for bacteria to settle and make a strong biome, while giving the body time to learn to play nice with these bacteria.
          • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @09:29AM (#45725053)

            I swear, God is a fucking troll.

            No, God just loves incestuous scat child pornography. Either that, or it's evolution. You decide, based on whether you're religious or not. ;-)

        • by EvilSS (557649)
          As a person who studied A&P in college, I'm sure as hell surprised by this revelation. How, exactly, does this "allocating" occur? Trans-lumen transporter beam?
          • Leakage. Think a little.
            • by EvilSS (557649)
              If you are leaking between the vaginal canal and anus, you have a fistula and should probably see a doctor. This still doesn't explain how the body can "allocate" microbes, as posed in the original post.
          • by X0563511 (793323)

            Proximity and changing pH, I'd imagine.

        • Woah -- mind officially *blown*!

          I'm not kidding. This is definitely one of the more interesting bits of trivia that I've learned in a long time. It means that it's common and widespread knowledge from doctors that humans need intestinal flora "training."

          It's not long now until we start getting a lot smarter about immunizations and healthy living, and stop this nonsense with using anti-bacterial poisons on everything.

          I still remember sterilizing bottle nipples for my boy and my anxious wife, only to discover

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          You'd actually be surprised to hear that mother's body prepares itself for giving birth by allocating a number of fecal bacteria to the vagina, which baby licks up on its way down the birth canal.

          So yes, nature intends for babies to "eat shit". Because it's needed to establish appropriate gut flora. To the point where nowadays doctors take vaginal swabs and put them in baby's mouth if baby is born of cesarean section and cannot get these naturally.

          It was also discovered that the infant immune system is inte

      • Actually, the babies get their first shot of gut bacteria at birth. Unless it is a caesarean.

      • The signs that a dog is harboring harmful intestinal bacteria are not exactly subtle.

        • by gbjbaanb (229885)

          neither is it after I've had a strong curry... fortunately I can blame the less-than-subtle effects as coming from the dog.

      • by EvilSS (557649)

        What TFA suggests is to get a "dirty dog" which pass on some "gut microbes" onto the human babies which, according to TFA, may help the human babies to fight allergies.

        This scenario has several implications:

        1. How the "gut microbes" being passed from that "dirty dog" to the human infant ?

        Shit.

        Specifically, dog shit.

        Which means, the human infant somehow ingested some of the dog shit which contains the microbes that previously reside inside the dog's guts.

        2. The transfer of a microbe from a species (dog) to another (human) may, or may not work.

        It may even be very harmful.

        If the microbes are of the "benign" kind, yes, it may benefit the human baby, as TFA has suggested.

        But if the microbes are of the nasty kind, it may bring on transgenic diseases.

        Yes, this is also how the parent's gut microbes are passed to their infant as well. It's a well known fact that fathers giving their newborns what we today call a "dirty Sanchez" immediately after childbirth goes back 10's of millions of years as a way to pass on their unique gut flora.

        Wait, what's that? Oh, sorry, I'm being told it's transferred via saliva. Hey, maybe that's how the dog to human transfer works too...

      • Isn't looking for a "hygienic" way to expose a person to microbes like looking for a pornography store without the smut? The unhygienic part of poop (or saliva, blood, skin, or any tissue or fluid) is the microbes. Example: What's the polio vaccine? Weakened or killed virus from poop. Why did kids need it? Too little exposure to poop as a result of better sanitation.

        Also what dangerous zoonotic (transgenic means something else) disease do you expect to catch from Fido that you're not just as likely to get f

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      Oddly the only thing I'm allergic to is dog dander, I've been that way ever since I was a little kid.

    • Re:I KNEW IT! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Luckyo (1726890) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @03:27AM (#45723507)

      If you consider what allergic reaction is, your observation makes sense.

      Allergic reaction is your immune system looking for enemies, not finding them and attacking benign or even symbiotic cells instead. When you get a dog, alongside all the hair you get those foreign microbes and suddenly your immune system has proper enemies to fight - so it can "recalibrate" itself to combat those instead of friendlies.

    • by Brama (80257)

      I have a very different experience. We had several dogs (2-3 on average) and a few cats. I've had allergies all during my youth. Mostly pollen, cats, dogs. I still hate the smell of freshly mowed grass. That was one of the worst.

      The upshot is that past my early twenties, pretty much all allergies have almost completely disappeared. I can now inhale deeply standing over freshly mowed grass and not suffer. The strong negative association with the smell is a little harder to get rid of though.

    • I grew up with animals, mostly dogs, practically all my life. Always at least one, sometimes three. Apart from being the most loyal and loving companions you can hope for, it seems they actually did something for me in return. I do have zero allergies.

    • Flash forward 20 years -- I get a dog, a little Chihuahua that lives inside my house. I'm sure his hair and dander is all over the place and I breathe it in every day.

