Thursday, February 06, 2014
There's been much discussion in recent years of the potential of using small amounts of allergens to help allergic kids develop tolerance and overcome allergies. Most recently, a study was published in The Lancet and featured in the news around the world.
These stories are very hopeful and I bet there is more good news on this front to come. However, as much as I would wish it to be the case, a handful of promising studies don't mean that my peanut allergic son will be giving up his auto-injector.
To the contrary, Daniel just concluded participation in a year long study. For a year, he wore a peanut protein patch on his back every day, removing one patch only to place another in a different spot. And for a a year, he wore a shirt all the time, even when swimming, because he got tired of explaining the loonie-sized welts on his back (this is how we knew he wasn't in the control group).
And when the trial drew to an end, he had the same anaphylactic reaction that he had when he'd first qualified for the trial (they gave him tiny amounts of peanut protein while he was hooked up to IV antihistamine). He actually reacted more quickly after a year of exposure. We have since learned that of the dozen or so kids that have finished the Canadian trial so far, half have improved, while the rest have not.
We saw the allergist a couple of days ago and he theorized that the most allergic subjects would be the least responsive to this kind of treatment. What's more, he was not surprised that Daniel is now allergic to chick peas, peas and probably other legumes. They are "cross-allergenic" with peanuts and this new allergy could well be related to the year of peanut exposure.
He's also added birch and elm (which may just be random, I don't know enough to say) to allergies to maple, all nuts, peanuts and cats.
The one bit of good news we got was that Daniel has outgrown his allergy to dogs. Since the notion of "hypo-allergenic" dogs was thoroughly dismissed by this same allergist a few years ago, we've felt a bit guilty about our dog's presence in the house and have tried to keep her out of his room. Now we don't have to.
Or, as Daniel says, "Now we can have five dogs."
That's my boy.
Update: Dreamfilm Productions told me in the comments that they have a documentary airing on The Nature of Things on February 27. It looks fascinating. I definitely plan to watch.