The New York Times published an interesting article about efforts to treat children suffering from food allergies. Check out the full article here (link). The article discusses recent work by scientists that appears to be successful in treating kids with potentially life threatening allergy to peanuts. The work of Researchers, including Dr. Wesely Burks of Duke University, showed that some patients could be treated by exposing them to very, very small amounts of peanuts. The amount of peanuts was progressively increased overtime until the kids could eat several peanuts without an allergic reaction. The tests were performed under careful medical supervision and the article warns that parents or allergy sufferers should not try this experimental approach themselves. But this research could lead to an eventual treatment that could allow kids with food allergies to eat these foods or at least live without fear of trace amounts of allergens in their food.
"The new treatment uses doses of peanuts that start as small as one-thousandth of a peanut and eventually increase to about 15 peanuts a day. In a pilot study at Duke University and Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, 33 children with documented peanut allergy have received the daily therapy, which is given as a powder sprinkled on food. Most of the children are tolerating the therapy without developing allergic reactions, and five stopped the treatment after two and a half years because they could now tolerate peanuts in their regular diet. But four children dropped out because they could not tolerate the treatment."
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