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Ask Stanford Med: Pediatric immunologist taking questions on children's food allergy research

Ask Stanford Med: Pediatric immunologist taking questions on children's food allergy research

Food allergies among children are a growing public health concern. An estimated six million children in the United States suffer from food allergies, and nearly 40 percent have experienced a severe allergic reaction as a result of consuming a food.

A recent New York Times Magazine story took a closer look at the issue and the research of Kari Nadeau, MD, PhD, a pediatric immunologist at Stanford and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. As my colleague previously reported, Nadeau has demonstrated that it’s possible to desensitize children to a single food allergen and is now working to identify treatments to safely address multiple food allergies at the same time.

To continue the conversation, we’ve asked Nadeau to respond to your questions about children’s food allergies and her ongoing projects at the Stanford Alliance for Food Allergy Research. Questions can be submitted to Nadeau by either sending a tweet that includes the hashtag #AskSUMed or posting your question in the comments section below. We’ll collect questions until Friday (March 15) at 5 PM Pacific Time.

When submitting questions, please abide by the following ground rules:

  • Stay on topic
  • Be respectful to the person answering your questions
  • Be respectful to one another in submitting questions
  • Do not monopolize the conversation or post the same question repeatedly
  • Kindly ignore disrespectful or off topic comments
  • Know that Twitter handles and/or names may be used in the responses

Nadeau will respond to a selection of the questions submitted, but not all of them, in a future entry on Scope.

Finally – and you may have already guessed this – an answer to any question submitted as part of this feature is meant to offer medical information, not medical advice. These answers are not a basis for any action or inaction, and they’re also not meant to replace the evaluation and determination of your doctor, who will address your specific medical needs and can make a diagnosis and give you the appropriate care.

Previously: Searching for a cure for pediatric food allergies, Gesundheit! Spring allergy season is underway, New hope for people with severe milk allergies and New insight into asthma-air pollution link
Photo by Steven Depolo

50 Responses to “ Ask Stanford Med: Pediatric immunologist taking questions on children's food allergy research ”

  1. Monica Frazier Says:

    Is there any precedence for desensitization therapy for non-IgE mediated allergies, like FPIES?

  2. Lindsey Westerbeck Says:

    I have 2 daughters with FPIES (4 and 1.5 years old). Now pregnant with my 3rd. I have 2 questions:

    1) Both of my daughters are very sensitive to dairy. My 4 year old has outgrown FPIES reactions, but continues to have chronic congestion, ear infections, sinus infections, ear drum damage, – 3 ear tube surgeries and 2 adenoidectomies (one repeat) by age 3 – due to repeat dairy exposure. She tests IgE negative to dairy, but has increased eosinophils with exposure. Dairy has been removed from her diet… is there any type of desensitization therapy for this type of chronic reaction with prolonged exposure to the offending food?

    2) My 1 year old recently trialed peanut butter, developing hives on torso, arms, buttocks and thighs 6hrs later – followed by vomiting and diarrhea which continued for 48-72hours post peanut exposure. She had previously tested IgE-negative. Is this a possible IgE reaction to peanuts or combined with FPIES reaction? Would desensitization therapy be successful with these types of reactions?

    Thank you for reading!

  3. odette wilcox Says:

    My 8 month old daughters fpies reactions happen after approx 3/5 exposures, then even trace amounts cause a severe reaction. How do you manage future food trials? We do first trial in hospital as previous reactions have been so bad, she is fpies to dairy, soy, chicken, corn and banana so far. I am scared with everything she eats after food trials for weeks. I don’t understand how her body can cope with the food for the first 4/5 times,then reacts?? Many thanks

  4. Clara Luu Says:

    What do you know about food allergies and certain types of skin conditions? Do lots of people have mild food allergies that cause common conditions such as irritable skin?

  5. Michele Says:

    I’m very excited to see your research into food allergies, particularly since my sons and I are all latex protein-allergic. I understand that you have had success with nut allergies, but will this sort of therapy work with cross allergies as we experience with foods like mangoes, pineapple, and chestnuts?

    Thank you very much!

