Some babies are more likely to develop eczema if there is a cat in the home, a new study suggests.

A certain genetic mutation associated with eczema can be triggered by exposure is not a new one, the researchers from Denmark and Great Britain noted. There are a number of genes that predict asthma and allergies as well.  

Scientists found that babies who are genetically more prone to eczema were twice as likely to develop eczema during their first year of life. Those with the mutation and a cat in their home from the time of their birth had a further increased risk of having eczema.  

“It’s more of an example of a mechanism that’s likely to happen between genes and the environment. It’s sort of proof of a concept, or an idea that’s been around for years,” said study author Dr. Hans Bisgaard, of the Danish Pediatric Asthma Center at the University of Copenhagen. “You can have a gene for many diseases but never have the disease if you aren’t exposed to triggers.”

Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, begins in the first year of life for 65 percent of the people who have the condition, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. About 20 percent of all infants and children have symptoms. [SOURCES: HealthDay, BabyCenter.com]

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