I’ve been following the Peanut Allergy controversy for several years, now, and am pleased to (finally) report that new Guidelines formulated in 2016 are being applied to kids by their parents – and the level of Childhood Peanut Allergy in the general population is reported to be dropping significantly…
Once parents began embracing the new desensitization
recommendations for Peanut Allergies, the overall
level of the condition dropped significantly…
Remember when I started reporting on Childhood Peanut Allergy in this space several years ago? More kids were turning up allergic to Peanuts and Peanut products than ever before by the age they started school. That was a concern to parents, doctors and school administrators who were at first perplexed over how, with increasing safeguards and regulations prohibiting the presence pf Peanut products in the schools, increasing numbers of kids were suffering Allergies, so-called sensitivities and their at-times-serious consequences.
At that time, I reminded my readers of the approach taken by parents, and recommended by doctors, if a kid turned up sensitive to Peanuts at a very early age back when I was young. The wisdom of moms of all ages – and their moms – prevailed, and young mothers routinely started giving their sensitive kids small amounts of Peanuts and Peanut products regularly. Not enough to hurt them, but enough to ensure that kids got used to consuming them. Gradual increases in the amounts of Peanuts given to the kids increased their resistance to the food’s otherwise toxic effects until the kids who were originally sensitive to Peanuts overcame their allergic tendencies.
They called that desensitization therapy, and it worked well for most patients – except those most sensitive, of course. Well, doctors became more and more concerned about Peanut allergies as the years went by. And, by the 2000s, the number of kids reporting Peanut allergies Peanut sensitivities was ballooning. Some doctors, researchers and parents decided to start ramping up research on the condition in an effort to see what could be done… And, low and behold, they came up with a new set of coping and treatment guidelines based on de-sensitization therapy.
Vindication at last! Sort of…
When I first suggested the desensitization approach in this space, some folks (in the nicest language possible, of course) suggested I was just a crazy old fool spreading old wives tales, and not addressing what doctors and parents thought must be an upsurge in whatever was causing Peanut Allergies in the first place.
There was one problem in getting parents and doctors to embrace the new guidelines, though; the abiding fear that giving the kids any Peanut products at all would do them more harm than good.
Now, it appears, the good news is spreading and increasing numbers of parents are trying the new, updated 2016 desensitization therapy techniques with success, and word is spreading to other parents.
Confirmation of this shift in parental thinking has been found by researchers from the Murdoch Childrens’ Research Institute (MCRI) at the University of Melbourne in Australia. In an abstract of their report, published just last week, Study Corresponding Author Victoria Soriano said: “In the 1990s some guidelines recommended avoiding allergenic foods until age 1-3 years and avoidance of these foods in infancy became widespread. By 2008, this advice started to be removed based on increasing evidence that delaying allergenic foods was associated with an increased food allergy risk. However, evidence was still insufficient for specific recommendations for what age these foods should be introduced.”
What they did
The data-mining study conducted by the MCRI team analysed numbers from the 1,933 infants enrolled in the EarlyNuts study in 2018-2019 with 5,276 infants recruited in the HealthNuts study from 2007-2011. The results were clear.
What they found
The MCRI team was surprised to find that, “peanut allergy prevalence in 2018-2019 was 2.6 per cent compared to 3.1 per cent in 2007-2011, which amounted to a 16 per cent decrease after accounting for migration and population changes.”
Between the years 2009 and 2019, Peanut consumption by the age of 12 months increased from 28 per cent to 89 per cent. which may have halted the rise in peanut allergy.
MCRI’s Dr, Jennifer Koplin said that, despite the decrease in Peanut allergy, the prevalence in the overall population continued to be high. Australia has the highest reported rates of childhood food allergy in the world, with about one in 10 infants and one in 20 children up to five years of age being allergic.
“The safety of early peanut introduction at home is of significant interest to parents as well as health professionals around the world,” Dr, Koplin said. “More research must be done to look closer at these trends to help us understand how well early introduction to peanut works to prevent peanut allergies in real-life situations.”
I’ll be interested to see if the great results from desensitization therapy revealed in the MCRI study on Peanut Allergies can be duplicated in further studies of kids who suffer from childhood allergies to Milk and Dairy products and who are sensitive to Eggs. Now, that would be positively huge!
~ Maggie J.