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Owning a Dog in Childhood May Reduce Risk of Schizophrenia, Says Study

Scientists conducted the research on 1,3000 adults ranging between the age of 18 to 65 and found having a pet as a child might have an advantage.

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Updated:December 23, 2019, 7:01 PM IST
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Owning a Dog in Childhood May Reduce Risk of Schizophrenia, Says Study
(Photo courtesy: AFP Relaxnews/ Lilun_Li/ Istock.com)

A recent study has suggested that owning a dog as a child could reduce chances of schizophrenia later in life by 24 per cent. The study has been done by Johns Hopkins Children's Center in US and has been published in journal PLOS ONE. Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental disorder.

Scientists conducted the research on 1,3000 adults ranging between the age of 18 to 65 and found having a pet as a child might have an advantage.

It found if a person owns up a dog he/she comes in touch with harmful bacteria which increases their immunity and can, in turn, decrease stress.

In its finding, it has been revealed that having a dog before a person turns 13 will reduce the possibility of getting schizophrenia by 24 per cent.

Professor Yolken, lead researcher of the study, told Daily Mail serious psychiatric disorders have been associated with alterations in the immune system linked to environmental exposures in early life. He said the study focused on pets because they are often the first things that children come in contact with.

Professor Yolken said around 840,000 cases of schizophrenia might have been prevented in the US by just having a dog in the house as a child. He hoped his findings would help him develop prevention and treatment strategies in future.

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