Wednesday, January 5, 2011
A Cure For Peanut Allergy?
1.8 million people in the United States suffer from peanut allergy. Up to 200 deaths are attributed to food allergies each year. It is the first evidence that recently came out that life-threatening peanut allergy could someday be cured, at least that's what Duke researchers say. They have used the technique called oral immunotherapy to deal with the allergy. Here's how it works. Twenty-nine severely allergic children spent a day in the hospital swallowing minuscule, but slowly increasing doses of peanut flour until they had a reaction. The children were then sent home with a dose of peanut flour after 8 months to 10 months of gradual increase. At that point, most of the children could not eat the equivalent of 15 peanuts, but they could try, and they didn't stop there. They slowly built. According to new research, 4 children in the initial report and a 5th that had finished testing just a week ago actually stopped treatment. The bottom line here is we don't have a cure, but we may be able to, in controlled situations, possibly desensitize.