From: Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News
News headlines over the past few years have linked cat ownership to everything from cancer to craziness, but new studies suggest that cats are actually beneficial to human health, and may even reduce our risk for cancer and other diseases.
Reports in this week's issue of Biology Letters, for example, counter the tabloid-suggested link between cats and human brain cancer.
Marion Vittecoq of the Tour du Valat research center and her colleagues conclude that cats should not be blamed for human cancer. In fact, studies show just the opposite.
Vittecoq told Discovery News that "according to our knowledge, studies that have focused on the link between cancer and cat ownership so far have found either no association at all or a reduced risk of cancer in cat owners."
As an example, she and co-author Frédéric Thomas cite a National Institutes of Health Study by G.J. Tranah and colleagues. It found dog and cat owners have a reduced risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The longer the duration of pet ownership was, the less chance the individual would suffer from this type of cancer.
Why cats and dogs may benefit human health remains a mystery, but another study from earlier this month provides some intriguing clues. It found that infants having pets at home suffered from fewer respiratory tract illnesses.
Toddler with kittens photo via Shutterstock.
Read more at Discovery News.