Researchers Say Children Can Develop Tolerance to Food Allergens

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Recent research conducted at Denver's National Jewish Health suggests a new approach for treating food allergies.

In the study, researchers exposed children to foods that usually make them sick. David Fleischer, M.D., a food allergy expert at National Jewish Health, explains:

"The basic premise to our approach is that we're trying to gradually increase the amount of food patients can tolerate, until they no longer have to fear an allergic reaction. Right now, there is no treatment for food allergies. The only treatment is to avoid foods, but we are working to change that."

During the study, Fleischer and his research team gave patients small portions of certain foods. The process began with just a gram or two of the food. "In doing that, it not only allows us to pinpoint the foods they're allergic to, but it lets us know exactly how much they can tolerate before showing signs of a reaction," Fleischer explained.

The children were then sent home with powders or drops containing the protein of the food they were allergic to. Small doses of this protein enabled some of the patients' bodies to build an immunity to the food. According to Fleischer, "Eventually, some patients develop a tolerance for the very foods they've been avoiding for years."

The results have been promising for many patients, though more work must be done before the treatment can become commonplace.

Source: Counsel Heal

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