  6. Lori Says:

    My question is we feel like our daughter has some type of food allergy. Every few months or so she will get hives, from the inside out, be very itchy will have painful stomach aches followed by diarrhea. How do you go about figuring out what is causing this? I can’t tell she will go for a month or so and be fine then bam she’ll have an episode but it’s so hard to tell what causes this

  7. Alison Says:

    What about children who have strong IgE reactions (confirmed severe allergic reactions, and not just high IgE levels) to MOST foods as well as severe Eosinophilic Disorders (EGE in our case)? Are there any studies or research being done for those cross-over kids?

  8. Vivian Stock-Hendel Says:

    My 13 year old son has multiple food allergies including peanuts, tree nuts, soy, and pea as well as environmental allergies. Some of his tree nut levels are higher than his peanut level. How long would OIT take given his amount of allergens? Would it require eating peanuts, tree nuts of various types, and soy on a daily basis? He is a very picky eater so that would be challenging to him. Thank you.

  9. Jennie Says:

    My daughter has a delayed reaction with baked egg and wheat. She developes red scratch marks (assuming eczema) 2 days after eating. Is this enough reason to eliminate both from her diet? Thanks.

  10. Shternie Says:

    is it possible to be allergic to red 40. my 6 year old is ana to eggs. but recently is reacting to red 40 is there a way to test or de-sensitive for this.

  11. Sarah Foote Says:

    How can we get more information about being included in the trial? Is there an age minimum?

  12. Gabby Says:

    My son, who’s 10, has had food allergies since a baby & it’s only gotten worse and the amounts of food he’s allergic to has more than doubled. The peanut allergy is now airborne. So two questions technically; is there a known reason for it worsening and is anything being done research wise for airborne food allergies??

  13. Lisa Woodward Says:

    I have 2 FPIES girls that are on opposite spectrums. Gracie 3.5yrs acute reactions to most foods trialed before age 2.

    Reagan, now 11 months, more chronic issues and makes it to day 6 before we start seeing symptoms.

    Twice now Reagan has eaten a food safely for over a wk (given 2x daily). With squash it was almost a month. Went on vacation, took a break for 3 days then gave her the squash again and she had a full blown reaction.

    Would you recommend a break in food trials before deeming a food “safe”? Or should we be careful to avoid breaks in trialling in order to try to build immunity? Can this be common for FPIES?

    All the best,
    Lisa Woodward

  14. Jennie Briend Says:


    My son has HLHS, and through your clinic it has been determined that although he has had most of his thymus removed, he is producing his own T-cells. I have a shellfish allergy, and my husbands 1st cousin has a peanut allergy. At what age is it appropriate and “safe” to introduce my son to tree nuts and/or shellfish? He is so far non verbal, so cannot really tell us when he doesnt feel “right”. He is tolerating all other sorts of foods that could provoke allergies: eggs, soy, diary, strawberries, wheat, avocado etc.

    Thank you!!

  15. Sanda Preuett-Shea Says:

    Consultation on 3/25/13 to discuss OIT w/ Wasserman (Dallas). My 4 yo has an allergy to peanut which is class 6 with IgE greater than 100. Multiple other allergies with less severe reactions.

    My questions are-Are there any longitudinal studies on animals using OIT? What is the longest study on humans and OIT? Has OIT shown to improve initially but ultimately exacerbate the problem over time? Also, is OIT providing a compensatory strategy because cause is unknown? Why is this “anaphylaxis and allergies” such a prevalent issue in 2013? Concerned that I may be managing but not addressing the cause.

    Thank you,
    Sanda Preuett-Shea

  16. Leslie Olsen Says:

    My 21 year old son is milk, egg, nut and peanut allergic. He has had f/a tests for baked milk and baked egg and tolerates them now in his diet. It’s been soo long before we’ve felt any hope that he could find a “cure”. Is there any protocol now that he’s not technically a “child”? He lives in Boston but will soon be back in NYC (possibly LA) for graduate schools. I’d love for him to have a normal life especially since he wishes to be an international journalist and travelling with FA is very difficult. Thank you!

  17. Cathy M Says:

    My 3 yr old child is allergic to about a dozen different things (all 8 common allergens in addition to various other things). Her reaction to most is an all over body eczema, except for shellfish, which seems to make her scratch at her throat (though no visible eczema).

