The HealthNuts team at Melbourne’s Murdoch Children’s Research Institute has published a world-first prospective study on the natural history of peanut allergy in early childhood.
One hundred one-year-old infants with challenge-confirmed peanut allergy were followed up at 4 years of age with repeat oral food challenges, skin-prick tests and blood tests.
Results showed that almost one quarter of the children who had been diagnosed with a peanut allergy at 12 months of age had developed a tolerance by the time they were four.
Skin prick testing and blood tests have long been used when diagnosing and monitoring the course of peanut allergy through a child’s life. However, this study represents the first time the specific level of response to these tests has been linked to whether peanut allergy will resolve or continue as the child grows up. Those infants with higher levels of the antibodies and larger wheal size in response to a skin prick test were less likely to develop a tolerance by the age of four, while those with lower antibody levels and smaller wheal size were more likely to have outgrown their peanut allergy by the age of four.
Many other factors, such as: Ara h 2, tree nut, and house dust mite sensitization; coexisting food allergies; eczema; and asthma, were also investigated and found not be predictive of persistent peanut allergy.
Reference: Peters et al. 2015. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2015.01.002