For several years, groups have touted the health benefits companion animals can bring humans.
The University of Missouri, in 2012, said having a pet can lower the stress hormone cortisol while increasing oxytocin, prolactin and norepinephrine, which are hormones related to joy, nurturing and relaxation.
Research published in Activities, Adaption & Aging in June 2015 calls for increased understanding about older adults, the relationship between pet ownership and health, and the current barriers which limit older adults’ chances to own a pet. The study, “Fostering the Human-Animal Bond for Older Adults,” goes into detail about physical and financial risks for older adult pet ownership and how it can be diminished.
The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) released research in April 2013 showing how pets can help children with autism, after new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show one in 50 US children has autism spectrum disorder. HABRI's research found that social behaviors increase in children with autism in the presence of animals compared to toys.
HABRI has identified the following seven key areas in which human health is positively impacted by animals: allergy and asthma immunity among children, Alzheimer’s, autism, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Among key findings in these seven fields, new research has shown that contact with companion animals can have physical benefits to those with post-traumatic stress disorder such as the release of oxytocin and endorphins in the brain; pets can have a protective effect for young children from allergies later in life; and patients who own a pet have a better survival rate of recovering from heart surgery.
Recently, the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation announced the findings of a new economic study on the health care cost savings associated with pet ownership. The economic analysis, conducted by two researchers from George Mason University, calculated an US$11.7 billion savings in US health care costs as a result of pet ownership.
Aging adults can benefit from relationships with pets, according to new research from the University of Missouri. Rebecca Johnson, an associate professor in the University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing, College of Veterinary Medicine and director of the school's Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction, says that having a pet can lower the stress hormone cortisol while increasing oxytocin, prolactin and norepinephrine, which are hormones related to joy, nurturing and relaxation.
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