This could be bad news for Bo, the Obamas' supposedly hypoallergenic Portuguese Water Dog: A new study says it's a myth that certain dog breeds are less likely to aggravate allergies.
The research, published last week in the Journal of Allergy Clinical Immunology, finds that there is "no evidence for the classification of certain dog breeds as being "hypoallergenic," Dutch researchers wrote.
In fact, as Reuters reports, scientists found that "hypoallergenic" canines had more allergy-causing protein in their fur than did regular dogs. And the air in their owners' homes contained no less of the allergenic protein.
Abut 10 percent of Americans are allergic to dogs, meaning those people's immune systems react to the proteins in pet saliva and dander. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, it's not the doggy hair all over your couch that's the allergen, but the dander (dead skin) that's attached to the hair.
But supposedly certain breeds, such as Poodles, the Spanish Water Dog, and the Labradoodle, (pictured) a mix between a Labrador Retriever and a Poodle, are hypoallergenic. The Obamas, for example, chose their dog because of their daughter Malia's allergies.
To test claims about allergy-free dogs, researchers at Utrecht University in The Netherlands recruited nearly 200 dogs of four hypoallergenic breeds and compared them with a group of 160 standard dogs.
Based on hair and coat samples, the researchers reported that significantly higher concentrations of the Can f 1 allergen, one of the proteins that cause dog allergies, were found in samples from hypoallergenic dogs than in the control group of non-hypoallergenic dogs.
On the other hand, the researchers didn't measure the level of allergies in the pet owners, so it still could be that these dogs, for some reason, cause fewer allergic reactions than other breeds.
Good advice includes bathing your dog frequently -- one study showed allergen levels were reduced by 85 percent for about three days after a bath -- plus keeping your pet out of your bedroom, and dusting and vacuuming often.
In other health news:
Anti-depressants fall into Medicare donut hole. Reuters reports on a new study that shows that when some older Americans with Medicare drug coverage reach the point where they have to pay full price for medications, many just stop taking their antidepressants - raising their risk of depression relapses.
Drugmaker slapped with record $3 billion fine for fraud. GlaxoSmithKline was slapped with a $3 billion fine Monday by the U.S. Justice Department after failing to report safety data and selling misbranded drugs. The charges involved some of the country's most popular drugs, Paxil, Wellbutrin and Avandia. The government alleged that the drugs were marketed as a treatment for conditions for which they had not been approved. It said Paxil, which treats depressive and anxiety disorders in adults, was marketed to children and adolescents, and Wellbutrin, an antidepressant, was marketed as a weight-loss aid. A third count involves a failure to report safety data about the drug Avandia, a diabetes drug, to the Food and Drug Administration between 2001 and 2007.
Laundry detergent pod poisonings grow. Childhood poisonings from a new type of detergent packet have soared in recent weeks, experts say, with the total climbing to more than 1,200 this week from about 200 in late May, despite government warnings, the New York Times reports. Many of the cases involve Tide's candy-colored pods and the company says it will introduce new, more secure packaging in July. Parents and grandparents are warned to keep the packets in a locked cabinet or someplace inaccessible to children.
Photo of Labradoodle courtesy rickhogan via flickr