    Is it possible for her allergic reaction (eczema) to worsen over time? To become anaphylactic in nature? (I’m wondering if I should get an epi pen for her.)

    Or does an eczema type of reaction have a greater chance of resolving itself over time?

    Is eczema a candidate for your treatment? Or are you focusing on life threatening reactions?

    Thanks so very much!!

  18. Angela Robinson Says:

    My 6 yr old has Eosinophilic Esophagitis. How does desensitizing fit in with children who have consistent allergic reactions when being exposed to the allergic food? My son breaks out in severe hives after ingesting or touching peanut or egg. Failed a baked egg challenge as well. Will we ever get to a point where he will build up a tolerance even if it means still dealing with the eosinophils? We also eliminate top 8 and on swallowed flonase. His first exposure to peanut was early on, just before a year old. Thank you.

  19. Karen Costa Says:

    My 4 yo son has a severe peanut allergy confirmed with accidental exposure (how we learned of the allergy) and subsequent blood and skin tests.

    Our allergist has advised us to wait on desensitization until he is older and there is more data on the studies, because he feels we are managing the allergy well (no exposure since first).

    We are managing it well, but we do miss out on some parts of normal life (going out for ice cream for example) or eating pizza at a friend’s birthday party.

    If we are managing fairly well, does it make sense to wait?

  20. Stephanie C Says:

    Will time have run out for non-pediatric allergic patients by the time this is finally approved for widespread treatment?. My daughter is 4, with so many severe food allergies. Is there a window of effectiveness in different age groups? How are your results viewed by others in the allergy community doing similar trials? Why do your results look so much more promising (high success rate) than other outcomes with single allergen desensitization?
    I’m so inspired by your work! Thank you!

  21. Marcy Says:

    We have been told that our ten year old is not ready to desensitize since her levels are so high and her sensitivities to the allergens are so high. She is allergic to wheat,dairy, egg, beef, peanuts, and tree nuts. We do skin testing and RAST testing. We went a few years ago to National Jewish in Denver but she reacted when given small amounts so they told us to wait until levels come down. They have continued to go up and we are waiting for a peak in at least one of them. Is there anything else we can do at this point?

  22. Hilary Paterson Says:

    My 3 yo daughter is allergic to peanuts. She has had exzema since she was a small baby. It used to be quite severe but has almost all disappeared. Is this a sign that her allergy could be weakening, or simply because she has not had any peanut products since her diagnosis?

    Thank you!

  23. Lynn Says:

    My 18 year-old son has asthma, multiple food allergies and EoE.
    What can be done other than dietary restrictions and buedesonide treatments?
    I am concerned about the prolonged use of steroids and the frequent scopes.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  24. Elizabeth P. Says:

    I’ve been reading about “Desensitization,” but still somewhat confused. Some children, I’ve read, have graduated from treatment programs within 6 months. They have to eat, say 26 peanuts or it’s equivalent in some form, per day to stay desensitized. If I have this part right, then my question is does this mean they can eat beyond that amount during any given meal per day, say at a restaurant where you really have no way of measuring the amount of peanuts, etc? Or do parents have to make sure they do NOT eat over the equivalent of 26 peanuts per day to prevent an allergic reaction? Also, I’ve been reading many posts that children who’ve experienced anaphylaxis previously have not done well in either the studies or the treatments that are being offered by allergists. Is this true? And finally, is there anyone working to find the exact cause of why so many children, teens, and adults are developing life-threatening food allergies today. It seems that in order to find a cure, rather than desensitization, that first the cause needs to be found in order to prevent any more children from developing food allergies. Why does this not seem to be at the forefront of this fight yet in stopping the almost epidemic like outbreak of food allergies? Thank you.

  25. Sara Hartian Says:

    My 14 year old daughter’s ONLY known food allergy is milk.Since 4her weeks of age. Anaphylactic. IgE every year is >100. How can we get her in a desensitization program. No milk study/research study has ever been interested in her. I just want to be able to send her off to college in a few years and know she won’t die from an accidental ingestion. Help us, please

  26. Laura Says:

    Hi Dr. Nadeau,

    What is the specific clinical name of the multiallergy trial and please could you discuss your inclusion/exclusion patient criteria?

