Monday, March 16, 2009

Is There a New Cure for Peanut Allergy?

A report of a very small study by Dr. Wesley Burks at Duke University stated yesterday that the children were cured of their peanut allergy. This story is really making the headlines, and as happy as I am, if proven to be true long-term, I would add several strong cautions to this.

First some baseline data: peanut allergy is the most common cause of severe or life-threatening or fatal allergic reactions to foods. About 200 people per year in the U.S. died from allergic reactions to a food. There are about 30,000 visits to the emergency room for allergic reactions to a food. In the U.S., about 1.8 million people are affected by life-threatening allergic reactions to foods.

The study above involved five children, who were very closely monitored in the hospital. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!!! This study was several years in length. They are now able to eat regular amounts of peanut without any reactions. No evidence for peanut allergy has been found. These are very hopeful signs. Dr. Burks correctly stated that we do not know how long this status will last, what is necessary to maintain this status, what medications are being given, nor what other conditions that children have or are being treated for. So in the prelminary report, there is a lot of important data missing.

This study will be repeated with a larger group and perhaps with a placebo-control group added.

If you have questions about peanut allergy, ask your doctor...

No comments:

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. We comply with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.
My Zimbio Medicine Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory