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New Research Offers Insight Into Why Peanut Allergies Develop

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A study funded by the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (or FAAN) recently uncovered potential clues to why peanut allergies develop in some children, but not others. Researchers are trying to answer this question in order to learn how to prevent peanut allergies from occurring in the first place.

According to Market Watch, the researchers believe that early exposure to peanuts through the skin could be a determining factor of whether a child will develop an allergy to peanuts. Their findings were published in the March edition of 'Allergy,' the European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Researchers at St. Thomas' Hospital in London examined the blood cells of children diagnosed with peanut allergies, comparing them with the blood cells of children who did not have a peanut allergy. They noted that the immune cells that respond to peanut allergens appear to carry a 'surface marker,' which offers clues about where the child's body first encountered the peanut allergen. There are different markers for exposure through the skin (environmental exposure) or the digestive system (by eating peanuts). The researchers found that the skin exposure marker was associated with a diagnosis of peanut allergy.

Dr. Gideon Lack, professor of pediatric allergy at King’s College London and one of the study's authors, explained that the results of the study are "Consistent with the hypothesis that the route of exposure affects whether peanut allergy develops." He continued "Skin exposure may be linked to peanut allergy, while eating peanuts early may protect from peanut allergy." FAAN CEO Maria L. Acebal commented "Can you imagine being able to prevent children from developing a life-threatening allergy to peanut? That is the incredible promise of this important study."

By Julipsio on Sat, 04-07-12, 16:01

I totally disagree with the idea of giving peanuts early to try to help prevent an allergy. And I think it is too dangerous. A very small child cannot express the feelings he/she might be having in a way that adult would be able to tell their throat is closing up! I tend to agree more with the studies that think they have linked the allergy to the mother eating peanuts during pregnancy. This makes more sense to me when wondering about this comment stated in the article "Skin exposure may be linked to peanut allergy,.." Wouldn't skin exposure be as soon as in the womb? Another reason I disagree with this is that I had a distinct "odd" feeling whenever I ate peanut butter while pregnant with my second child (who has the allergy). I don't remember ever having it with my first pregnancy. Therefore I tend to lean toward the idea of it happening in the womb. Not to mention the studdies that have been done that say that roasting the peanuts and all this genetic stuff they are doing to them makes the allergen worse...

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By Adrinonuts on Tue, 04-17-12, 04:08

The problem is that there are far too many studies that conflict with one another. You are correct that it is far to dangerous to risk just giving our children peanuts in hopes of preventing the allergy. Also, if this were true then the studies about peanuts being in certain formulas would not be so debated. One minute they state that it is the formulas adding peanut that is creating the allergies, then the next minute it is leaving out peanut which creates the allergy. How about they just figure out the cure or vaccines and begin administering it as the they do all the others?

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