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Research finds allergic children exposed to peanuts at younger ages despite recommendations to avoid
Date:12/4/2007

The age at which children are exposed to peanuts and have an allergic response has dropped significantly over the last decade, despite recommendations that at-risk families avoid exposing children to peanuts during the first three years of life, according to research led by a Childrens Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC allergist/immunologist.

In a study of peanut-allergic patients between 2000 and 2006, the median age of first peanut exposure and reaction were 14 and 18 months, respectively. In a similar population of patients studied from 1995 to 1997, researchers found that the median age of first exposure and reaction were 22 and 24 months, respectively.

Results of the study are published in the December issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

The results of our study may suggest that AAP guidelines endorsing the delayed introduction of peanuts until age 3 for children with a strong family history of allergies are not being followed widely in the United States, said Todd Green, MD, first author of the study and an allergist/immunologist at Childrens. At the same time, the prevalence of peanut allergy among children has reportedly doubled nationwide over the last decade. This could be due both to a higher rate of peanut allergy and to more public awareness and recognition on the part of the medical community.

According to Dr. Green, further research is ongoing to determine whether early or delayed introduction of peanuts actually promotes tolerance or prevents peanut allergy. Dr. Green conducted this peanut allergy research at an allergy/immunology clinic while in training at Duke University Medical Center, comparing data from 20002006 with data reported from the Johns Hopkins University pediatric allergy clinic from 19951997.

The researchers found that 82 percent had a first-degree relative with food allergy; 67 percent were allergic to other foods; 66 percent of the peanut-aller
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Contact: Marc Lukasiak
marc.lukasiak@chp.edu
412-692-7919
Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
Source:Eurekalert

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