Groundbreaking research with oral immunotherapy has a 100 percent success rate in treating children’s food allergies!

Lynn Griffith
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Many adults and parents of school aged children understand the impact that allergies have on their children.  Parents whose children suffer from food allergies, live in constant fear that their child may become exposed.  Parents of children without allergies are concerned that the classroom treats they provide may impact another child’s health.

Groundbreaking research from Stanford University shows promising result in treating food allergies

“This is becoming an epidemic that we need to be aware of, we need to get educated about,” says Dr. Kari Nadeau, who is the director of the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy Research at Stanford University.  “The data shows that it’s very high in our population, probably about 17 to 18 million people in the U.S., and in other countries it’s about 18 million people.” (1)

The Stanford University website reports that 90 percent of food allergies are caused by cow’s milk, soy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, fish and eggs.  One in three Americans suffer from food allergies. (2)   Currently, food allergies are doubling every 10 years, yet the question remains whether genetics or environment are triggering this rise.  (1)

Nadeau and her team are examining the diets that cause allergies, and across the United States they are completing oral immunotherapy.  Children are being give small doses of the foods they are allergic to, and increasing these dosages with hopes to build up the patient’s immunity. (1)

Nadeau’s research is in the early stages, but is showing enough promise that companies are now working to develop a way to deliver allergen doses in capsules and patches.  The FDA is exploring oral immunotherapy to be an effective method of treating and curing allergies. (1)

Oral immunotherapy program showing a 100 percent success rate for patients who complete the program

Nadeau has several testimonials of how oral immunotherapy has changed the lives of her patients.  Nine year old Maya was allergic to nuts, 8 year old Tessa almost died when eating a spring roll made of wheat noodles, and toddler Kieran ate a cookie that contained both egg and nuts which sent him to the hospital.  (2)

These children and their families were patients of Nadeau and have experienced the benefits of oral immunotherapy.  The children were given microdoses, the size of a grain of cinnamon, of the foods they were allergic to daily.  Their families would monitor the children for the 2 hours following these doses.  If the children experienced hives, swelling and vomiting, they would remain on this dose for several days until their bodies adjusted, and then they returned to the hospital for an updose.  Following completion of treatment, the children would eat the foods they were allergic too normally and work to assure that the continual exposure to this food prevents future food allergies. (2)

For some of these children, the reactions that they have had with these foods have created a trauma response where eating the food remains difficult.  Though they experience no allergic reactions, they continue to have sensations and memories of these reactions.  Pairing oral immunotherapy with counseling may help children be able to work through traumatic memories and experiences that are associated with specific food items. (2)

“For everyone who has stayed in the study, the treatment has been 100 percent successful,” says Nadeau. “It turns out that everyone’s immune system is capable of adapting — and surprisingly, it is as true of adults as children.” (2)

Sources for this article include:
(1) www.pbs.org
(2) med.stanford.edu
(3) stanmed.stanford.edu

Image source: flic.kr

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