Having a Dog as a Child May Cut the Risk of Developing Schizophrenia

A new study, conducted by researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine, suggests that kids who have a dog from early childhood may have a lower risk of developing schizophrenia later in life.Having a Dog as a Child May Cut the Risk of Developing Schizophrenia

Within the scope of the study, a team of researchers examined the relationship between exposure to a pet cat or dog during the first 12 years of life and diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder in adulthood.

The results of the statistical analysis showed, to the surprise of the researchers, that having a dog in childhood the risk of developing schizophrenia was significantly lower but there wasn’t any significant association between having a dog and diagnosis of bipolar disorder or having a cat and either psychiatric disorder.

Robert Yolken, M.D., chair of the Stanley Division of Pediatric Neurovirology and professor of neurovirology in paediatrics at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center, and lead author of a research paper notes that the findings suggest 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.

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