Peanuts possible cure for peanut allergies
Exposing babies to peanut products may actually help reduce their risk of developing peanut allergies. That finding, which marked the first time a peanut allergy risk was reduced, was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Researchers from King's College London tested 628 babies as young as four months old who had already developed eczema--an early warning sign of allergies--but had not yet developed a peanut allergy, which was determined through a skin-prick test. Half of the babies were given a peanut-based snack and the other half avoided peanuts altogether. The trial revealed that 14 in every 100 of the children would develop a peanut allergy by the age of five.
However, this rate fell in the children eating peanut-based snacks by 86 percent to two in every 100 children. Kids who were already developing sensitivity also saw improvements, with allergy rates falling from 35 percent to 11 percent.
According to lead researcher Gideon Lack, high-risk children "need to be evaluated, have skin-prick testing and dietary advice, [before], in most cases, early introduction of peanut". He said he hoped the findings could eventually be applied to preventing other allergies, but warned parents not to experiment at home.
He acknowledged that more research is needed to determine if this is a truly effective way to reduce peanut allergies, as this study counteracts what most other previous studies have recommended.