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Allergic Kids Find New Hope

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology conference wrapped up its annual meeting in Washington yesterday.

For parents of children with allergies, there's good news and good news.

While many kids truly are allergic to foods, the numbers diagnosed may be overly high. "Researchers at National Jewish Health in Denver conducted 'food challenge' tests on 125 children with allergies and eczema and found that more than 50 percent of the kids could tolerate foods they had been told to avoid," reports NPR. To be certain that a child has an allergy to a food, researchers recommend a combination of three tests: a blood test, a skin test and a food challenge.

For those who fall into the allergic half of children, doctors at Duke University Medical Center and Arkansas Children's Hospital may have made a breakthrough in treating children with life-threatening food allergies, according to The Associated Press. These doctors have been running a pilot program of oral immunotherapy, in which children allergic to peanuts are given "minuscule but but slowly increasing doses of a specially prepared peanut flour." After 2 1/2 years in the study, a handful of children were able to stop treatment for a month and still have no reaction to eating peanuts. While doctors aren't ready to declare the children allergen-free just yet, that is a distinct possibility.

Five-year-old Hanna Carter was one of the children who took part in the study. "Our goal when we started was to send her to kindergarten and not worry about the child sitting next to her at the cafeteria table who might share a cookie or a cracker or a sandwich that had peanuts or peanut butter in it," mom Kimberly Carter told her local ABC news station. It looks like Carter has gotten her wish, as Hanna can now eat peanuts without a problem.

What do you think of these studies?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  March 18, 2009; 9:00 AM ET  | Category:  Health
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It doesn't surprise me that kids are over diagnosed with a host of illnesses. I think it is promising that the truly allergic maybe cured. It would certainly make their lives easier.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 18, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

I still think Rome was correct about the washing machine thing.

Posted by: anonthistime | March 18, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

The 50% stat does not surprise me at all. Ask any group of elementary school kids who has allergies and most of them will raise their hands. It is almost a bragging right, which detracts from the health concerns of those kids with true allergies.

Posted by: cheekymonkey | March 18, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Allergies come and go. Unlike my boy scout friends,I could walk through a field of poison ivy wearing only shorts; no problem. Nowadays, I can have an allergic reaction from it just by petting a dog that's been out in the woods.

When my daughter was 2 years old, she could eat oranges; no problem. But after she got an ear infection and took some orange flavored penicillin, she broke out in hives, so we naturally thought she was allergic to penicillin. A month later she ate an orange, and broke out in hives again. Hmmm. today, she has no allergies to oranges. Penicillin. We don't know for sure, but then again, we haven't taken the risk to find out.

I find it very refreshing to know that the health/medical community continuously tests the conclusions made by earlier studies. As a group of professionals, I don't trust the mainstream medical advice as the profession is driven by a business model as well as a concern for people's health. Go to any allergist, he *WILL* find something you are allergic to, and of course, will happily take your money too.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | March 18, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Whacky, I have to disagree that an allergist will find something you are allergic to. My oldest DD suffered from severe eczema and sinus infections for 3 straight years. Her pediatrician kept blaming allergies even though the allergist said she was without a doubt allergic to nothing. Several ENTs found nothing and eventually we went back to the allergist. He is the doctor who finally solved and treated her issue which turned out to be an immune deficiency and she is still allergic to nothing. She also hasn't been sick since.

I think that allergies are over diagnosed, but that this study could be a breakthrough for those who truly are allergic.

Posted by: thosewilsongirls | March 18, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Guess what cheeky, I agree with you today.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | March 18, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Miracles happen Moxie!

Posted by: cheekymonkey | March 18, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Moxie, Cheeky, get a room! Please!

Posted by: nonamehere | March 18, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

As the mother of a child with a life threatning allergy to peanuts and tree nuts, this is really great news. I hope they are able to move it out of the laborotory and into a real treatment within a reasonable amount of time.

Posted by: rcqrcq | March 18, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

This is not surprising in the least. Nowhere in the world are people 1/2 as crazy as we are regarding food and allergies, and nowhere else in the world are there as many kids with allergies.
I'm not saying allergies don't exist (definitely not!) - but that sometimes with our craziness we are creating intolerances (and not necessarily allergies).
Thank goodness my kids don't have any allergies that I know about (I personally am highly allergic to cats, wasn't as a kid - but am as an adult).
But this is great news for kids with allergies/intolerances...

Posted by: atlmom1234 | March 18, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Yo, Steve, dude, if you're going to insist on spamming us all, at least have the decency to delete all of the untranslated line break symbols from the ever-so-helpful e-mail you copied. You from Nigeria by any chance?

Posted by: laura33 | March 18, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

lol Laura - well played!

Posted by: moxiemom1 | March 18, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

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