The No Nuts Moms Group website lists some of the young people who have died from food allergies — many from peanut allergy — going back to 1986. The lengthy list is a sad reminder that a peanut allergy can cause a severe and sometimes deadly allergic reaction. Parents who have a child who is allergic to peanuts do many things to keep him or her out of harm’s way.
A study published online today in The New England Journal of Medicine offers some hope for parents of infants who may be headed toward a peanut allergy. That hope is peanuts.
For the study, an international team of researchers recruited infants who had an egg allergy or eczema, an allergic disorder that affects the skin. Both are indicators that a child is prone to a peanut allergy. The children were randomly divided into two groups. The parents in one group were asked to make sure their children didn’t eat any peanuts, peanut butter, or other peanut-based products until age five. Parents in the other group were asked to give their children a peanut-based snack called Bamba or peanut butter three times a week until age five.
The results were surprising and dramatic. A peanut allergy developed in 1.9% of children who ate Bamba or peanut butter, compared with 13.7% of those who didn’t eat peanuts. One explanation for this difference is that the children who ate peanuts early developed what is called immune tolerance to them. Their young immune systems adapted to the proteins in peanuts so that they did not react to them.
The researchers got the idea for this trial from a previous study of theirs. They knew that Israeli children are typically fed peanuts much earlier in life than British children. So they compared peanut allergies in Jewish children living in Israel with those in Jewish children living in London. Peanut allergies were 10 times higher in the British children than in the Israeli children.
In an unrelated study, a team from the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Kravis Children’s Hospital at Mount Sinai in New York City presented similar findings on Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology in Houston. They showed that a wearable patch that gradually exposes the body to small amounts of peanut protein may be effective in easing the allergy. After wearing the patch for a year, people with peanut allergies could tolerate the equivalent of four peanuts at a time. The patch, called Viaskin, is made by DBV Technologies, which funded the study.
What does this new work mean for parents? If an infant is allergy-prone, it may be a good idea to ask his or her pediatrician about skin-prick testing for peanut allergy. If adding peanuts to the child’s diet early is feasible, the New England Journal of Medicine study suggests that such a strategy may prevent a peanut allergy down the line. And while the Viaskin results are still preliminary, if further research bears out these results, this approach could be a lifesaver.
Related Information: Food Allergy, Intolerance, and Sensitivity
Bible verses for today’s meditation and inspiration: Matthew E. McLaren
“Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed.”- Proverbs 16:3
“Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!” Luke 12:24 – Luke 12:24
“It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.” – Matthew 15:11
“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.” – Matthew 12:33
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:31-32
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” – Proverbs 18:21
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9
“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5
“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” – 1 John 4:4
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. 25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin” : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Eph. 2:22-24
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