USA Today

Posted on: Mon, 03/20/2006 - 4:10am
Gail W's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

[url="http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2006-03-19-allergies-cover_x.htm"]http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2006-03-19-allergies-cover_x.htm[/url]

To head off allergies, expose your kids to pets and dirt early. Really.

By Steve Sternberg, USA TODAY

Here's the conventional wisdom: Pets promote allergy, kids shouldn't eat peanuts until they're at least 3, and intestinal worms are nothing more than an icky reminder of life before flush toilets.

Jordainae Hobbs, 10, left, and Maurice Gilmore, 7, who suffer from asthma, participate in a clinical trial in Colorado.

By Kevin Moloney for USA TODAY
Here's the new wisdom: Early exposure to pets, peanuts and intestinal worms might actually be good for you, because they program the developing immune system to know the difference between real threats, such as germs, and Aunt Millie's cat. (Graphic: Short-circuiting a cat allergy)

Evidence to support this view has been mounting for more than a decade. But now, for the first time, researchers are beginning to test remedies based on these theories in patients. Other doctors are trying to make use of novel approaches to retrain the immune system once it's too late and allergies set in.

"What we've learned is that it may, in fact, be important to be exposed early on to a sufficient quantity of allergy-causing substances to train the immune system that they are not a threat," says Andy Saxon of the University of California-Los Angeles. "And, in people who already have allergies, we see for the first time where the problems lie, and we have new opportunities to tweak the system."

Scientists base this radical new thinking about human allergies on a deeper understanding of how the immune system works. They have begun to exploit fresh insights to attack allergies and other immune diseases in unexpected ways. No longer content just to treat allergy symptoms, they hope to outwit the immune system and stop allergic responses before they start.

"When you're born, Day Zero, your immune system is like a new computer. It's not programmed. You have to add software," says Joel Weinstock of Tufts New England Medical Center. "Between the ages of zero and 12, you're learning to read, you're learning to write, and your immune system is learning to react to things. Part of that is learning to limit reactivity."

If the new approaches work, millions might benefit. More than 50 million people have allergic diseases, which are the sixth-leading cause of chronic illness in the USA, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), costing the health system $18 billion a year.

Asthma alone accounts for 500,000 hospitalizations a year, including 2 million admissions to the emergency room, says a study in the May 2005 Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Since 1980, adult asthma cases have risen by 75% and childhood asthma by 160%, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. (Related: Asthmatic kids under a cloud)

To test whether high-dose exposure breeds tolerance, researchers led by Gideon Lack at Imperial College in London are preparing to launch a counterintuitive

Posted on: Mon, 03/20/2006 - 5:00am
LaurieI's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/04/2002 - 09:00

My child (age 9)was exposed in the womb and through breast milk quite often, so that would suggest she should be tolerant of peanuts according to this theory. Instead she has exema, allergies, and asthma. I am glad for any research that is being done on allergies, but I didn't care for this article. Just my opinion.

Posted on: Mon, 03/20/2006 - 6:03am
MommaBear's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by LaurieI:
[b]My child (age 9)was exposed in the womb and through breast milk quite often, so that would suggest she should be tolerant of peanuts according to this theory. Instead she has exema, allergies, and asthma. [/b]
first, is exposure (is it?) through the womb, or breast milk, the same as other exposure?
second, just because someone doesn't "fit" the theory (for whatever reason(s) ) does that necessarily mean the theory has no validity? Or that we reject it? The study they are contemplating, if my memory serves me.........is seven years long.
I'm open to new information, even if it doesn't fit my own personal bias. KWIM?

Posted on: Mon, 03/20/2006 - 9:30am
LaurieI's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/04/2002 - 09:00

First: My personal belief is that exposure in the womb or breastmilk is not the same as other exposure. But, I do believe that this could have sensitized my child. This is also just a theory which is not proven.
Second: I did not question the validity of the theory or the research program. I used my daughter as an example of why I have trouble with the reasoning. I know she is one person of many and each family and situation is unique.
Third: I stated I was grateful for any research on allergies. It can only help our cause.
Fourth: Just my opinion.

