I tell you, I always wonder how it seems so many people have allergies to foods, especially peanuts. It seems like an epidemic, if that’s possible. So many kids…no peanuts, eggs, whatever. I was on a flight once where everyone was told to not even open any food containers that may contain peanuts due to someone’s allergy.
Time.com is reporting that researchers in the UK are beginning a study basically treating the peanut allergy with…peanuts. It makes sense, doesn’t it? Isn’t that how people develop defenses against viruses, etc. Isn’t that what vaccinations are, for the most part? I think it makes total sense and it’s kind of surprising, in my expert doctor opinion, that it’s taken to long to get to this point.
Here’s some basics:
The theory has gained enough traction that Britain’s National Health Service is funding a seven-year study, also led by Lack, involving 640 children at high risk of allergy. Half of the study participants will avoid peanuts, while the other half will consume them regularly from 11 months to 3 years of age. Researchers will measure the rate of allergy in both groups by age 5.
It also seems that some work on this has already been done with some success. Researchers from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Andrew Clark of Cambridge University has been conducting similar studies with some success. Time notes that “Clark has just embarked on a three-year $1.5-million controlled trial to test the same treatment in 104 children with peanut allergies. Similar studies are also underway at Duke University and Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, among other places.”
The gradual and increased exposure to the foods, which the body views as toxic, seem to eventually (and hopefully) convince the body that it’s ok and it should not attack. Doctors, of course, caution not to try this at home since each increased dose causes allergic reaction, with immediate medical attention being needed in many cases.