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Peanut allergy and mothers diet

4 replies [Last post]
By EILEEN on Mon, 05-03-99, 17:21

Some articles that appeared in the British Medical Journal last year on this issue. These discuss that the increase in peanut allergy may be 9or may not be) related to increased comsumption by mothers and infants during arly life.

"Peanut allergy in relation to heredity, maternal diet, and other atopic diseases: results of a questionnaire survey, skin prick testing, and food challenges. " J O'B Hourihane, T P Dean, and J O Warner BMJ 1996; 313: 518-521.


The next link is a reply to Hourihane's article. Clifford, R. "Peanut allergy. Study's results were predictable." BMJ. 1996 Dec 7;313(7070):1478.


and lastly Hourihane's reply to Clifford's criticisms. Jonathan O'B, Hourihane, J O Warner, and T P Dean BMJ 1996; 313: 1478.

[This message has been edited by EILEEN (edited May 06, 1999).]

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By EILEEN on Wed, 05-05-99, 18:17

I found this very confusing/disturbing article that suggests we might be making the problem worse by eliminating peanuts!

"Reduced exposure might increase allergic sensitisation".

by the Consultant in Paediatric Allergy and Immunology Professor of Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology Department of Child Health, Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Bristol BS2 8BJ
BMJ 1996;313:300 (3 August)


"..Thirdly, exposure to peanuts and other food allergens during lactation and childhood may be important in the development of immunological tolerance and may prevent allergic sensitisation to these foods. Finally, avoidance measures would serve only to reduce exposure to peanuts to low levels, and this could paradoxically increase allergic sensitisation to peanuts: low dose exposure to allergens (rather than high dose exposure) favours production of IgE, and as little as 1

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By tracy on Fri, 05-21-99, 04:59


I think this person does make a good point -- we don't really know how diet affects the children of pregnant and lactating mothers regarding food allergies. However, regarding this sentence in this person's letter:

"Firstly, there is no evidence that avoiding foods during lactation or early childhood prevents allergic sensitisation to these foods. Indeed, in certain cultures that
consume large quantities of peanuts, peanut allergy seems to be less of a problem than it is in Britain."

At the FAN conference in Baltimore that I attended, Dr. Robert Wood also mentioned that peanut allergies were more prevelant in developed countries like the U.S. and Britain -- studies show this -- and they believe it's because children's immune systems don't have to deal with the infectious diseases that are widespread in developing countries. (Ironically, our attention to immunizing our children may be contributing to their developing food allergies.) So these children's immune systems have more time to "deal" with food allergies. I know there's a better scientific way to say this, but I lack the necessary jargon.


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By EILEEN on Fri, 05-21-99, 05:48

Actually i think you expressed it very well. For example, IgE (the antibody we all have to worry about) plays a significant role in the elimination of intestinal parasites (worms etc). Since parastic infections are not a major problem in the developed world, it's almost as if the antibody is out looking for a new job!
My husband (from Asia) is always telling me that Westerners are obsessed with having everything spotless clean! How many of us use antibacterial handsoap? (Since this is promoting the development of chemically-resistant bugs we might want to think about using something else).

[This message has been edited by EILEEN (edited May 21, 1999).]

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By tracy on Sat, 05-22-99, 00:36


I'm not obsessed about a perfectly clean house... my husband, on the other hand, wants to bleach everything. I kindof like having a few bugs roaming around my house... if a spider can live here, then maybe we don't have that many chemical residue that could harm my baby.

Also, I've heard it's good for the immune system to be exposed to germs. I don't use antibacterial anything. We are all extremely healthy.


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