      Your experience does not fit the hypothesis. The way it is understood to work is that as a child you develop resistance with the right exposure, but once you are a teen or older, exposure doesn't help you all that much, it only stimulates the allergic response.

    • by fredrated (639554)

      Picking your nose and eating the boogers also works. A study demonstrated this many years ago. Gross I know, but I have done it all my life and I have never had an allergy to anything ever.

    • by antdude (79039)

      Interesting. Just like my young life. I thought that only worked with younglings. My allergies are getting worse when I am almost 40. I do get a lot of dusts (my computers and air filters show that) since I live in a dry area (Los Angeles/L.A.). It also didn't help that I had to stay in the hospital for half of a year after I was born due to my multiple disabilities.

      When I was older as a callow ant/child/kid (not a baby goat), I have had pets but not furry types like cats and dogs (not allergic to them). I

    • by Jyms (598745)
      I grew up on a farm. Thousands of sheep, and plenty of horses and cows. Many pets, dogs, cats, sheep, birds, goats, etc. and yet I still have dust and pollen allergies. I think exposing your immune system is good, but it does not guarantee you anything.
  • Makes sense (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ls671 (1122017) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @02:18AM (#45723189) Homepage

    It makes sense. I have always said that keeping your kids in an aseptic environment is not helping them to build resistance for when they get out to the real world at some point.

    Do you remember that South Park episode where the parents would get their kids with other sick kids for them to also get sick? Well, there is some truth to it...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chickenpox_(South_Park) [wikipedia.org]

    • by real gumby (11516)

      Do you remember that South Park episode where the parents would get their kids with other sick kids for them to also get sick? Well, there is some truth to it...

      Strange that that is considered bizarre enough for south park. My mum is an M.D. and when I was a kid she had me go play with one of her patients (a kid) who had chicken pox, so I would get it. (In the 60s, in a small town, there wasn’t much medical privacy...or many doctors).

      Why yes, now you ask: I assume she did this to help me, but perhaps my judgement isn't good.

    • by jrumney (197329)

      People used to do this for chickenpox specifically, because getting it as a young child is usually unpleasant, while getting it as an adult can be life threatening. These days we have vaccinations which achieve the same result without the unpleasant side effects.

      But for allergies, the point isn't exposure to specific diseases, but to build up a young child's immune system to the point where it learns how to react to different pathogens instead of spending most of their life in an overly sterile environment

    • by pspahn (1175617)

      Did you always say that before or after this lady [pbs.org]?

      The relevant bit:

      "The Hygiene Hypothesis," is that children who are around numerous other children or animals early in life are exposed to more microbes, and their immune systems develop more tolerance for the irritants that cause asthma. She is now researching the levels of allergy and asthma in children who live in villages as compared with children who live on a farm and are exposed to livestock.

      According to this "hygiene hypothesis,'' the human immune system evolved two types of biological defenses. When one defensive system lacks practice fighting bacteria and viruses, perhaps from an overly sanitary lifestyle, the other system becomes too powerful and overreacts -- as an allergic reaction -- to harmless substances like pollen.

    • by xorsyst (1279232)

      There is some truth to it? Hell, everyone did that when I was a kid in the 80s. Still didn't catch the damn thing until I was 16 though.

  • ...caused me to look fondly, once more, at Keks, my dog.C'mon boy, lick my hand !
  • the money quote:

    "Supplementation of wild-type animals with L. johnsonii protected them against both airway allergen challenge or infection with respiratory syncytial virus."

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      In addition, a study conducted by La Ragione et al. (2004) addressed the beneficial use of L. johnsonii in the poultry industry. This study found that the administration of L. johnsonii in chickens helped control diseases caused by Escherichia coli and Clostridium perfringens. Thus, L. johnsonii has the potential to be directly used in the poultry industry as an alternative to antimicrobials

    • you don't need a dog but you do need dog crap.
  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @02:41AM (#45723297) Homepage Journal
    I already tried this, but all that happened was that Snoop stole my weed and banged my wife. Didn't really help my allergies at all.
  • To Congress, make haste!

  • I already learned this from George Carlin:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X29lF43mUlo [youtube.com]

    I'm expecting the next Slashdot headline to read "Will the Sun come up tomorrow? Probably."

  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @04:09AM (#45723679)

    A Finnish friend of mine told me when kids there reach the age of 2, during summer holidays, they take them to the countryside and get them to play naked in dirt and mud on purpose, to build up their immune system.

  • My wife was brought up on a farm, they had pet cats and dogs she had horses and now later in life she has developed severe asthma and dogs and cats effect her really badly. She has also developed bad allergies to preservatives in food and now has to carry an epipen in case of anaphylaxis.
  • A lot of research has been done where hookworms are used to treat allergies. The main concept being that a modern immune system is bored without an enemy to attack and then attacks innocent cells.

