Peanuts terrify a skyrocketing number of kids and adults who are plagued by allergies that can close the throat and prevent breathing.
New research offers potential relief even as allergies are on the rise.
Private insurance claims for anaphylactic peanut reactions – severe shock that can narrow the airway – soared by 445 percent from 2007 to 2016, according to FAIR Health, a nonprofit health care claims data organization with a database of 23 billion private healthcare procedures.
Researchers from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) in Australia, however, offer new hope for everyone afflicted, reporting long-lasting effects from a novel new treatment regimen for peanut allergies.
In a 2013 MCRI trial, 82 percent of children who received a probiotic and peanut immunotherapy (PPOIT) treatment were deemed newly tolerant to peanut products. Four years later, the majority of children who gained initial tolerance are still eating peanut as part of their normal diet (80 percent) and have passed a further challenge test confirming long-term tolerance to peanut (70 percent). (Researchers tested blood samples and skin patches as part of their investigation.)
“These children had been eating peanut freely in their diet without having to follow any particular program of peanut intake in the years after treatment was completed,” said Professor Mimi Tang, who led the new research and pioneered the PPOIT treatment.
“Over half were consuming moderate to large amounts of peanut on a regular basis, and others were only eating peanut infrequently. The importance of this finding is that these children were able to eat peanut like children who don’t have peanut allergy and still maintain their tolerant state, protected against reactions to peanut.”
Research like this reinforces the notion of using probiotics to combat allergies, including hay fever. More importantly, it demonstrates the importance of keeping researchers supplied with the tools they need, including blood and skin tissue samples, to fight allergies and other ailments.
Here’s hoping researchers can replicate the peanut study’s impressive results so that treatments can reach the market soon. The implications for all sorts of food allergies, and other allergies, are tremendous.