In the News: Exposing Children to Pets May Prevent Asthma, Large Number of Girls Are Depressed by Age 14, Magnesium Intake May Impact Dementia

Exposing children to pets early on may prevent asthma. According to the CDC, around eight percent of children in the U.S. have asthma. New research out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison has found that exposing children under the age of 3 to pet and pest allergens may actually prevent asthma from developing. This study, which was part of a larger study known as Urban Environment and Childhood Asthma (URECA), looked at the effect of cockroach, mouse, and cat allergens found in house dust and found that the higher the levels of pet and pest dust exposure for children under three, the lower the risk of developing asthma by the age of seven. Researchers also confirmed that if a pregnant woman is stressed, depressed, and smoking tobacco, these habits can also increase the child’s risk of developing asthma. These findings prove that early exposure to various environmental factors can play a big role in the health conditions they do or don’t develop. Can’t tell if you have a cold or asthma? Check out this clip. (MN)

One out of four girls under the age of 14 is depressed. Research out of the University of Liverpool and University College London has unearthed some alarming findings. After analyzing 10,000 participants from 2000-2001 and having parents report on their children’s mood and mental state, they then asked the children how they felt once they turned 14 and found that 24 percent of the girls and nine percent of the boys were depressed. Researchers found that children from wealthier families were less depressed than those in poorer families, raising questions about stress at home and potential factors leading to depression. Interestingly, when parents reported on their children’s mental health the boys and girls were on the same page up until they turned 14, when the girls began eclipsing the boys in terms of depression and anxiety. (SD)

Magnesium levels may play a role in developing dementia. New research out of the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands has found that too little or too much magnesium may increase the risk of developing dementia. Researchers measured magnesium levels in 9,569 participants, adjusting the results to accommodate sex, education, health conditions, and other factors. At the start of the study nobody had dementia but by the end of it, 823 people developed dementia, and 662 were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. They found that participants which fell in the high and low magnesium groups had a 30 percent higher likelihood of developing dementia than those who fell into the middle category. Check out this gallery to learn more about magnesium. (MN)