Posts Tagged ‘ peanut allergy ’

Hypoallergenic Peanuts in Development

Friday, June 20th, 2014

Kids (and adults) with severe allergies to peanuts could someday be able to enjoy the nuts, hope North Carolina-based researchers who are developing a process of treating peanuts to render them hypoallergenic.  Reuters has more:

Researchers from North Carolina’s Agricultural and Technical State University have developed a patented process that reduces peanut allergens by up to 98 percent. Allergens are the substances that trigger allergic reactions. The new process reduces them by soaking de-shelled and roasted peanuts in a solution of food-grade enzymes.

The treated peanuts are made to look and taste like regular roasted peanuts, and they are not genetically modified.

“Treated peanuts can be used as whole peanuts, in pieces or as flour to make foods containing peanuts safer for many people who are allergic,” said lead researcher Jianmei Yu in a statement.

The treated peanuts could even be used in immunotherapy, under a doctor’s supervision, she added.

The process reduces two key peanut allergy triggers called Ara h 1 and Ara h 2. It reduces Ara h 1 to undetectable levels, and Ara h 2 by up to 98 percent. Human skin-prick trials were conducted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to measure the effectiveness of the process.

Image: Peanuts, via Shutterstock

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Eating Nuts During Pregnancy May Reduce Babies’ Allergy Risks

Monday, December 30th, 2013

Women who regularly eat tree nuts or peanuts during pregnancy may be less likely to give birth to babies who later develop nut allergies, a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has found.  More from CNN.com:

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, is the first to demonstrate that a mother who eats nuts during pregnancy may help build up a baby’s tolerance to them after birth, its lead author, Dr. Michael Young, told CNN.

The effect seemed to be strongest in women who ate the most peanuts or tree nuts — five or more servings per week, according to the study, which controlled for factors such as family history of nut allergies and other dietary practices.

Peanut and tree nut allergies tend to overlap, according to the researchers.

Earlier studies indicated that nut consumption during pregnancy either didn’t have any effect or actually raised the risk of allergies in children.

However, the authors of the latest study say those studies were based on less reliable data and conflict with more recent research suggesting that early exposure to nuts can reduce the risk of developing allergies to them.

There is currently no formally recognized medical guidance for nut consumption during pregnancy or infancy.

When to Worry: Food Allergies
When to Worry: Food Allergies
When to Worry: Food Allergies

Download our Food Allergy Action Plan.

Image: Pregnant woman eating nuts, via Shutterstock

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New Peanut Allergy Treatment Holds Promise

Monday, December 9th, 2013

A new method of treating–and possibly even curing–severe peanut allergies is being developed and tested by researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital.  More from Boston.com:

In a small study involving 13 children at high risk for having severe allergic reactions to peanuts, Boston Children’s Hospital researchers first administered an injectable asthma drug every few weeks for 12 weeks, before having the children eat peanuts, in order to dampen their immune system’s response to peanut protein. The children continued to receive the drug—called omalizumab—for another 8 weeks as they gradually ate an increasing number of peanuts.

Twelve of the children were eventually able to eat the equivalent of 10 peanuts a day even after they went off the drug, according to the findings published in the December issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Most did, however, experience allergic reactions during the first few weeks before their immune systems became desensitized to the peanut protein. Five children had moderate allergic reactions such as wheezing, nausea, and shortness of breath, and two children had more severe reactions like a full-blown asthma attack. One child dropped out of the study after experiencing nausea and vomiting from eating peanuts, which didn’t abate for several weeks.

(None of the children had side effects from omalizumab, which in rare cases can cause life-threatening allergic reactions like anaphylaxis.)

“An important goal is to prevent life-threatening allergic reactions in those who eat peanuts accidentally,” said study leader Dr. Lynda Schneider, director of the allergy program at Boston Children’s Hospital. “We’re cautiously hopeful that some will be able to include peanuts in their diet every day, but we’re not ready to call this a cure.”

Image: Peanuts, via Shutterstock

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Allergy Tattoos For Kids: Smart Idea or Bully Bait?

Friday, August 30th, 2013

Several companies now offer temporary tattoos that children can wear on their arms to alert teachers, cafeteria staff, and other adults that the kids suffer from severe allergies. Parents report that these tattoos give them a little peace of mind, but critics worry that they set kids up to be bullied. More from Yahoo! Shine:

“Right now there’s a huge awareness, whether because of going back to school or because of the recent incident in California,” SafetyTat founder and mother of three Michele Welsh told Yahoo! Shine. Welsh was referring to the recent tragic death of a 13-year-old girl with a peanut allergy at a Sacramento summer camp. “Unfortunately it sometimes takes something like that for people to say, ‘Wow, it really can happen.’”

Welsh created her 5-year-old company—offering products that include temporary tattoos and long-lasting, write-on skin stickers—after using a ballpoint pen to nervously scrawl her cell phone number on her kids’ arms at a crowded amusement park, in case they got separated, and realizing it was maybe not the best way to go about it.

The moment made her think of other dangers lurking for kids, and how having an actual warning label on the body could be useful to other parents, too—like her sister-in-law, who is mom to a boy with a fatal peanut allergy. “He had spent so much time in the hospital as a toddler, that his mom had begun limiting his time outside the home because she was so fearful,” Welsh said. When she created the tattoos and he wore one to a school trip, the response was immediate, alerting a food server who double checked the ingredient of his salad dressing only to discover it contained peanut oil. “His mom told me, ‘It’s almost like I’m there with him, reminding people,’” she added.

But Yahoo! Shine reports that the tattoos do have critics:

A recent Slate article on the phenomenon of children wearing warning labels raised the issue of bullying, questioning whether the added attention would make them targets of childhood cruelty. It was a concern echoed by American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology spokesperson, allergist Kevin McGrath. “A lot of kids do get bullied at school about their food allergies, so there is some concern about whether this might give more ammunition to kids,” McGrath told Yahoo! Shine.

 

Image: SafetyTat tattoo, via Yahoo! Shine

 

 

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Lower Food Allergy Risks: Don’t Delay Eggs, Peanut Butter

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Food allergies in children seem to be getting more common, with foods like eggs and peanut butter as top culprits.  New recommendations from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology urge parents to introduce highly allergenic foods, including fish, eggs, and nuts, to babies as young as ages 4 and 6 months, saying that early exposure may lower the risk of the allergy.  More from the Wall Street Journal:

The recommendations are a U-turn from 2000, when the American Academy of Pediatrics issued guidelines that children should put off having milk until age 1, eggs until 2 and peanuts, shellfish, tree nuts and fish until 3. In 2008, the AAP revised its guidelines, citing little evidence that such delays prevent the development of food allergies, but it didn’t say when and how to introduce such foods.

Food allergies affect an estimated 5% of children under the age of 5 in the U.S., according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health. The prevalence of a food allergy for children under 18 increased by 18% from 1997 to 2007.

“There’s been more studies that find that if you introduce them early it may actually prevent food allergy,” said David Fleischer, co-author of the article and a pediatric allergist at National Jewish Health in Denver. “We need to get the message out now to pediatricians, primary-care physicians and specialists that these allergenic foods can be introduced early.”

Dr. Fleischer said more study results are needed to conclusively determine whether early introduction will in fact lead to lower food-allergy rates and whether they should be recommended as a practice.

Image: Peanuts, via Shutterstock

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