Monday, November 10, 2008

Science!!!


I opined a while back that parents do way too much worrying and go way overboard in keeping certain foods away from their children, lest they get allergies. It was my contention that the restrictions on a wee one's diet are actually more likely to doom them to food allergies. And now, there's research to back up my belief. A new study reported on by the AP contradicts the widespread assumption that consumption of peanuts or peanut-containing products in infancy creates a risk of peanut allergies. "Our study findings raise the question of whether early introduction rather than avoidance of peanuts in infancy is the better strategy for the prevention of peanut allergy," said researchers in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. The study compared the prevalence of peanut allergy and diet histories of 5,171 Jewish children from the United Kingdom and 5,615 Jewish children from Israel. The major finding: The U.K. children had a 10-fold higher incidence of peanut allergy than those from Israel. The researchers said the most obvious difference in the diets of infants in the two groups was the introduction of peanuts. Nearly 90 percent of infants in Israel get peanuts in some form by 9 months of age, compared to just 10 percent in the U.K. Also, the Israeli mothers consumed a much higher level of peanuts during pregnancy. The researchers conclude that recommendations to avoid peanuts in early infancy could be behind the increase in peanut allergies in the U.K., Australia and the United States. An official with a panel on food allergies from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology says more studies are needed. But in the meantime, my advice to parents: Go nuts.

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4 Comments:

Blogger PRIguy said...

Peanut butter should be a mainstay in every kitchen pantry. It was in my parents' kitchen and it is in mine. Aside from tasting delicious and being entertaining to watch a dog's reaction to a dab placed on top of his nose, it cures hiccups as well.

November 10, 2008 at 2:14 PM  
Blogger smithsan said...

Food allergies are more often suspected than proven. This can clearly impair the patient's quality of life, as he or she has to avoid specific foods or has to be nervous all the time.
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smithsan
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November 11, 2008 at 4:09 AM  
Blogger Roger said...

My question with regard to food allergies has been: Why didn't I ever know about food allergies many years ago, when I was young? Nobody I knew had food allergies. Only rarely did I know of anybody with asthma, or other similar ailments.

About a week ago, I saw a TV clip of somebody in the medical field who specializes in allergies. This question was put to him: Why didn't we know about people with food allergies a few decades ago? The question was in the context of peanut allergies.

His answer was pretty simple. In times past, children grew up in a more hostile environment. Kids really played outside, even in the dirt! Eating habits were not as clean either. His contention is that in the past couple of decades, so much emphasis has been given to "keeping the kids clean." In other words, the children of today live in a much more sterile environment. Their bodies never learn to fight off foreign intruders. They become much more susceptible to harmful toxins and other things that might cause allergies.

I think back of the things I did as a child and teenager, the things I ate, how I ate them, etc. Wow! Most parents would croak if they knew their child did these things. And, some local official would haul them away, charged with child endangerment.

I don't know if the guest commentator is right. But, his premise sure is logical. Perhaps we have become our own worst enemy in our attempts to protect children.

November 12, 2008 at 7:21 PM  
Blogger Richard Dirt said...

It's weird that you posted about this, I was thinking about this the other day.

I have a cat allergy. I got allergy shots for a while. You know what they shoot you with? Cat spit, essentially....

So I have this allergy, I couldn't be around any of my friends that had cats. Then I got a kitten. I was miserable for about a month, and now I can basically let Bess's cats sit on my face without even a sneeze. I say, toughen the fark up, kids!

November 23, 2008 at 4:52 AM  

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