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.

More Community Posts

Peanut Free and Nut Free Community

create a new community post
Latest Post by penelope Mon, 10/14/2019 - 12:56pm
Comments: 0
Latest Post by penelope Mon, 10/14/2019 - 12:52pm
Comments: 1
Latest Post by Italia38 Tue, 10/08/2019 - 12:19pm
Comments: 3
Latest Post by Italia38 Tue, 10/08/2019 - 12:18pm
Comments: 1
Latest Post by penelope Mon, 10/07/2019 - 7:19pm
Comments: 2
Latest Post by penelope Mon, 10/07/2019 - 7:16pm
Comments: 10
Latest Post by penelope Mon, 10/07/2019 - 7:13pm
Comments: 13
Latest Post by penelope Mon, 10/07/2019 - 7:10pm
Comments: 9
Latest Post by mom2two Mon, 09/16/2019 - 1:03pm
Comments: 18
Latest Post by desmond Mon, 09/16/2019 - 1:00pm
Comments: 1
Latest Post by desmond Mon, 09/16/2019 - 12:58pm
Comments: 19
Latest Post by TeddyCan Mon, 09/09/2019 - 4:32pm
Comments: 10
Latest Post by DTurner Mon, 09/09/2019 - 4:31pm
Comments: 5
Latest Post by B.M.18 Mon, 09/09/2019 - 4:30pm
Comments: 3
Latest Post by abolitionist146 Mon, 09/09/2019 - 4:28pm
Comments: 2
Latest Post by nutfreenyc Mon, 09/09/2019 - 4:19pm
Comments: 4
Latest Post by AllergicTeen2 Mon, 09/09/2019 - 4:18pm
Comments: 2
Latest Post by PeanutAllergy.com Fri, 09/06/2019 - 1:52pm
Comments: 1

More Articles

You might have wondered if small amounts of an ingredient can be added to a food product without being declared on the food’s label. The FDA...

Is it possible to eat your way to a food allergy cure? Scientists think it’s...

There are many reasons why you may want to substitute almond flour for wheat flour in recipes. Of course, if you have a...

Not all oils are created equal. Some oils are high in saturated fats or in trans-fatty acids – not good for general health. Some are partially...

It may never be safe to begin feeding peanut butter to your baby or toddler if you have peanut allergies in your family. If either parent or one...

More Articles

More Articles

What is a peanut allergy? It is a reaction that occurs in the body after eating peanuts or peanut...

For those with severe food allergies, flying can be a stressful process. Here are...

Approximately one out of 13 children under age 18 are allergic to at least one food, though many of them will outgrow their allergy by the age of...

Fact 1: Over a third of food allergy reactions happen after the first known oral...

The reason why some people are affected by allergies while others are not begins in their genes. Allergies are passed down from generation to...

Here’s a tip that might someday save your life, or that of a loved one: two to four times a year, review the proper way to use your epinephrine...

Lactose intolerance is the inability to process lactose, a sugar found in milk, caused by the lack of a needed enzyme. Those with lactose...

Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA)

An important part of peanut allergy awareness was enacted on January 1, 2006...

Tomato allergies are very rare. They are a "type 1 allergy," which means a contact allergy. When a person with this type of allergy touches a...

Milk allergies are becoming more common, especially in babies and small children. There is some confusion about what is an allergic reaction and...

Recognizing food allergy in babies or toddlers is not always easy, but there are specific risk factors and signs that parents and other caregivers...

Burlap bags are often used to store and ship coffee beans, potatoes, rice, seeds, nuts, and peanuts. They can be one of the disguised...

People with pollen allergies need to stay away from some foods. If you have allergic rhinitis in the spring or fall, you may not realize that you...

Of course, everyone knows that if you have a peanut allergy that you should avoid peanuts, peanut butter, peanut butter cookies and foods that...

Eating at a nut-free lunch table in school is a safety precaution that causes some students to feel isolated from their peers. Unfortunately,...