    Say the body is America and the immune system is America's defence force. The immune system is needed when dangerous pathogens appear, in the same way that American troops are needed to defend against enemies. If America is in no war and all its troops are recalled without downsizing the military, these troops
  • We had a dog in the house until I was about 8 or 9, but I had such severe dust and pollen allergies that I once spent a week in an oxygen tent and then went through weekly allergy therapy shots for several years. I had a window air conditioner in my bedroom on recirculate during the warm weather months to keep the air semi-filtered (this was in the early 1970s before the advent of HEPA filtration devices).

    We couldn't even have a real Christmas tree or wreath in the house. We had one early on and I was su

  • by realkiwi (23584) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @08:17AM (#45724601)

    Born and raised a NZ farmers son I have been allergic (pollen) and suffered from asthma (allergic not chronic) all my life. I grew up surrounded by dirty dogs and more sheep and cattle than most people will ever see in a whole lifetime.

    Did the fact that precautions were not taken with farm chemicals back then have something to do with the allergy. I have been exposed to DDT, pesticides, feretilizers, you name it.

    So OK maybe this works in a city environnement with kids that live in a modern hyper clean envirronment and who eat agro-industry cr@p er sorry food. Didn't work for this farmers son.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I'm asthmatic and allergic to dogs, you insensitive clod! And furthermore, my dad had a dog when I was a kid.

      I personally blame my asthma on my mother smoking until she found out she was pregnant, and my father smoking until shortly before he died, including all throughout the pregnancy, in the car, in the car after I was born, etc etc. There's no family history of it on either side. But of course, there's no way to know. It's convenient, though, because one parent is dead and I don't talk to the other one.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Sucks that you were surrounded by smokers growing up. Me too and maybe that is the reason for my severe allergies.

        However, read this:

        http://www.artofmanliness.com/2013/07/23/original-aom-comic-2-theodore-roosevelt-ill-make-my-body/

  • I was allergic to cats. I got one. It's much better now. Simple logic. When I was a kid, we traded drinks between 5-6 of us, played in the dirt, went for a whole afternoon without washing our hands. People didn't use hand sanitizers. We weren't always sick either.

  • by wganz (113345)

    Humans and dogs have a symbiotic relationship after +20K of living together.

  • In Soviet Russia, dogs are allergic to you.

    Also in my house.

    Recently found out some of the allergens that my constantly irritate my dog, a list which includes cat and human dander.

  • Some allergies don't depend on environmental factors.

    Take me, for example. A couple of years of my childhood I spent some time after school each day on a farm. That included the occasional playing and jumping in the hay. It didn't happen every day, week, or even every month, but it happened and it was damn fun (but really dangerous). Then comes puberty and figuratively from one day to another I developed "hay-fever" and pollen allergies (mainly for grass).

    Anecdotal and small sample size and all that, but I

  • Eat poop.

  • We had three large dogs when our daughter was born. The dogs lived inside and were well socialized, and daughter became just another member of the pack. Although this is only one data point, it's interesting that she has no allergies (I have severe allergies to pollen and cats) and was hardly ever sick. We put it down to her immune system getting exercised at an early age.

  • by roc97007 (608802) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @12:46PM (#45727023) Journal

    > Their study, in mice, suggests that supplementing an infant's diet with the right mix of bacteria might help prevent allergies — even without a pet pooch.

    A part of me says don't take pills, go out and get a dog. There are enough of them who need homes. And then there's another part of me that says, if you're getting a dog just to prevent allergies, maybe you should take the pill instead.

  • So by not living in a hyper clean environment as kids and by developing a proper immune system that is capable of fighting off allergies, bacteria and viruses we might be healthier as adults! This is radical, I can't believe no one put two and two together until now. That isn't to say you should live in a biohazard but honestly it's pretty obvious that we need to introduce children the real world so they can develop a proper immune system to being with.
    • So by not living in a hyper clean environment as kids and by developing a proper immune system that is capable of fighting off allergies

      You should never say it like this. Your body does not "fight off allergies". Allergies are when your body is fighting something it shouldn't.

      The theory here is that when your immune system isn't educated correctly, it doesn't know what it should and should not go to war over. So, perhaps there are proteins/bacteria human children need to be subjected to before a certain again...or they grow up broken.

      • by Murdoch5 (1563847)
        I agree, that is what im getting at, we need to expose the immune sysem to "aliens" to train it.
  • now I can watch, again, as people pay for nutritional supplements instead of just getting a dog. I love it when people spend hard-earned money specifically to avoid an enjoyable lifestyle. Live it up robot. Enjoy your more productive work life. Again. It's totally wasted on you.

  • ... is that I can tell my wife it would be bad for my health when she asks me to wash our dog? :-D
  • Any pet that impinges on your immune system is going to have long term positive influence!
    Oh... dirty children fit that bill as well ;)

    YMMV

As the trials of life continue to take their toll, remember that there is always a future in Computer Maintenance. -- National Lampoon, "Deteriorata"

Working...