Pet Dog ‘Nips Child Allergies’

Take a bow-wow, Fido. Scientists have found that Man’s best friend is also good for his children, too, for young kids who live with a dog may get an immune-system boost against asthma and other allergies.

Joachim Heinrich of the Institute of Epidemiology at the Heimholtz Centre in Munich, Germany, led an investigation into more than 3,000 children, whose health was closely monitored from birth to the age of six.

Blood tests showed that, in households with dogs, children were less at risk from becoming sensitized to pollens and inhaled allergens – the triggers for asthma and wheezing, allergic rhinitis and eczema – than counterparts in dog-less homes. Heinrich believes that early exposure to germs brought into the house on dog fur could stimulate maturation of the immune system. In other words, the body’s defenses do not go into allergic overdrive when they are suddenly exposed to dust house mites, pollens and other triggers.

Cholesterol Drug Rejected

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said this week a new cholesterol drug being tested by Merck was not approvable, while the pharmaceutical giant vowed to press ahead with the application.

The drug, known as MK-0524A, was also denied the right to use the trade name Cordaptive. Merck said it would “pursue the alternative trade name ‘Tredaptive'” in the United States.

“We plan to meet with the FDA and to submit additional information to enable the agency to further evaluate the benefit/risk profile of MK-0524A,” said Peter Kim, president of Merck Research Laboratories.

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