Experts are delving further into the impact of early introduction strategies on childhood food allergies, with several initiatives currently underway to bring better understanding of prevention strategies and more widespread adoption of the latest clinical recommendations.
The TrEAT Trial at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital aims to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of specific early introduction methods for tree nuts, such as almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, and walnuts. The study will include over 200 infants aged 4-11 months with peanut allergy, who will be randomly assigned to receive either a hospital-based multi-tree nut oral food challenge or standard care (home introduction of individual tree nuts). At 18 months of age, the infants will be assessed for tree nut allergy and other outcomes, including peanut allergy resolution, adverse events related to tree nut ingestion, frequency and quantity of tree nuts consumed, parental anxiety and quality of life, and allergy-related healthcare visits.
Recent research has highlighted that caregivers who introduce peanut and egg to their infant’s diet early on also introduce an average of 5.4 other food allergens by the time their child reaches 7 months of age. This suggests that parents who are proactive in introducing peanut and egg are more likely to introduce other common food allergens as well. More work is currently underway to help health professionals provide greater support to parents in this area. This is described in a recent article on Healio.com.
To better support parents in introducing allergens to their babies’ diets, an Australian start-up called ‘Taste Bubs’ has launched an allergen starter pack. The pack includes a four-week cycle program designed to introduce seven of the most common food allergens. Each pack contains 28 powdered allergen sachets that can be easily mixed into age-appropriate baby food and is aimed at helping parents confidently and safely introduce trigger foods to their infants.
Reference for the TrEAT Trial: McWilliam V.L. et al. (2023). TreEAT trial: Protocol for a randomized controlled trial investigating the efficacy and safety of early introduction of tree nuts for the prevention of tree nut allergy in infants with peanut allergy. Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, Vol. 34 (3) e13930 1-10.DOI: 10.1111/pai.13930