Pet allergens may have an upside.
Children exposed to high indoor levels of pet or pest allergens during infancy have a lower risk of developing asthma by 7 years of age, according to new research.
The findings may provide clues for the design of strategies to prevent asthma from developing.
Previous studies have established that reducing allergen exposure in the home helps control established asthma. But the new research, supported by the National Institutes of Health, suggest that exposure to certain allergens early in life, before asthma develops, may have a preventive effect.
“We are learning more and more about how the early-life environment can influence the development of certain health conditions,” said NIAID Director Dr. Anthony S. Fauci. “If we can develop strategies to prevent asthma before it develops, we will help alleviate the burden this disease places on millions of people, as well as on their families and communities.”
The study investigates risk factors for asthma among children living in urban areas, where the disease is more prevalent and severe. Since 2005, it has enrolled 560 newborns from Baltimore, Boston, New York City and St. Louis at high risk for developing asthma because at least one parent has asthma or allergies.
Among 442 children for whom researchers had enough data to assess asthma status at age 7 years, 130 children (29 percent) had asthma. Higher concentrations of cockroach, mouse and cat allergens present in dust samples collected from the children’s homes during the first three years of life (at age 3 months, 2 years and 3 years) were linked to a lower risk of asthma by age 7 years.
There was a similar association for dog allergen, but it was not statistically significant. That means it could be due to chance.
Additional analysis indicated that exposure to higher levels of these four allergens at age 3 months was associated with a lower risk of developing asthma.
“Our observations imply that exposure to a broad variety of indoor allergens, bacteria and bacterial products early in life may reduce the risk of developing asthma,” said Dr. James E. Gern, the principal investigator of URECA and a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “Additional research may help us identify specific targets for asthma prevention strategies.”
The study was published Sept. 19 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has partnered with dozens of high-profile celebrities to stand together to challenge dangerous attacks on the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA), which has recently come under fire by Congress.
IFAW Ambassadors Pierce Brosnan, Slash, Samantha Bee, Nina Dobrev, Mark Ruffalo, Wilmer Valderrama, and Susan Sarandon are among those appearing in the organization’s #OneActForAll campaign which features the celebrities in a series of images and videos, each paired with a different species that currently benefits or could benefit from the protections of the ESA.
“The symbol of the bald eagle for the United States represents freedom and strength. Thanks to the ESA and other environmental laws, their once critically endangered population has recovered. Attempts to dismantle the ESA could result in a domino effect, destroying hundreds of animals and plants under its protection right now. This is a game we can’t afford to play,” said actor and activist Mark Ruffalo. “I’m standing with IFAW, because we, as citizens of this planet, have a responsibility to protect it and all the creatures on it.”
Assets of the #OneActForAll campaign will be disseminated through digital channels, including www.oneactforall.com, an action-focused website designed to easily allow supporters to join the campaign and contact their legislators instantly, IFAW’s social channels, and those of the celebrities and other supporters and influencers.
Dr. Jane Goodall, Kristin Bauer Van Straten, Mick Fleetwood, Camilla Belle, Whitney Cummings, Alison Eastwood, Scott Eastwood, Leona Lewis, Eddie Vedder, and Rainn Wilson are also among the many recognizable names and IFAW Ambassadors that are participating in the campaign.
“Chimpanzees along with other great apes are our closest living relatives. We need strong laws like the ESA to truly protect them,” stated Goodall, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace.
The ESA was established in 1973 in order to protect wildlife from extinction and has proven to be a massive success, preventing the disappearance of 99% of listed species, including the bald eagle, grizzly bear, American alligator, humpback whale, California condor, black-footed ferret, and many other plants and animals.
“IFAW is standing up for endangered species when some of our elected politicians are putting targets on their backs,” said Jeff Flocken, North American Regional Director of IFAW. “The law that best protects our most imperiled animals is under attack. That’s why these celebrities have generously lent their voices to make everyone aware of what is at stake: the loss of beloved and iconic animals here in the United States and abroad.” “Without your support, the ESA will fall and if the ESA falls, all endangered species fall,” concluded Azzedine Downes, President, and CEO of IFAW.
Latest discovery of two mutilated cats on their owners’ doorsteps raises suspicions killer may be operating nationwide Northampton police have contacted their colleagues in the Met who are investigating a series of similar killings.
The discovery of two dismembered cats in bags on their owner’s doorsteps in Northampton has added to concern that an animal killer who has eluded police for almost two years may be operating nationwide.
Northamptonshire police have contact their colleagues in London, where Met officers are investigating a spate of cat killings in recent months. The latest incident occurred on 7 September, when the owners of 15-year-old Topsy found the mutilated animal outside their front door on Brookfield Road in Kingsley.
A teenage girl had previously found the cat Rusty dumped in plastic bag on her doorstep with its ears, head and limbs cut off. The family’s other cat survived being set on fire a couple of days earlier.
South Norwood Animal Rescue and Liberty (Snarl), a south London charity, said the two new killings “bore wounds indicative of the UK animal killer”. The first description of a suspected serial cat killer was released at the end of last month. Based on witness accounts of three recent cat killings in Caterham in Surrey, Snarl said the suspect was a white male in his 40s with dark brown hair and possible acne scarring.
He was referred to as the Croydon cat killer after a spate of killings in south London, but Snarl has urged people to stop using the term after similar attacks in Manchester, Birmingham, Brighton and the Isle of Wight.
The charity’s concerns led the Met to launch Operation Takehe in 2015 to track down the culprit. He has been seen approaching cats with food and toys and making “kissing noises” at a number of locations.
