A California company, Aimmune Therapeutics, is developing the first treatment to prevent peanut allergies. Their study has reported success with the utilization of peanut flour capsules administered to young children. The daily dose of these capsules has increased their tolerance to peanuts.
Millions of children worldwide have allergic reactions to peanuts, which, in some cases, produce life-threatening episodes when accidentally exposed to it. Doctors have been closely studying how the administering of small peanut capsules to babies slowly makes their bodies gradually accustomed to peanuts.
The company stated in their results that 67% of children who had this treatment were able to tolerate the equivalent of roughly two peanuts at the end of the study. Only 4% of those given the placebo were able to do so.
Dr. Stacie Jones, a University of Arkansas allergy specialist, warns us against trying this at home. "It's potentially dangerous," she said. "This is investigational. It has to be done in a very safe setting."
The study was performed on children ages 4 to 17. The allergic reactions of these children were so severe that only one-tenth of a peanut was enough to set off an allergic reaction. The children were given tablets of either peanut flour or a placebo powder in gradually increasing amounts during six months. The final level continued for a final six months.
Neither the participants nor their doctors knew who was getting what but until the end of the study. About 20% of the participants dropped out, 12% of them due to allergic reactions or other issues.
Dr. Andrew Bird explains that the treatment is not aimed towards enabling children to eat peanuts as if they did not have the allergies. The research suggests that being able to tolerate at least one peanut can protect 95% of them from having an allergic reaction.
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