Research Alters Allergy Approach

A new study reveals more about infants and peanut allergies

By Malia Jacobson

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May 17, 2016

This article originally appeared in the June 2016 issue of Seattle Magazine.

The rate of developing peanut allergy in Western nations has doubled in the past decade, but Seattle-funded research holds clues to prevention.

A new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, designed and funded in Seattle by Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason and the Immune Tolerance Network, indicates that feeding peanuts to infants at risk of developing an allergy to peanuts can help prevent allergy development, even after those infants stop eating peanuts. This study is an extension of last year’s landmark LEAP (Learning Early About Peanut Allergy) study, which showed that early consumption of peanuts by infants with existing food sensitivities reduced the rate of developing peanut allergy by 80 percent.

The follow-up study, called LEAP-ON, shows that infants don’t need to keep eating peanuts to be protected; results persisted even after a year without peanuts. The research is altering the way physicians approach this life-threatening allergy. Bring on the PB&J.

 

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