    Due to the high level of interest, will you be collaborating with other top allergists to make this available for a wider range of eligible participants?

    If the study is a success, how long would it take for the FDA to approve this as a standardized treatment?

    Thank you!

  27. Megan C Says:

    Our daughter, age 3.5, was diagnosed with Eosinophilic Esophagitis and Failure to Thrive at 17 months of age. She has 5 safe foods currently, including: pears, potatoes, seedless green grapes, beets and applesauce. She drinks Elecare all day long. We have trialed many, many foods and each one has caused a reaction in a time frame anywhere from 24 hours to 8 weeks. I am curious to your thoughts on the following: 1) What are the chances that her body’s reaction to food will change over time? 2) Why do you feel there is an increase in the rate of diagnosis for both IgE mediated allergies as well as eosinophilic disease? 3) Do you feel that GMO foods play a roll? Thank you!

  28. Sara D Says:

    Has there been any research using cordblood stem cells for treatment?

  29. Anne H. Says:

    What is the timeframe for ultimate availability? That is, do you foresee there being something that my son, who is now 10, can take/do to rid himself of his peanut/treenut allergies in the next 3 to 4 years? Thereafter?

    Thanks so much!

  30. Anna Says:

    Dear Dr. Nadeau,
    I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your tireless efforts in finding a cure for food allergies! I am very interested in multiple allergen OIT. My son has severe peanut, walnut, pecan, macadamia nut, hazelnut, chestnut, dairy and garlic allergies. He outgrew egg allergy. He has mild eczema, but doesn’t have asthma or any other conditions. I have several questions. Why are you only desensitizing 5 allergens at once? Why must the kU/L be over 7? My son had anaphylaxis requiring an Epi-pen and ambulance ride at 2 y.o. to dairy with a 3.8 kU/L. Are you doing a multiple allergen study without the use of Xolair? If so, how is this study progressing? It is my understanding that the children in the OIT w/Xolair study have some doses of Xolair in the beginning of the desensitization process but not throughout. Do you anticipate doses of Xolair to be required to maintain life-time desensitization? Thanks again for your tireless efforts in helping our children in the food allergy community!

  31. Arati Chavan Says:

    I have a 5.5 year old son with many many food allergies. He was diagnosed with EE at the age 15 months and was on an elemental diet primarily till he was 4. He did not show any EE symptoms from the age of 3. Now he is eating a lot of foods like a normal kid but of course still remains allergic to about 80% of foods. He is showing some improvement too like he seems to tolerate baked wheat and baked eggs in small quantities before itching starts. But has not had a major reaction due to that. He also developed Asthma at age 5 and had 2 bad episodes of asthma (never had Ana episode but is Ana to several foods). What is the prognosis for him? All OIT docs refuse to see him as they say his EE will come back due to OIT.

  32. Melissa R Says:

    Our daughter just turned 5 and we are currently doing OIT for Milk. However, he most severe allergy is gluten. Do you know if they are going to do OIT for gluten? Thank You!

  33. Carol Kidorf Says:

    Hi Dr. Nadeau. I have a 3.5 yr old son with severe multiple food and environmental allergies, as well as severe asthma. When will your multi-allergen clinical trials start in the NY/NJ area? What will the criteria be to apply? When is the FDA expected to approve this as treatment? Thank you for all your work in this area and giving hope to children with severe allergies.

  34. Dawn Cofini Says:

    My son is 11 and had two anaphylactic reactions from just the smell of a peanut butter sandwich from about two feet away, can anything help this, has anyone expierenced it?

  35. Jerri Keels Says:

    I have a 13 year old sone with multiple food allergies (milk, egg, peanut, all tree nuts, mustard, sesame, peas) and found myself in tears reading about your research. Being allergy free would be a dream come true. We live in NC and I wonder if there are any concurrent studies with Xolair and immunotherapy in our area? Thanks for what you are doing!

  36. Alexia Says:

    Dear Dr,
    I applaud your deep involvement in the solving the allergy challenge.

