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Gradual treatment of peanut allergies shows promise

Little by little, some children can overcome the allergy by eating more and more peanuts, but don’t try this at home

WASHINGTON — Very gradual introduction of peanuts into the diet — starting with less than 1/1,000th of a peanut a day — may prevent allergic reactions to peanuts in some children, a new study finds. But the bit-by-bit strategy takes time and may not work in everyone, researchers report March 15 at a meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Even so, in the longest study of its kind to date, the strategy of adding slightly more and more peanuts to a child’s diet each day has enabled five children once allergic to peanuts to eat peanuts and peanut butter at will, says study coauthor Wesley Burks, a pediatric allergist and immunologist at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.

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