Posted on: Mon, 03/20/2006 - 5:00am
LaurieI's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/04/2002 - 09:00

My child (age 9)was exposed in the womb and through breast milk quite often, so that would suggest she should be tolerant of peanuts according to this theory. Instead she has exema, allergies, and asthma. I am glad for any research that is being done on allergies, but I didn't care for this article. Just my opinion.

Posted on: Mon, 03/20/2006 - 6:03am
MommaBear's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by LaurieI:
[b]My child (age 9)was exposed in the womb and through breast milk quite often, so that would suggest she should be tolerant of peanuts according to this theory. Instead she has exema, allergies, and asthma. [/b]
first, is exposure (is it?) through the womb, or breast milk, the same as other exposure?
second, just because someone doesn't "fit" the theory (for whatever reason(s) ) does that necessarily mean the theory has no validity? Or that we reject it? The study they are contemplating, if my memory serves me.........is seven years long.
I'm open to new information, even if it doesn't fit my own personal bias. KWIM?

Posted on: Mon, 03/20/2006 - 9:30am
LaurieI's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/04/2002 - 09:00

First: My personal belief is that exposure in the womb or breastmilk is not the same as other exposure. But, I do believe that this could have sensitized my child. This is also just a theory which is not proven.
Second: I did not question the validity of the theory or the research program. I used my daughter as an example of why I have trouble with the reasoning. I know she is one person of many and each family and situation is unique.
Third: I stated I was grateful for any research on allergies. It can only help our cause.
Fourth: Just my opinion.

Peanut Free and Nut Free Community

Click on one of the categories below to see all topics and discussions.

Latest Discussions

Latest Post by whipperyears Sat, 09/19/2020 - 9:45pm
Comments: 0
Latest Post by RedirBloff Sat, 09/19/2020 - 1:25pm
Comments: 0
Latest Post by stillbassey Sat, 09/19/2020 - 5:43am
Comments: 0
Latest Post by JamesFulsE Sat, 09/19/2020 - 3:02am
Comments: 0
Latest Post by Timurasizn Thu, 09/17/2020 - 11:06pm
Comments: 0
Latest Post by doggydude Sun, 07/19/2020 - 4:36am
Comments: 1
Latest Post by Tinsley Thu, 07/16/2020 - 8:12am
Comments: 5

Peanut Free Store

More Articles

People with peanut allergy are advised to wear a peanut allergy bracelet or a medical ID bracelet that indicates the allergy so that if they...

Unless we consciously carve out time for self-care, constant food allergy management can slowly erode our sense of well-being. Signs of allergy-...

When love is in the air we can get caught up in the moment and throw caution to the wind. However, if you have a...

There is no definitive treatment for a peanut allergy. Because every case different, reactions will...

Tree nuts and peanuts are distinctly different. An allergy to one does not guarantee an allergy to the other. Peanuts are considered legumes and...

Many doctors treat allergies, including pediatricians and general practice doctors. When allergies are severe, primary care physicians often refer...

Are you tired of serving fresh-cut fruits and veggies as a healthy snack? Sure, there's nothing wrong with these options, but they can get boring...

For those living with peanut allergies, having a source of ready-to-eat 'safe' foods can be a...

Are you craving cake? Perhaps there's an upcoming birthday...

Asthma is a condition that is considered to be chronic and long term. Asthma disrupts the airways located in the lungs. Asthma often causes these...

Peanut oil is an inexpensive, healthful and inoffensive way to cook—unless you have a peanut allergy!

Light peanut oil is popular as a...

Are you looking for peanut-free candies as a special treat for a child with...

People with peanut allergy should know about foods to avoid, as many who are allergic to peanuts are allergic to other nuts like walnuts, cashews...

If you or your child has a peanut allergy, that unmistakable smell of peanuts wafting through the air...

Whether you have a child with a peanut allergy or you are sensitive to packing a nut-free lunch out of concern for other people’s children, it is...

Those with severe peanut allergies soon learn to look for the 'peanut-free sign' on any packaged food purchase. This is a notation found on a wide...

For many people with peanut allergies, baked goods present one of the most significant risks. Even if...

Are you craving sweets? Those with peanut allergies must be especially careful when indulging their...

Peanuts and Nuts Can Trigger An Asthma Attack

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAI), more than 3...

There are more "peanut-free" products than ever on the supermarket shelves. This means more choices than ever for peanut-allergic shoppers and...