MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Tove Fall PhD
Senior author of the study
Associate Professor in Epidemiology
Department of Medical Sciences and the Science for Life Laboratory
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Loneliness and sedentary lifestyle are two major risk factors for cardiovascular disease and mortality, but are notoriously difficult to prevent in the general population.
Previous studies have shown that dogs may serve as a strong motivator for daily exercise, provide substantial social support and have a positive effect on the owner’s gut microbiome. The effects of pet dogs on health outcomes in the general population are largely unknown.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: We found a strong association of dog ownership with reduced risk of early death, this association was especially noted in those living in single households. We also noted that owners of some breed groups had lower risks, such as owners to breeds originally bred for hunting purposes.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: We are following up with studies on cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure. We are also comparing the gut microbiome between owners and non-owners. Further we are assessing acute cardiovascular risk after “loss-of-a-pet” due to acute disease.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: We cannot really say whether the persons getting a dog have other habits and personal characteristics compared to non-owners already before getting a dog. These factors could have influenced our results.
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
Citation: Mwenya Mubanga, Liisa Byberg, Christoph Nowak, Agneta Egenvall, Patrik K. Magnusson, Erik Ingelsson, Tove Fall. Dog ownership and the risk of cardiovascular disease and death – a nationwide cohort study. Scientific Reports, 2017; 7 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-16118-6
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