Dog tongue in child's face. Fie, how unhygienic. Now the offspring will certainly get sick, the parents fear. Misconception.
Dr. Andreas Schwiertz heads research and development in the field of molecular biology at the Herborner Institute for Microecology. He considers the hygiene delusion of modern society problematic and stresses that the fear of
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Parents and animals are often exaggerated: "Both animals and humans transmit diseases, cats can transmit toxoplasmosis - it is dangerous, parasites and ticks are uncomfortable, but the danger from humans is usually far greater. The very big diseases, that brings the child from kindergarten. "
Contact with pets such as dogs can even have a positive effect on your health. On the one hand, of course, by the additional movement in the fresh air - walks in the woods have not harmed anyone yet. But a furry pet has far more far-reaching effects on children's health.
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Diversity of the intestinal flora develops in the first year of life
Previous research has found that the presence of a family dog in children within the first two years of life minimizes the risk of developing allergies. But what exactly is that, has remained unclear. Canadian scientists from the University of Alberta have been looking for an explanation for this phenomenon and have dealt with the intestinal flora of infants. But why are they so interested in the intestinal flora?
The so-called microbiological colonization of the digestive tract is considered an essential process for our lives, because the development of intestinal flora in infancy influences the future health to a great extent. If a baby is born, the intestinal flora is rather monotonous, contains few strains of bacteria and is therefore vulnerable and vulnerable. Only in the course of the first year of life, the microbial colonization is characterized by various influences and the diversity of bacteria grows. Many aspects play an important role in this development. Was the baby born naturally or by caesarean section? Does the mother breastfeed or possibly take her antibiotics during pregnancy? The list of influencing factors is long.
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Big dogs and their little owners
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Among other things, attention has been drawn to the possible relationship between the child's intestinal flora and the family's pet ownership due to the rising pet numbers. Schwiertz explains why: "Animals, especially dogs, are very interested in and sniff and lick their little fellows, which transmits microorganisms and automatically brings home microorganisms from every walk, which are then distributed there. " The impact of this on the digestive tract was what the research team at the University of Alberta wanted to know.
Bacteria diversity: less allergies and overweight thanks to pet
The Canadians examined stool samples from 746 infants at the age of three months. These were divided into three categories: In one category, infants whose mothers had a pet during pregnancy were examined. The second category was infants who came into contact with pets after birth as well as mothers who had a pet during pregnancy. The third group includes infants without any pet cover.
The result of the study: The existence of a pet with fur significantly increases the diversity of intestinal bacteria.
Above all, Firmicutes in the intestine of infants of the first two categories are more diverse represented. The bacterial strain of the Firmicutes contains various bacteria, which are responsible for the food utilization. If only a few classes and families of the Firmicutes strain are represented in the intestine, the risk of obesity is increased. The greater the variety of Firmicutes, the less likely they are to become overweight. Among the children whose families had dogs or cats in the house before or after birth, significantly more of these bacteria were present. They are important constituents of the gut flora of a healthy baby and are massively reduced in malnourished infants.
Pets are good for their humans
Look, my cat is sleeping ". Two minutes later, "And here she looks so cute." Pet owners are unafraid when it comes to their pets. They are doing themselves something good.
"Animals are doing well" is the recurrent theme. Of course, walking around with the dog outside can not hurt. But what is really up to the thesis? In fact, there are some studies that have found positive effects of animals on humans.
"For decades, a socio-psychological research approach dominated, examining certain effects of pet animals on their owners," says Detlev Nolte, secretary-general of the Research Group on Pet Animals in Society in Bremen. The results were based mainly on surveys and observations. Slowly, however, also scientifically based research approaches would have developed.
Also physical effects
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Today, there are many indications that pets are good for their owners - in many ways. There are, for example, the physical effects, ie the physical effects on pet owners.
One is quite obvious, but no less important: "According to a study by US scientists, 150 minutes of exercise per week are enough to have a positive effect on the cardiovascular system," says cardiologist Ralf Jordan, chief physician of the Department of Cardiological Rehabilitation and Prevention in Duisburg. Dog owners reach this time sooner than people without a dog.
In addition, people who move outdoors every day, according to studies, have a stronger immune system. "A dog forces to regularly go out, but also people who have a horse or care, have to get out of their homes again and again," says Udo Kopernik, spokesman for the Association for the German dog in Dortmund.