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New Hope for Peanut Allergies

A new study offers hope for children with peanut allergies. Tree nut and peanut allergies affect approximately 4 million Americans, and about 150 people die from such reactions each year. In the first study of its kind, researchers have carefully given children a series of small daily doses of peanuts to help build up their immune system to reduce allergic reactions to peanuts.

In this small study, daily doses of peanuts, beginning with doses as small as 1/1000 of a peanut, were given to children with peanut allergies. The dose was gradually increased each day. After six months, some of the children were able to eat 13 to 15 peanuts daily without an allergic reaction. Lab studies evidenced that their response to peanut allergens had dropped dramatically.

The researchers at Duke University and Arkansas Children’s Hospital caution that parents and professionals should not try their own version of “peanut therapy.” They stress that more research is needed to determine the long-term safety and effectiveness of the treatment. For now, people with peanut allergies should avoid peanuts. However, the results of this study offer new hope for the future.
 

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