    Like other people here, I wonder whether your approach can work with allergic children who combine Ige and non ige (FPIES, Eosinophilic disorders etc..) allergies, on top of pollen allergies which share the same protein as the allergen (namely birch in europe via LTP and other proteins) ?
    For instance, my son 4 yo, about 15 safe foods, after 3,5 years still reacts (digestive problems) to traces of gluten or soy so how would your approach work?

    Is there a way to predict whether a person can combine Ige and FPIES/EE or EG to the same allergen (eg. we have this for wheat + gluten for my son, atopy patch ++ at 15 months then switch to ige)?

    The impression I have is that kids with ‘simple’ ige allergies heal better than those with combined allergic diseases, am I right.

    Lastly, who in Europe do you collaborate closely with (I live in Paris, so our reference is Dupont’s team in Necker – but they are mostly involved in the arachild trials with Schicherer)


  37. Karen moloney Says:

    My son has allergy to milk,eggs, nuts, tree nuts and seseme seed , asthma and inhalent allergens as well.
    whats your thoughts on vitamin d and probiotics?

  38. Andrea Murphy Says:

    Dear Dr.
    My son is allergic to many thing, meat, chicken, pork, milk, eggs, wheat, sesame, garlic, peanuts and tree nuts. At a year old he was diagnosed with Eosinophilic Esophagitis, gerd and currently has eczema.
    He also had an anaphylactic reaction from milk.
    Its very difficult to feed him because he’s allergic to so many sources of foods, the only thing he can consume is soy, which he’s starting to fight me on.
    I was wondering if there was anything you can suggest or maybe your thoughts to whether or not he will grow out of some of these things.
    Thank You for your time.

  39. Anne Says:

    I am a 64 yr old, young at heart, female that has dealt with anaphylaxis from all seafood, fish, anything that swims in the sea for over 6 yrs and a nut allergy for around 2 yrs. I have had allergies for most of my life to dust, mold, etc. I have been under the care of a well known allergist in the Cleveland OH area and have been so cautious that I have not had an episode resulting in the emergency room for 2 yrs..

    My 36 yr old daughter recently developed a severe allergy to mushrooms and she doesn’t even eat mushrooms. Good old cross contamination.

    Is there any hope for a person my age? I know this is minor compared to a child suffering from severe allergies, but if I could end this worry for myself and my family, I would like to try.

    Thank you.

  40. Wing-Yee Fu Says:

    Dear Dr. Nadeau,

    Thank you for being a pioneer in helping to save our children who are haunted by food allergies. Your work has given us a ray of hope. My son who is turning 3 years old is allergic to dairy, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, corn, eggs and other environmental allergens. We discovered this when he was 7 months ago when he ended up in the ER with severe itchiness and lower intestinal issue. He didn’t urinate for several days. We’ve been coping with his allergies (as well as my husband’s) since then and hope that one day both of them can led normal lives. My questions to you are: will the trials be extended to other part of the country? We live in Boston and wanted be participate in the program. I have contacted my son’s allergist at Boston Children’s Hospital. I have yet to hear from him. Is there anything we can do to advocate the expansion of this study? Also, can adults develop sensitive if they don’t eat certain food groups for a certain period of time? I have noticed that I develop hives when I ingested dairy and soy when in the past I am not allergic (I removed those food group out of my diet to prevent passing them through nursing)

    Thank you so much and we are grateful to your dedication!

  41. Veronique P Says:

    Hello. My 16 months old daughter is allergic to milk. How desensitizing fit in with young child like her? Is there a minimum age required for the treatment? We are living in Canada and are interested into moving in USA if needed for treatment. How does it works?
    Many thanks !

  42. Lisa M. Says:

    My son is off the charts for peanut and sunflower. highly allergic other treenuts, coconut and egg. We live in Cleveland, OH. Do you know if your trial will be spread to other cities. Would sunflower be applicable to the trial.
    Thank you for all you do. Your trial is has given us so much hope already!

  43. Kathy Says:

    Dr. Nadeau,

    Thank you so much for your relentless work in the field of food allergies!

    My daughter failed OIT for peanuts due to severe stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and reflux. The symptoms were severly impacting her quality of life so we were forced to walk away after 5 months of treatment. Have you seen success with patients who show predominantly GI symptoms? Did your patient Jack’s (from the NY Times article) GI symptoms resolve? Would Xolair mask EoE?

