The early introduction of peanuts significantly decreases frequency of the development of peanut allergy among children at high risk for this allergy.
The prevalence of peanut allergy among children in Western countries has doubled in the past 10 years, and peanut allergy is now also becoming apparent in Africa and Asia.
With this in mind, a new study by George Du Toit et al has evaluated peanut consumption and avoidance strategies to determine which strategy is most effective in preventing the development of peanut allergy in infants at high risk for the allergy.
For the study, 640 infants with severe eczema, egg allergy, or both were randomly assigned to consume or avoid peanuts until 60 months of age.
The group was split into two, one containing those infants with initially negative peanut allergy results and the other containing those with initially positive results based on a prick test. At 60 months of age, the prevalence of peanut allergy was 13.7% and 35.3% respectively in the avoidance group and 1.9% and 10.6% respectively in the consumption group.
These results suggest that the early introduction of peanuts significantly decreases the frequency of the development of peanut allergy among children at high risk for this allergy and modulated immune responses to peanuts.