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Daily Peanut Doses Could Save Lives, Study Shows

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A recent study of peanut allergies has produced some stunning results. Children and adults suffering from serious peanut allergies were given a dose of peanut flour every day in an effort to build up their resistance to the allergy. The finding: over time, this method allowed people with severe peanut allergies to consume several peanuts without catastrophic results.

The study was carried out by the Wellcome Trust research facility based at Addenbrooke hospital in Cambridge, England. The first stage of the clinical trial involved just under one hundred children aged seven to sixteen, all of whom had tested positive for peanut hypersensitivity. The children were split into two groups, with one group receiving regular doses of peanut protein, the other receiving no peanut compounds at all.

In the end, researchers found that 62 per cent of those children who received small amounts of peanut protein on a daily basis could eventually handle 1,400 milligrams of peanut protein each day. That’s the equivalent of about ten whole peanuts. Virtually all of the children in this group could stomach 800 milligrams of peanut protein each day (about 6-7 peanuts).

Dr. Pamela Ewan, a University of Cambridge medical researcher, says the study’s findings represent “an important advance in peanut allergy research.” However, Ewan acknowledges that “further studies in wider populations are needed.”

Ewan adds that parents shouldn’t see the study as a green light to start building up their own child’s resistance to a peanut allergy.

“It is important to note that oral immunotherapy is not a treatment people should try on their own and should only be done by medical professionals in specialist settings,” Ewan said.

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