Milk allergy? Drink more milk

October 31st, 2008 - 4:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Oct 31 (IANS) Increasingly higher doses of milk may ease and possibly help children allergic to milk overcome the condition, a new study has found. The findings are based on a study of 19 patients, conducted by Johns Hopkins Children’s Centre and Duke University.

Illuminating and encouraging, investigators say, because this is the first-ever double-blinded and placebo-controlled study of milk immunotherapy.

Researchers compared a group of children receiving milk powder with a group of children receiving a placebo. Neither the patients nor the investigators knew which child received which powder, a rigorous research setup that minimizes the chance for error and bias.

“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 Robert Wood, the study’s senior investigator 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 said.

Currently, food allergy management involves complete avoidance of the trigger foods, waiting for the child to outgrow the allergy or treating allergic reactions if and when they occur, according to a Johns Hopkin’s press release.

The latter could be dangerous, investigators said, because these common foods are difficult to avoid and some reactions can be severe and even life-threatening.

In a report released in late October, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that food allergies affect three million children in the US, an 18 percent jump from 10 years ago.

These findings were reported online in the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology.

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