Northamptonshire police said officers had “been in contact with the Met as part of their on-going investigation into cat deaths, to see if these are in any way linked”. A Met spokesman said its officers would “assess the latest report to see if it is linked to the cases already established as part of the ongoing investigation led by police in Croydon”.
Tony Jenkins, the head of Snarl, said that about 250 cats had been killed in similar circumstances since October 2015. The animal charities Peta UK and Outpaced are offering a reward of £10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible. Members of the public are asked to contact police and quote Operation Takahe if they encounter the suspect.
Sniffer dogs trained to help police catch paedophiles, terrorists and fraudsters by detecting hidden digital storage devices have been unveiled in the UK.
Tweed, a 19-month-old springer spaniel, and Rob, a 20-month-old black labrador, are said to the first digital detection dogs outside the US.
The dogs have been trained by Devon & Cornwall and Dorset police but have already been used at crime scenes across the UK. They have been used to sniff out hidden data devices such as USB sticks, SD cards and hard drives. Ch Supt Jim Nye, commander for the alliance operations department that works across the two forces, said: “These dogs will give the police a new way to fight the threat of terrorism, paedophiles and fraudsters.”
In 2015, dog instructor PC Graham Attwood began to research whether dogs could be used effectively in this way and worked with his counterparts in Connecticut, who use digital detection dogs. Most dogs used by the south-west forces come from their own puppy breeding scheme, are given as gifts or are rescue dogs. However, Tweed and Rob were bought especially for this job when they were about 15 months old.
Attwood said: “Myself and members of the alliance dog school initially handled and trained Tweed and Rob mainly in our own time as we were committed to our usual daily duties of training the forces’ other operational police dogs.”
Mike Real, a recently retired Connecticut state police dog instructor and co-founder of the American programme, along with special agent Jeffrey Calandra, who is the only digital detection dog handler in the FBI, were invited to Devon for a week to train and assess Tweed and Rob. They passed their assessment with flying colours and were set to work.
Attwood, added: “Our digital dogs have already proven to be a success and have been used in over 50 warrants executed across the UK, including Hampshire, Essex, south Wales, and North Yorkshire.
“We have already seen some really fantastic results from these two dogs. Tweed on one warrant indicated that something may have been within what looked like a Coke can. This was then inspected by a search officer and discovered that it was actually a money box that had a number of SD cards hidden within it. “Rob has also indicated a small device hidden carefully in a drawer which would have likely to have been missed by the human eye.”
If the dogs continue to do well, others may be trained. The dogs live at home with their new full-time police dog handlers, PC Martin King and PC Jill Curnow.
Raccoon jumps on moving Colorado police van, takes a ride
A Colorado Springs police officer heading to an accident scene in a van got a big surprise when a raccoon jumped onto the front windshield of the vehicle and stayed there until the officer pulled over.
Officer Chris Frabbiele was responding to an accident scene in a large van used by police to investigate crashes when the raccoon landed on its windshield late Wednesday night.
Police spokesman Lt. Howard Black says the raccoon hopped off the van after Frabbiele pulled over and stopped it.
Images of the raccoon encounter from a van dash camera showed the animal appearing to cling to the windshield after it landed and crouching by the van’s windshield wipers.
KOALA SURVIVES 10-MILE AUSTRALIA TRIP IN WHEEL ARCH
For a stowaway who made a 10-mile journey squeezed in the wheel arch, a koala was lucky to escape with just scratches.
The driver of the four-wheel vehicle was unaware of the extra passenger until they arrived at their destination in the outskirts of Adelaide, Australia, and he heard some unusual cries.
After seeing the koala in the wheel arch, he immediately called animal rescuers, who removed the wheel and eventually extricated the frightened but very lucky animal.
The koala suffered superficial injuries and was covered in grease from under the car.
The koala was dubbed Kelli, after one of the firefighters who rescued her
After being cleaned up and monitored for a week, it was released back into the bush.
“After everything she’s been through, she’s had so much stress and trauma, to see her just toddle off and up the tree, and currently she’s found the biggest fork in the tree, she’s snuggled up, she’s fast asleep,” Brister said.
Rescue workers say it’s not unusual for koalas to seek shelter in unusual places.
Here’s a very tall tail: Two record-setting cats are living together near Detroit.
Arcturus Aldebaran Powers holds the Guinness World Records mark for tallest domestic cat, measuring at about 19 inches. Housemate Cygnus Regulus Powers holds the record for the domestic cat with the longest tail, measuring more than 17 inches.
The cats live in Farmington Hills with Will and Lauren Powers. Guinness says they sought the records to raise awareness about a cat shelter.
Will Powers told The Detroit News that people often want to have photos taken with the cats, so they ask them for donations for the shelter.
He says both cats are about 2 years old. Arcturus could keep growing until age four or five.
JOE THE KANGAROO ESCAPES FROM PEN, HOPS DOWN A WISCONSIN HIGHWAY
It was a brief taste of freedom for Joey the kangaroo who kicked his way out of a pen at a southeast Wisconsin pumpkin farm, only to be rounded up by sheriff’s deputies.
The Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department received a call around 7 a.m. Thursday from someone who reported seeing an animal on Highway L in Somers, and that it looked kind of like a kangaroo.
Deputies were dispatched. And sure enough, there was Joey hopping down the highway, making his getaway. Deputies figured the kangaroo belonged to Jerry Smith’s pumpkin farm just blocks away. Sheriff’s officials say Joey was returned safely without injury.