Fighting Allergy with Allergen

Babies who ate peanuts were less likely to develop an allergy to the food by the time they hit kindergarten, according to a new study.

By | February 25, 2015

WIKIMEDIA, FREESTOCK.CAInfants at high risk of peanut allergies who were exposed to the food ended up less likely to develop the allergy later in life, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine yesterday (February 23). Although the general practice for more than decade has been for babies to steer clear of peanuts, the results give a swift kick to advice that was falling out of favor.

“This study really proves cause and effect,” Hugh Sampson, a pediatric allergist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, told Science. “When someone asks me in my practice, I will encourage them to get peanuts in the diet in the first year of life.”

The study randomly assigned more than 500 babies to either eat at least six grams of peanut protein a week or to abstain from peanuts. All of the babies had eczema or an egg allergy, but did not initially have a reaction to peanuts. At five years of age, nearly 14 percent of the abstinent group had developed a peanut allergy, compared to roughly 2 percent of the peanut-eating kids.

“This is a major study—really what we would call a landmark study,” Scott Sicherer, an allergist at Mount Sinai Hospital, told NPR’s The Salt. “There’s been a huge question about why there’s an increase in peanut allergy and what we can do to try to stem that increase. And this is a study that directly addresses that issue.”

The authors were careful to note that children at risk of a peanut allergy should get an exposure test before parents start spooning them peanut butter. Senior author Gideon Lack of Guy’s and St. Thomas’s National Health Service Foundation Trust told The Washington Post: “I believe that the findings are robust enough to tell us that if a child is at risk for peanut allergy . . . that child should immediately, as soon as they develop the first signs, have a skin prick test,” and if it’s negative, to go ahead and eat peanuts regularly.

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Avatar of: @NoNutritionFear

@NoNutritionFear

Posts: 5

February 25, 2015

A few years back, the research was going the other direction - if peanut allergies run in your family DO NOT let a single peanut molecule near your kid - and that made no sense to me. I'm not an immunologist or allergist, but from an epidemiologic perspective (I am an epidemiologist), restricting exposure doesn't seem logical.
  In countries where parents feed kids peanut paste as infants, taken chewed up, straight from the parents' mouth (in Israel, for example), there are virtually zero peanut allergies. Parents chew up peanuts and feed this peanut/saliva mixture directly to infants, and in the native languages of many places where this is practiced, the name of this translates into something along the lines of "baby's first food."
  This is the problem with compartmentalization of research, and hyper-specialization. If the immunology researchers had worked with an epidemiologist or even with a cultural anthropologist with a research focus on dietary differences between groups, they may have saved a lot of wasted time, and a lot of kids from life-long, life-threatening peanut allergies.

Also consider differences in peanut allergies in countries where boiled peanuts are the norm vs. roasted peanuts. Countries that roast peanuts have relatively higher peanut allergy rates. This is simply observational data, and doesn't prove cause and effect, but perhaps could have been used to guide early research on peanut allergies more effectively.
Avatar of: @NoNutritionFear

@NoNutritionFear

Posts: 5

February 25, 2015

A few years back, the research was going the other direction - if peanut allergies run in your family DO NOT let a single peanut molecule near your kid - and that made no sense to me. I'm not an immunologist or allergist, but from an epidemiologic perspective (I am an epidemiologist), restricting exposure doesn't seem logical.

In countries where parents feed kids peanut paste as infants, taken chewed up, straight from the parents' mouth (in Israel, for example), there are virtually zero peanut allergies. Parents chew up peanuts and feed this peanut/saliva mixture directly to infants, and in the native languages of many places where this is practiced, the name of this translates into something along the lines of "baby's first food."

This is the problem with compartmentalization of research, and hyper-specialization. If the immunology researchers had worked with an epidemiologist or even with a cultural anthropologist with a research focus on dietary differences between groups, they may have saved a lot of wasted time, and a lot of kids from life-long, life-threatening peanut allergies.


Also consider differences in peanut allergies in countries where boiled peanuts are the norm vs. roasted peanuts. Countries that roast peanuts have relatively higher peanut allergy rates. This is simply observational data, and doesn't prove cause and effect, but perhaps could have been used to guide early research on peanut allergies more effectively.

Avatar of: @NoNutritionFear

@NoNutritionFear

Posts: 5

February 25, 2015

A few years back, the research was going the other direction - if peanut allergies run in your family DO NOT let a single peanut molecule near your kid - and that made no sense to me. I'm not an immunologist or allergist, but from an epidemiologic perspective (I am an epidemiologist), restricting exposure doesn't seem logical.

In countries where parents feed kids peanut paste as infants, taken chewed up, straight from the parents' mouth (in Israel, for example), there are virtually zero peanut allergies. Parents chew up peanuts and feed this peanut/saliva mixture directly to infants, and in the native languages of many places where this is practiced, the name of this translates into something along the lines of "baby's first food."

This is the problem with compartmentalization of research, and hyper-specialization. If the immunology researchers had worked with an epidemiologist or even with a cultural anthropologist with a research focus on dietary differences between groups, they may have saved a lot of wasted time, and a lot of kids from life-long, life-threatening peanut allergies.

Also consider differences in peanut allergies in countries where boiled peanuts are the norm vs. roasted peanuts. Countries that roast peanuts have relatively higher peanut allergy rates. This is simply observational data, and doesn't prove cause and effect, but perhaps could have been used to guide early research on peanut allergies more effectively.

 

Avatar of: Shengqian

Shengqian

Posts: 17

February 26, 2015

Does this apply to penicillin or other antibiotics-induced allergy?

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