- New research gives hope to those suffering from peanut allergies.
- A large study suggests that treatment with oral immunotherapy may allow sufferers to increase their tolerance to peanuts.
- The idea is not that those with allergies to peanuts will be able to eat nuts freely, but that their reactions can be reduced.
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An innovative new study gives new hope to those suffering from peanut allergies.
It may be possible to reduce the severity of allergic reactions to peanuts, according to research published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.
The report states that peanut allergy is the leading cause of food-related anaphylaxis, with 6.1
The number of sufferers has also increased in recent decades, with a 2017 study suggesting that the prevalence among children has increased by 21% since 2010.
The new study includes a study called Artemis conducted in hospitals across Europe.
175 children with peanut allergies between the ages of 4 and 17 took part in the study, which was given either a growing amount of peanut allergen protein or a placebo every day.
Those taking peanut protein are given a slightly higher dose every two weeks for six months, after which the same dose is maintained for three months.
The researchers found that 58% of children who ate peanut protein could tolerate at least three to four peanuts by the end of the study.
Compared to only 2% of those receiving placebo.
The researchers concluded that the treatment “led to a rapid desensitization to peanut protein.”
The study does not suggest that peanut allergy sufferers will soon be able to eat peanut butter on a spoon, but researchers hope this could mean less severe reactions than accidental exposure to nuts.
One participant, 12-year-old James Redman, told The Times that he could now tolerate up to seven peanuts after suffering severe reactions to any traces of peanuts.
“Participating in the study was the biggest opportunity of my life,” he said.
“The nurses and doctors were very caring and a lot of fun. I didn’t worry about the taste of the peanut protein because I mixed it with chocolate pudding, which was great.
“I really hope that the study will lead to treatment so that other children with peanut allergies can benefit.”
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