Milk may help ease milk allergies

October 31st, 2008 - 1:38 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Oct 31 (ANI): Kids allergic to milk often avoid the healthy drink, however, a new study has shown that intake of large quantities of the drink itself can help overcome the ”itchy” suffering.
The study led by the Johns Hopkins researchers suggests that higher doses of milk over time may help ease allergic reactions in kids.
However, they say, further studies are required for better insights.
“Our findings suggest that oral immunotherapy gradually retrains the immune system to completely disregard or to better tolerate the allergens in milk that previously caused allergic reactions,” said Dr Robert Wood, senior investigator on the study and director of Allergy & Immunology at Hopkins Children’’s.
“Albeit preliminary and requiring further study, these results suggest that oral immunotherapy may be the closest thing yet to a ”true” treatment for food allergy,” he added.
During the study, the researchers compared a group of children receiving milk powder to a group of children receiving placebo identical in appearance and taste to real milk powder.
They followed allergic reactions over four months among 19 children with severe and persistent milk allergy from 6 to 17 years of age.
Of the 19 patients, 12 received progressively higher doses of milk protein, and seven received placebo.
At the beginning of the study, the children were able to tolerate on average only a quarter of a teaspoon of milk.
However, at the end of the four-month study, both groups were given milk powder as a “challenge” to see what dose would cause reaction after the treatment.
The study found that children who had been receiving increasingly higher doses of milk protein over a few months were able to tolerate a median dose of 5 of milk without having any allergic reaction or with mild symptoms, such as mouth itching and minor abdominal discomfort.
But those who had been getting the placebo remained unable to tolerate doses higher than the 40 mg of milk powder without having an allergic reaction.
The team found that children who regularly drank or ate milk had more antibodies to milk in their blood, yet were able to better tolerate milk than those who took the placebo.
Tolerance in children treated with milk continued to build over time, and recommend that these children continue to consume milk daily to maintain their resistance.
“It may very well be that this tolerance is lost once the immune system is no longer exposed to the allergen daily,” said Wood.
The findings are reported in the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology. (ANI)

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