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Peanut Allergies: Outgrowable? Please read this

8 replies [Last post]
By Claire on Mon, 07-28-03, 15:05

My aunt sent me this article and Chris was very disturbed by it and I wonder how your child reacts if you were to read it to them.
Time Magazine-
Peanut Allergies: Outgrowable?
Until recently, most doctors believed that Peanut allergies, which affect some 1.5 million Americans and can be deadly, were a lifelong affliction. Now it turns out that some people outgrow them. As part of an ongoing study of peanut intolerance, Johns Hopkins researchers gave 80 allergic children a "peanut challenge"- that is, they made them eat peanuts. More than half the kids passed the test, suffering none of the common allergy symptoms, such as hives, vomiting or swelling of the face and lips. The study published in this month's Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, looked at children with low levels "5 kilounits or less per liter of blood" of peanut-specific Ige--the antibodies that cause allergic reactions-and found that the lower the levels, the more likely the children were to outgrow their peanut sensitivities. These antibodies can be measured with widely available blood tests, and the study's authors recomment that peanut-intolerant kids get tested every year or so. Researchers also say children may be given peanut challenges starting at about age 4, but only under a doctor's supervision.
My reason for sharing the article with you is because Chris was so upset over the part where they say "Made to eat Peanuts".Just wondering how you feel about this article. Take care claire

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By Going Nuts on Mon, 07-28-03, 19:01

Hi Claire,

I can't remember which thread it was in, but Choguy (Troy) posted an educated rebuttal to it. I'll try to find it and raise it for you. Suffice it to say he didn't think much of the study.

OK, I found it. Check this out - Journal of allergy and clincial immunology-july issue thread in this forum.


[This message has been edited by Going Nuts (edited July 28, 2003).]

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By choguy on Mon, 07-28-03, 19:11


I mentioned last week that I was able to read these studies in the journal. I considered this study to be flawed for a number of reasons. Below is a list of my criticisms that you might try to relate to those who question you:

1) The results were based on only 80 children (mean age of 5 years old). Not statistically significant when 1.5 MILLION may have PA!
2) Of those, 20 children never ingested peanuts and were diagnosed by RAST or skin test. Therefore, there is no clinical proof any of these children would have actually reacted to peanut ingestion. These tests only indicate a possibility of a reaction. Our own allergist has said he has patients with high RAST scores who eat peanuts without any problems.
3)I have searched and searched the journal article and I can not find just how much peanut each child was challenged with (very suspect). Perhaps it was a very small amount that would not illicit a reaction in most of these children anyway.
4)Of those PA children that passed the food challenge, 81% showed only a localized skin reaction to their first ingestion of peanuts (only 9% of this group had what the authors define as an anaphylactic reaction)
5) Greater than 45% of all PA children failed the challenge. 50/50 are not great odds when dealing with life and death!
6) They followed-up with the group who passed with surveys and questions about further reactions. Only 67% of the group that passed answered the researcher's survey leaving out a large chunk of this group from further study.
7)On average, the follow-up time was 1.6 years following the peanut challenge. Not nearly long enough in my opinion. The authors even admit that the allergy can return any time even after years without any problems.
8) Of those that passed the peanut challenge, 67% still limit their peanut consumption to no more than once a month at most. This would, of course, increase the likelihood there would be NO reactions in the 1.5-2 years following the peanut challenge.
9) My own opinion - I don't like science that leaves conclusions up to patient surveys that are often subjective. If the surveys are not written properly, the results can be skewed.
10) The 50% outgrowth value ocurred in children with very low peanut IgE levels of less than 5 kUa/L. Therefore, this patient population would most likely not be considered severely allergic. But remember, 45% of those in this group still failed the challenge which gives you an idea of the accuracy of these values.

