Warm and Fuzzy=Better Health
From the winter 2006 edition of bp Magazine:
''While service animals are working pets trained to perform tasks for disabled individuals, a feature article in the winter edition of bp Magazine reveals that pets can play an equally important role as “emotional support animals” to individuals with bipolar disorder.
''People with bipolar disorder report a variety of benefits from their pets. For one, they can provide something to focus on other than the individual’s own emotional challenges.
''Pet ownership also fosters a sense of responsibility for another living creature. Just as petting a dog has been shown to lower blood pressure, caring for a loved pet helps those with bipolar disorder calm themselves and reduce feelings of isolation. In fact, an animal may be a depressed person’s only link to social activity.''
Read the whole article at www.bphope.com.
Also check out this update on the ability of dogs to sniff out certain cancers: (from the March 2006 issue of Integrative Cancer Therapies, a peer-reviewed journal) :
''...A dog's nose, considered by both dog trainers and chemists alike to be one of the world's most powerful olfactory sensor, was the "medical device" used in this research. In a study of 86 people (55 with lung cancer and 31 with breast cancer), five professionally trained scent dogs accurately distinguished between breath samples from diseased patients and those from 83 healthy controls. The dogs' ability to correctly identify or rule-out lung and breast cancer, at both early and late stages, was around 90%...This work is based on the hypothesis that cancer cells emit different metabolic waste products than normal cells. The differences between these metabolic products are apparently so great that they can be detected by a dog's keen sense of smell, even in the early stages of disease.''
Read the whole article at http://www.psmerg.org/articles/canine.html, on the site of The Pine Street Foundation, a California nonprofit with a mission to ''help cancer patients reach more informed treatment decisions through education and research.''