The results of a study recently published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology indicate sensitivity to peanuts in allergic children and young adults rises with age. This may explain why adolescents suffer severe allergic reactions to peanuts more frequently than do younger children.
Researchers at the University Medical Center Groningen, the Netherlands reviewed data from 126 positive reactions to double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenges to peanuts conducted with children during the years 2001 to 2009. They tracked the exact dose required to elicit an allergic response as measured by IgE levels in the blood as a determinant of sensitivity. Though the study associates increasing age with greater peanut sensitivity, no significant associations were found for sex, the presence of asthma, or the severity of food reactions by history.
[Editor’s Note: Parents should not despair – there are a number of promising peanut vaccine and desensitization therapies in the works that will hopefully bear fruit in the coming years.]