Healthy Evidence

Potential Treatment for Peanut Allergy - BBC Article

Interesting article on the BBC this morning about research done at Addenbrooke Hospital attempting to desensitize those who suffer from peanut allergy.

They have been building up tolerance over a period of time till the point where the children (guinea piglets?) could eat up to 5 peanuts a day.

The full report is on the Lancet Site as a freebee (though you do have to register and login)

One interesting thing to note is that I cannot see anywhere where the point is made that Peanut allergy is not the same as Nut allergy (peanuts are beans, not nuts). It is a common confusion that they are the same thing, even amongst people who actually have an allergy to one or the other.

I had one friend who had a peanut allergy and accidentally ate some nuts in a pudding. Having suffered no reaction, he decided he had magically grown out of his peanut allergy and ate a peanut bar. He was okay, thankfully, but did end up in hospital with a heavily swollen face.

8 Replies

You raise some neat points...we're asking an allergy specialist to get involved in this chat.

We've been talking about the difference between allergies and food intolerances recently. I like this NHS resource:


Yep, like that tool - I might bung it in a post on my Food blog. (

It did raise an interesting issue of semantics, however.

The tool makes it very clear that there is a difference between being allergic to something and being intolerant. An example would be allergic to peanuts but intolerant of gluten, perhaps?

However, to desensitise someone in the above paper, you would teach the body so that it acquires tolerance over a period of time.

Quote from the Lancet: "84% (95% CI 70—93) of the active group tolerated daily ingestion of 800 mg protein"


And we wonder why people get confused!


we are running a full analysis later today on the Lancet study. Its an interesting piece of research but with a number of limitations - which are acknowledged by the authors (as an aside - that's what I love about science - people are happy to talk about what they don't know; unlike so called-alternative medics who always claim to be all-knowing).

Its unclear how long the tolerance will last and the population involved in the study was limited to a certain extent - children with chronic diseases such as asthma or a history of Anaphylaxis were excluded

So its unclear, as of yet, whether this type of oral immunology will work with people with more severe nut allergies


Do you mean, more severe PEAnut allergies?


yep, sorry


Dr Dillner in the Guardian today provides a neat summary of the latest peanut allergy research.


Thanks Chris - I like the way she opened with a question rather than a statement and then put a safety warning part way through - good "inside pages" piece.

How does the Grauniad rate when it comes to science reporting?

I notice with the huge arguments over floods they have made some attempt at talking to actual scientists about dredging and seem to have found them selves on the side of the environment agency. At least they are asking questions and not just jumping on populist bandwagons.


Most of us have experiences of allergic condition. It is mainly caused by the tissue inflammation due to effect of the foreign proteins or antigens (allergen).

Few times allergy may turn into an autoimmune disease and in case of this kind of situation our own body cells are destroyed by our own antibodies. So, if allergic symptoms are diagnosed, then we need to do some tests like,

Antinuclear antibody (ANA) tests, CRP test.

So if anyone wants to know further about the relation between allergy and autoimmune disease, then he/ she may go through


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