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An End To Food Allergies? Well, Let's Start With Peanut Allergies

Peanuts: via OrlandoSentinal.comPeanuts: via OrlandoSentinal.com Peanut allergies are the most common cause of food related death.  Four percent of children are allergic to peanuts and only 20 percent of those children ever outgrow the allergy.  Symptoms of peanut allergy can include rashes, itchy skin, sneezing, teary eyes, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and swelling.  But severe symptoms may include anaphylactic shock, which can be deadly if not treated immediately.  You don't mess with food allergies.

The thing about peanuts is that traces of them can be found in nearly every processed food, especially if the processing plant, bakery, candy store, etc. produces other products that contain peanuts.  So the peanut-allergic have to be especially cautious, always on the lookout for special food notices that no peanuts are processed in the facilities.

But a British doctor, Andrew Clark, at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, has been working on a program to help rid children of peanut allergies.  His program, funded by Great Britain's National Health Service, used very small doses of peanut flour mixed with yogurt to slowly desensitize allergic children to the peanut.

Dr. Clark conducted a two-year study with 23 children, gradually increasing their doses of peanut flour every day.  Now, the children can eat 5 or more peanuts a day without experiencing allergic reactions.  For parents, this achievement was transformational: they no longer have to watch absolutely everything that their children eat from Chinese food to curries to chocolates, and other snacks and treat.

Previous desensitization studies were unsuccessful, perhaps because of the method and/or the peanut product used.  Either peanut extract or oil was injected into the blood stream rather than going through the digestive system.

In March, Dr. Clark will head a larger study with at least 104 children that have already been recruited.  It will be a 3-year study, the largest trial of its kind, "and it should give us a definitive idea of whether it works and whether it's safe," Dr. Clark said in his address to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, meeting this weekend in San Diego, CA.

He offered even further hope that his study results would portend "the beginning of the end for all food allergies."

 

References: The Telegraph, PeanutAllergy.com, American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

 

Comments
Feb 21, 2010
by Anonymous

wow!

it is amazing how scientists, doctors and inventors figure out everything! this could really help out in the future indeed. i mean if a child was allergic to peanut and you made a cure that is made from PEANUT dust and yogurt ....... i or any people might have never figured out that. Dr. clark is amazing. but i'm not really allergic to peanuts.

Feb 21, 2010
by Anonymous

yeah...

so true

Feb 21, 2010
by Anonymous

skeptical

I'm skeptical of food allergy "cures" that are based on desensitization. I was born with many severe food allergies, somewhat outgrew them, and was considered desensitized. As an adult I had many health problems which, one by one, started being traced back to chronic food allergies. For example, the chronic inflammation in my liver only resolved once I cut out wheat, a food allergy I had "outgrown". I'm back to strictly avoiding my food allergens and finally starting to feel more healthy. Just because the acute symptoms disappear, it doesn't mean the food isn't causing a hidden reaction somewhere else in the body.

Feb 21, 2010
by Anonymous

A case of someone "inventing" an old and effective therapy

Nice article on what is termed Sub-Lingual ImmunoTherapy (SLIT) ... which contrary to what the current press would spout.... has been around in some form for decades. See www.allergychoices.com for a group of clinics that has such therapies available today.

To "skepical" I will say good for you for taking charge of your health and listening to your body's needs! What you experienced in "outgrowing" your allergies is not the same as desensitization, however. I have found in my practice (I use SLIT in my medical practice) that it can be helpful for some types of 'allergy' or 'sensitivity' but not others... For example if one has celiac disease, they should really stay off of wheat for life. SLIT does not help this type of gluten sensitivity in my experience, or reading of the medical literature.

The immune system is very complex... IgE, IgG, Cell mediated responses, complement, total load, cytokines, gut function, neurotransmitters, hormones, the brain, and all kinds of other things all play a roll in it's function.

Yea to Inventorspot.com for drawing attention to this very cool and useful method of therapy.