Scientists discover a way to drastically reduce the risk of children becoming allergic to peanuts

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Parents should introduce their children to peanut products from the age of four months to prevent allergies, experts say.

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The number of people allergic to peanuts has tripled in the last few decades, and in severe cases the consequences can be fatal.

About one in 50 children are affected today, leading to lifelong concerns about the ingredients in their food.

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However, British researchers have discovered a “window of opportunity” between four and six months, which they say is the best time to introduce babies to peanuts.

And it can reduce the incidence of peanut allergies by up to 77 percent, they said.

Experts found that introducing peanut products to babies aged four and six months reduced the incidence of peanut allergies later in life by 77 percent (stock photo)

The team, from King’s College London and the University of Southampton, said most peanut allergies have already developed by the time a child turns one year old.

They examined data from the investigation into tolerance (EAT) and Learning Early About Peanut Allergy (LEAP) studies.

The Leap study enrolled 640 infants at high risk of developing peanut allergy and examined the early introduction of peanut products.

More than 1,300 three-month-old babies were recruited to the Eat project in England and Wales. They were followed for several years to study the early introduction of six allergenic foods: milk, peanuts, sesame, fish, eggs and wheat.

An analysis published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that it is best to introduce peanut products to babies aged four to six months.


Anaphylaxis, also called anaphylactic shock, can be fatal within minutes.

This is a serious and potentially life-threatening reaction to a trigger, such as B. an allergy.

The reaction can often be triggered by certain foods, including peanuts and shellfish.

However, some medications, bee stings and even latex used in condoms can also cause the life-threatening reaction.

According to the NHS, this occurs when the immune system overreacts to a trigger.

Symptoms include: feeling light-headed or fainting; Breathing problems – such as rapid, shallow breathing; whistling rapid heartbeat; moist skin; Confusion and fear and collapse or unconsciousness.

This is considered a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment.

Insect bites are not dangerous for most victims, but a person does not necessarily have to have a pre-existing medical condition to be at risk.

An increasing frequency of stings can cause a person to develop an allergy, with a subsequent sting causing the anaphylactic reaction.

It can reduce the incidence of peanut allergies by 77 percent, compared to just 33 percent if peanuts are introduced when the child is one year old.

Babies at higher risk of developing an allergy — for example, if they already have eczema — should be started closer to four months, she added.

The NHS currently says nuts and peanuts can be introduced from around six months of age, as long as they are crushed, ground or a smooth nut or peanut butter.

Based on their findings, the scientists are urging the government to review the latest evidence.

Lead author Professor Graham Roberts said: “Current guidelines suggest that peanuts should be introduced from around six months of age.

The last government report on the introduction of foods in baby diets was published in 2018. Since then, a number of studies have been published suggesting that introducing peanuts and other foods earlier can help prevent allergies.

“We believe the government should review current guidelines on the introduction of peanuts in baby diets. In our opinion, peanuts should be introduced earlier when babies are developing to be ready for solid food.’

He explained that a peanut allergy occurs when the body perceives peanuts as something dangerous and reacts to them.

“The reaction can affect your whole body – your lips can swell, you can get an itchy rash and you can have trouble breathing,” he said.

“A baby’s immune system must learn to distinguish between food and dangerous insects that must be kept out of the body.

“The body does this by the way it sees things. If he sees peanuts in reasonable quantities in his gut, he will consider them a safe food and not develop an allergy.”

Pediatric nutritionist Mary Feeney, from King’s College London, said her findings suggest that giving babies a large teaspoon of peanut butter three times a week is the recommended amount to reduce the chances of them becoming allergic to it.

She warned never to give whole or chopped nuts to babies or young children as they could choke.

And babies need to be developmentally ready to start solid foods when peanut products are introduced, she added.

Professor Gideon Lack from King’s College London and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust said: “The benefits of introducing peanut products into babies’ diets diminish as they get older.

“This reflects the experience in Israel, a culture where peanut products are typically introduced early in children’s diets and peanut allergies are rare.

“There is a small chance of preventing the development of an allergy.

“Introducing peanut products at four to six months of age can significantly reduce the number of children who develop peanut allergy.”

Nine-year-old girl first to benefit from life-changing treatment for peanut allergy

Emily Pratt, nine, was one of the first children in Europe to receive Palforzia, an immunotherapy pill that helps reduce the severity of symptoms including anaphylaxis after a reaction to peanuts

Emily Pratt, nine, was one of the first children in Europe to receive Palforzia, an immunotherapy pill that helps reduce the severity of symptoms including anaphylaxis after a reaction to peanuts

Children with peanut allergies across the country will be the first in Europe to receive life-changing treatment.

NHS England has signed a deal for Palforzia, an immunotherapy pill that helps reduce the severity of symptoms, including anaphylaxis, following a reaction to peanuts.

Evelina London Children’s Hospital participated in two large peanut allergy studies: the Palisade study and the Artemis study.

Sophie Pratt said her family’s life changed after her nine-year-old daughter, Emily, attended the Palisade hearing.

She said: “Participating in the clinical study changed the lives of our whole family. The treatment we received freed Emily from restrictions and the fear that the slightest mistake could endanger her life, and it took away all the stress and anxiety that threatens us every day through the simple act of eating.

“This was particularly noticeable on special occasions such as birthdays, Christmas and holidays, where there are often specialties such as cakes, ice cream and sweets, all of which always come with warnings ‘may contain peanuts’ or non-English menus.”

Since the trial, Emily has been able to confidently go to parties and play dates, eat at restaurants without us having to call ahead to check the menu, and we’ve managed to take her first holiday abroad to New York, and even attend animal feeding. at zoo experiences – this is Emily’s passion.

“We couldn’t be more grateful.”

The Artemis study found that around six in ten four to 17-year-olds who responded to around 10g of peanut protein at the start of the study were eventually able to take a dose of 1000mg, which is well above the recommended dose. . level of accidental exposure.

Up to 600 children aged four to 17 are expected to be treated this year, with those in England becoming the first in Europe, under a deal struck by the NHS. After that, approximately 2,000 are treated each year.

Peanut allergy currently affects one in 50 children in the UK.

NHS Medical Director Professor Stephen Powis said: “This breakthrough treatment could change the lives of patients and their families and thanks to the NHS deal, people here will be the first in Europe to benefit.

“This will reduce fear and anxiety for patients and their families who may be living with this allergy for years, and in the event that they carry emergency medication.

“They should be able to enjoy meals together or vacations abroad without worrying about an allergic reaction that could land them in the hospital or worse.”

Professor George du Toit, Pediatric Allergy Consultant at Evelina London, was the principal investigator in the UK for both studies.

He said: “This is good news for children and young people with peanut allergies. The approval of Palforzia represents an important step towards better care for people with allergies, and we will now have access to the first approved drug to reduce the severity of this allergy and protect against accidental contact with peanuts.

“This will have a tremendous impact on the daily lives of our patients and their families.”

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