Allergic to peanuts? Solution in the Works
by FFE Health News Staff
A study published in the medical journal The Lancet revealed a potential treatment for peanut allergy among kids.
In the study’s treatment programme, researchers had 85 kids eat peanut protein every day with gradual increasing dosage. After six months, 84% of the kids were able to eat the equivalent of five peanuts a day.
The idea behind the trial held in Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge is to boost the immune systems of allergic children against peanut. The kids were given a very low dose of peanut protein powder at the start of the programme, a dose they increased in time. By the end of the programme, a majority of the kids learned to tolerate peanut.
Researcher Dr Andrew Clark said ‘It’s a potential treatment and the next step is to make it available to patients, but there will be significant costs in providing the treatment – in the specialist centres and staff and producing the peanut to a sufficiently high standard.’ Fellow researcher Dr Pamela Ewan meanwhile cautioned people not to try this without the help of specialists in professional settings.
Other experts suggest more research should be made on risks, effectiveness and possible side-effects of the treatment.
Peanut allergy leads to several dangerous reactions among people, including anaphylaxis, swelling, difficulty in breathing, heart failure, collapse of the respiratory system and even death. Last year, British Equalities minister Jo Swinson almost lost her life after unknowingly eating biscuits containing peanuts. Peanut allergy is also difficult to manage because of the prevalence of peanut substances in many types of food and the environment.
The British minister said that aside from the usual precautions to take, those who suffer from peanut allergy should also let their friends and loved ones know what to do in case of emergencies.