Those are my major problems with this study, It was also very confusing to read and poorly written. I can imagine there would be lots of room for error if a CNN reporter tried to write an article about it. I hope this helps in some way. Don't believe everything you read and always be critical of science (especially when done by MD's [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] )


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By Claire on Mon, 07-28-03, 20:08

Believe me I am the last person to believe this article!! What I wanted was to know how you felt about the part where they said they MADE THE CHILDREN EAT THE PB? I would never let my son have been a gunie pig to that test. I just wanted to let you know how much that bothered a child with PA that read the article.
take care claire

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By tando on Mon, 07-28-03, 20:39

Hi Claire,
I agree it's an insensitive, unclear, and generally poor choice of words. I remember about 8 or 10 years ago both Time and Newsweek announced they would be more informal in their language use to better reflect their audience. Not good for science writing.

Choguy, thanks for the info.


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By California Mom on Mon, 07-28-03, 21:19

Claire, that was the part of the article that jumped out at me, too. The idea of a pa person being "made" to eat pb is very upsetting. To me it is a form of torture for those who do not "pass the test".
[img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] Miriam

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By virginia mom on Wed, 07-30-03, 22:48

Unfortunately, it's articles like this that give ammunition to the parents at our childrens' schools who do not want to make any accommodations or changes on behalf of PA because their child's "constitutional right" to have PB would be affected. I'm sure that the psycho mother at my daughter's school will have this article under her belt come September to undo any precautions already in place for my daughter's PA.

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By k9ruby on Sat, 05-08-04, 14:33

PA kids MADE to PN?= STUPID!

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By MommaBear on Sun, 11-14-04, 13:42

Quote:Originally posted by virginia mom:
[b]Unfortunately, it's articles like this that give ammunition to the parents at our childrens' schools who do not want to make any accommodations or changes on behalf of PA because their child's "constitutional right" to have PB would be affected. I'm sure that the psycho mother at my daughter's school will have this article under her belt come September to undo any precautions already in place for my daughter's PA.[/b]

Hmmmmmmmmm. it was [i]written into[/i] the formal notes at my cubs IEP/OHI meeting re: PA/Nuts that [i] we were advised to seek and consult an "allergy specialist"[/i] (for my oldest cub).

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Don't know why, since our pediatrician is both very academic, current, proactively involved in our cubs care, communicative, and [i]well respected[/i]. We adore him.

I mean, the only confirmed reaction we've had in several years was from a "processed on shared equipment" type of thing (we missed both the warning and the manufacturer). He had, up until the visit, only been "blood tested" for allergies, [i]once[/i] on the day he had a reaction.

Anywhooooooooooo. Dr's office called this week with results (I'll be getting a written copy as well). For peanuts? [i]well[/i] into a "Class 6". (higher than before for what it's worth) and also was blood tested for many other "Nuts". Came up strongly positive for many. Lentils came back strongly postitive as well. (didn't ask for a reference range, am expecting that on the written results, just the gist of the conversation). Cross contamination and other concerns throughout literature, we don't try to differentiate between other nuts we just cross them off our lists and avoid them entirely.

A course of action had been pre-emptively explained to us *prior* to the blood test, if he came back "negative". I think that was the word they used. I can't remember, probably since it wasn't, well.......something [i]I felt[/i] would happen. Don't know what we would do if it did anywhoooooooo. KWIM? For some reason, the idea of a "negative" blood test terrified me. [i]Call me crazy[/i].

By the office conversation, and for some reason, there was the idea that he may not be allergic to Lentils before the test was performed. Why, I don't *personally* know. I mean, there was a *history* of a very specific, and almost instantaneous "severe" reaction to some soup *I* had made. With only *three* ingredients (call me a simple cook [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] ) Two ingredients he still eats, *one* the Lentils, he doesn't.

All in all, a *good* visit. Some spirometery testing, *other* environmental allergy tests, history, etc.

General Disclaimer: I am not offering advice in any manner or form. Just describing my own, personal highly individual, and unique situation.

[This message has been edited by MommaBear (edited November 14, 2004).]

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