Could peanut allergies become a thing of the past? That is the hope after a small study in the United Kingdom found that children with peanut allergies responded well to a potential new treatment for the condition.
The study included 85 children - all with peanut allergies of varying severity. The children were exposed to daily doses of peanut powder - miniscule amounts at first that were equivalent to about one 70th of a peanut. Every few weeks, the dosage was increased. After six months, the researchers found that 84 percent of the children could eat the equivalent of five peanuts a day with no reaction. It's a result that the study's authors say has 'transformed' the lives of the patients living with peanut allergies.
Still, the researchers caution that although this breakthrough sounds promising, a lot of follow-up research needs to be done to see how long this 'cure' lasts and whether or not it can be replicated easily in hospitals around the world. Doctors also warn that as 60 percent of people with peanut allergies are also allergic to other nuts, this treatment may not address all of a person's food allergy issues.
Researchers also caution that this is not a treatment that should be tried at home. The peanuts used in the study were processed to an exact purity. And the children were also given the doses in a hospital setting so that medical care was immediately available if the need arose.
Still, this research is very exciting for people with peanut allergies as it could mean that treatment - and even a cure - is on the way.
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