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Peanut Allergy Study Suggests Early Exposure Helps Condition

By    |   Tuesday, 24 Feb 2015 09:53 AM

A peanut-allergy study has shown that early exposure to peanut products may prevent the development of an allergy later in life, reversing previous advice about keeping children away from nuts altogether.

"The results have the potential to transform how we approach food allergy prevention," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, The Los Angeles Times reported this week.

The study, presented Monday at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and published online by the New England Journal of Medicine, found that small children who were kept away from peanuts for the first five years of their life were up to seven times more likely to develop a peanut allergy than children who ate them at least three times a week.

Put another way, babies given regular doses of peanut products for at least four years reduced their risk of developing an allergy by 81 percent.

The New York Times reported that roughly 2 percent of American children are allergic to peanuts, and that such allergies have more than quadrupled since 1997.

In 2000, guidelines published by the American Academy of Pediatrics suggested peanuts be withheld from babies until they turn at least 3 years old, for fear that contact would make them allergic.

That suggestion was abolished in 2008, on the finding that avoiding certain foods could help prevent allergies. The academy never went as far as to recommend peanuts for infants and small children, however.

Experts said that initial exposures to peanuts should be done with a doctor's supervision. Many will likely recommend skin-prick and other low-risk testing before upgrading babies to peanut butter, which poses less of a choking risk than whole peanuts.



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A peanut-allergy study has shown that early exposure to peanut products may prevent the development of an allergy later in life, reversing previous advice about keeping children away from nuts altogether.
peanut, allergy, study, early, exposure
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2015-53-24
Tuesday, 24 Feb 2015 09:53 AM
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