MEDICAL NEWS TODAY – A recent study suggests that having a pet dog or a larger family in early life may protect against Crohn’s disease, a type of inflammatory bowel disease.
Researchers observed that individuals who owned a dog as a child were less likely in later life to have increased gut permeability, which is an early indicator of Crohn’s disease.
The study also reports that owning a dog and having a larger family size were associated with changes in gut microbiome composition or gut permeability, paving the way to understand how these factors could influence the risk of Crohn’s disease.
The study’s co-author Dr. Williams Turpin, a research associate at Mount Sinai Hospital, told Medical News Today,
“[ these results] imply that environmental factors are associated with risk of developing Crohn’s disease, and thus offer novel modifiable targets for studies aiming to reduce the risk of developing Crohn’s disease.”
Genetics is known to play a causal role in Crohn’s disease, with family members of individuals with Crohn’s disease having an elevated risk of developing the condition.
In addition to genetic predisposition, environmental factors also influence the risk of Crohn’s disease.
In the present study, the researchers examined the association between exposure to environmental risk factors during different time periods and the incidence of Crohn’s disease.
To understand how environmental factors could influence the risk of Crohn’s disease, the authors also assessed the association between environmental factors and the aforementioned biomarkers.
Environmental risk factors
The present study included 4,289 first-degree relatives of Crohn’s disease patients enrolled in the Crohn’s and Colitis Canada Genetic, Environmental, Microbial (CCC-GEM) project, a global study that looks to uncover possible triggers of Crohn’s disease.
At the time of enrollment, the researchers used a questionnaire to assess the current and past exposure of these healthy participants to eight environmental risk factors … READ MORE.