CHILDREN with a peanut allergy could be treated by eating the very thing their bodies reject to build up tolerance to the food
Small doses of peanut powder taken over several months seem to induce tolerance in children with the potentially deadly allergy, a research team wrote yesterday in The Lancet medical journal.
After six months of treatment, dubbed oral immunotherapy or OIT, 84 to 91 per cent of the children in a trial could safely tolerate daily doses of 800mg of peanut powder, the equivalent of about five peanuts, the team said.
This was 25 times the amount they could tolerate before the therapy, and much larger than any accidental dose is likely to ever be.
“The treatment allowed children with all severities of peanut allergy to eat large quantities of peanuts, well above the levels found in contaminated snacks and meals, freeing them and their parents from the fear of a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction,” said study leader Andrew Clark from Cambridge University Hospitals.
“The families involved in this study say that it has changed their lives dramatically.”
Peanut allergy affects about one in 50 children.
Source: AFP reported in The Australian
Comment: This could indirectly be support for homeopathy!
More seriously, it confirms that the immune system responds well to moderate stress – something well known in dealing with psychological stress generally – rather than avoiding the thing that causes the stress. It is only when there is overload that it can’t cope – also both immunologically and in mental health situations.
It also shows something interesting: that the boundaries between what we can and cannot tolerate in out diets may be blurred. Further examples, though commonly less severe, are strawberries and tomatoes, the latter considered a poison in some areas of the globe, indicating a genetic factor as well.