The problem with food allergies and children is that there are no reliable methods of testing for allergies. As you may have heard, there is a blood test they can do to look for the presence of the immunoglobulin E antibody, which will indicate an allergy or food intolerance. However, many people have tested positive for an antibody, even though they have no reactions to food whatsoever. Then there is the “skin prick test,” where doctors place a little bit of the allergen beneath the skin and wait to see if there is any reaction. Of course, this method is not 100% proven either and it cannot determine whether the reaction will be mild or severe. Some doctors believe the most accurate way to test for food allergies in children is to give them small doses of the food in a clinical setting and observe their reaction. In this article, you’ll hear about the latest research on food allergies in children.
Food allergies and children have been making headlines recently. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported that food allergies are on the rise, with around 3 million children suffering with a shellfish, milk, egg, wheat or peanut allergy. This is an 18% increase since 1997, the center reports. As a parent you may feel alarmed and wonder what you can do to prevent this fate from befalling your precious baby. While there is little evidence, aside from old wives’ tales that allergies can be prevented, researchers are finding better ways to identify allergens and possibly treat them. In this article, you will read about the latest kids food allergy research.
“Children Can Complete Treatment For Peanut Allergies And Achieve Long-Term Tolerance, Studies Suggest,” reads a Science Daily headline. Duke University Medical Center doctors have been studying food allergies in children for a long time. At the beginning of the monitored clinical tests, participants with this type of nut allergy couldn’t even tolerate one sixth of a peanut, yet within six months they were eating 13 to 15 peanuts before a reaction occurred. Nine of the thirty-three children in the study have been on maintenance therapy for over 2.5 years; of these children, 4 can now eat peanuts freely. “It appears these children have lost their allergies,” explains Wesley Burks, MD. “This gives other parents and children hope that we’ll soon have a safe, effective treatment that will halt allergies to certain foods.”
“Possible Link Between Obesity and Childhood Allergies,” finds a study funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. This study looked at the link between food allergies and children who were obese (in the 95th percentile of the normal body mass index for their age/height). Researchers found that the rate of having a food allergy was 59% higher for obese children. The NIEHS report added that it’s especially important to combat epidemics like obesity and food allergies in children, which have been on the rise over the past few decades.
For some, with regard to food allergies and children, the problem will clear up as science improves. Long-term studies are testing whether tolerance can be built up to eradicate these food allergies. For lifelong sufferers, food scientists are creating delicious versions of these foods, minus the molecules that cause a food allergy reaction. Also, blood tests are being developed that are hoped to more accurately classify an allergy, rather than just an antibody.