A recent study by British scientists found that infants as young as four months old were 86% less likely to develop peanut allergies when fed peanut-based snacks. Allergy rates for children who were already sensitive to peanuts also fell from 35% to 11%. It is believed that "at-risk" children could potentially benefit from this new diet by gradually exposing them to peanuts in order to build a tolerance. It is not yet known if this tactic will work for other food allergies, but parents are warned not to try this at home.
Allergy rates in the US have quadrupled since 2008, with factors such as cleaner homes, processed food and changing gut bacteria possibly effecting the body's allergic response to normally harmless antigens. Despite the study's promising results, scientists still need to establish safety measures about when to start/stop the process, especially for children at higher risk. Nonetheless, doctors may soon have a method to prevent a growing epidemic of food allergies in the future.