People who are exposed to a pet dog before the age of 13 are as much as 24 per cent less likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia later in life, according to a study.
A study found that that people who are exposed to a pet dog before the age of 13 are as much as 24 per cent less likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia later in life.
A study of 1,371 participants found that early exposure to pets as an environmental factor may help alter the human immune systems genetically or otherwise predisposed to develop psychiatric disorders.
A recent study by Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers cautions that more studies are needed to confirm these findings, to search for the factors behind any strongly supported links, and to more precisely define the actual risks of developing psychiatric disorders from exposing infants and children under age 13 to pet cats and dogs.
Researchers looked at a Population of 1,371 men and women between the ages of 18 and 65 that consisted of 396 people with schizophrenia, 381 with bipolar disorder and 594 controls.
Information documented about each person included age, gender, race/ethnicity, place of birth and highest level of parental education (as a measure of socioeconomic status), the report stated.
Patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder were recruited from inpatient, day hospital and rehabilitation programs of Sheppard Pratt Health System.
The report also said that all the participants were asked if they had a household pet cat or dog or both during their first 12 years of life.
Analyses were conducted for four age ranges: birth to 3, 4 to 5, 6 to 8 and 9 to 12.
The findings suggests that people who are exposed to a pet dog before their 13th birthday are significantly less likely — as much as 24% — to be diagnosed later with schizophrenia.