Thursday, December 15, 2016 05:00 AM


Allergic reactions to peanuts cause around 500 hospitalizations and even some deaths in the United States each year. Food that contains trace amounts, because it was produced with factory equipment or kitchen tools that came into contact with peanuts, can prove fatal for allergic individuals who consume it unsuspectingly. Accidentally ingesting as little as a third of a single peanut about 70 milligrams can send someone to the emergency room, and some people may react to only 1 milligram, says Burks, who is now a leading allergy researcher.

For a long time, the only way to address peanut allergies involved creating peanut-free spaces in schools and on planes, changing individual behaviors or ensuring the availability of emergency medical treatments like the controversially high-priced EpiPen. Doctors have tried feeding patients minuscule amounts of peanuts to gradually retrain their immune systems to become tolerant of the food, but the treatment doesnt always work. Now a growing number of researchers from separate fields are converging on an entirely different approach. Rather than changing people, they say, we should change the peanut.

Twice a month, inside a nearly windowless former school-cafeteria kitchen ...

News source: The New York Times

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