Kids who are allergic to foods can overcome their reactions through therapy that involves giving them increasing doses of the specific foods, according to a new study from Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and other hospitals.
The research adds to what doctors already know about food allergies.
In this case, they used eggs for the treatment, known as oral immunotherapy. Past research involved milk and peanuts.
For now, the research is still considered experimental and isn’t recommended outside of a study. But the researchers say it’s promising for the four percent of American kids with food allergies. Egg allergies are among the most common, and for some kids the reactions last their whole lives.
In this egg study, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and published in the July 19 New England Journal of Medicine, conditions of 35 of 40 children improved. Five dropped out; four had reactions. And 11 seemed to have no reactions in the long-term, the most sough-after benefit. .
“More than a quarter of the children in our study lost their egg allergies altogether, but we also saw dramatic improvements in those who didn't, which in and of itself is an important therapeutic achievement,” Dr. Robert Wood, director of allergy and immunology at Johns Hopkins Children's Center, said in a statement. “These children went from having serious allergic reactions after a single bite of an egg-containing cookie to consuming eggs with minimal or no symptoms.”
Other institutions participating in research included Duke University, the University of Arkansas, National Jewish Health and Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.