Man’s best friend linked to lower diabetes risk in infants

Exposure to an indoor dog in the first year of life is associated with a child’s odds of developing type 1 diabetes, new research suggests.

The study from Finland investigated whether microbial exposures from animal contact during infancy are associated with the development of diabetes. The researchers studied 3,143 children at two Finnish hospitals between 1996 and 2004.

Of nine early microbial exposures studied – including farm animals, day care and exposure to antibiotics – only indoor dog exposure was inversely associated with subsequent development of preclinical type 1 diabetes.

“Dog contact may affect the human immune system in many ways”, the researchers wrote.

“In addition to affecting adaptive immune responses, early exposure to dogs may reduce innate immunity responses.”

Read more at The National Institute for Health and Welfare