    Thanks so much from a Mom who still has hope!

  44. Trish Gavankar Says:

    Dr. Nadeau,
    Thank you for this unbelievable research and for your clear sacrifices. My daughter is 11 years old, has nearly 20 life-threatening food allergies. She also has severe plant pollen syndrome. Her food choices are limited and she has anaphylaxed 3 times. She attempeted SLIT and OIT with no success through anotother clinical trial. Do you attribute the success of the children like my daughter to Xolair, or more to the process by which you undertook the trial?

  45. liseetsa Says:

    Hi Dr. Nadeau,

    Thank you for all that you do.

    There is a debate going on whether or not OIT should be “prime-time” yet. Being the caring person that you clearly are, and knowing the limited amount of studies throughout the nation could never possibly help one fraction of the food allergic children, why do the researchers strive so hard to discourage other board-certified allergists from offering OIT? We know OIT has been proven “safe and effective” in Dr. Burks’ original study. His very own researchers have left the study and offered treatment in their private practices. Are they suddenly not “qualified?”

    Thousands of children have already received and succeeded in OIT by private allergists–my son is living proof. He tested positive for Ara h1 and Ara h2 proteins of the peanut and had three severe reactions prior to treatment. He had no reactions during OIT and hasn’t yet–thank goodness–thank Dr. Nash. After a year of maintenance with Dr. Factor, his IgE dropped from 90.7 to 17.9. Now why wouldn’t the researchers want the same quality treatment for the majority of the food allergic children?

    We were rejected from the Duke study because we live in Ohio. Cincinnati Children’s agreed to expand the study but changed their minds because “food allergies are not their priority.” What were we to do? Wait and watch him have another reaction that could have possibly been his last? We would still be waiting if not for our private OIT allergists who could not watch children suffering while they did nothing but prescribe epipens and warn us to stay away from our allergens. And ironically, we had to relocate to Raleigh for treatment anyway but most families cannot travel extensively or move for treatment.

    I started a fb group called Peanut Anaphylaxis Cure, as in “we are seeking.” I’m sure you are working on it but don’t you think it’s time that the majority of children should be treated now so they can at least have the same level of protection from life-threatening reactions as my son and the thousands of others who have been fortunate enough to participate in treatment-study and private practice?

    Each death I read about, I feel as if I have personally failed to reach them with the information that help is available for most of them right now including children who are severely asthmatic, air-borne and touch sensitive, IgE <100, and multiple food allergies.

    If it's data that the researchers want, they could easily provide the "safe and effective" protocol, tapered to the individual of course, and ask that the private allergists enter their data into a database for them.

    My second question is more technical than ethical, could the use of Xolair somehow control or calm the symptoms of EoE enough to allow a patient to become desensitized to their allergens and then in turn, could being desensitized from those allergens help eliminate symptoms of EoE altogether. Or are we still at the point where having EoE renders OIT impossible? And if OIT works just fine on its own, with an 85-100% success rate–100% being yours I believe–why is Xolair used at all? Is it that the shock of having so many allergens in their bodies at once might be too much?

    Thank you for taking questions. If anyone is going to bring OIT mainstream, or at least conduct a million + participant study, it might just be you.

  46. Julie Barnes Says:

    Thank you for your self-less work, Dr. Nadeau. Your dedication is impressive.
    I am currently pregnant and am wondering if I will possibly be creating a food allergy in my unborn child if I avoid all dairy and egg while pregnant and breast-feeding.
    After being diagnosed with an appendiceal mucinious tumor three years ago, I have been more carefully exploring my health and found through a food sensitivity blood test, that completely unbeknownst to me, I am sensitive to milk, cheese, yogurt, and eggs. I had no obvious symptoms but had been unable to become pregnant naturally until I started avoiding these allergens. I have avoided them throughout the first trimester, but am considering slowly reintroducing them since I am now in the 2nd trimester.
    I appreciate any thoughts you have on this matter and understand it should not replace medical advice from my providers. Thank you!

  47. nancy Stinson Says:

    As a parent of a 21 year old daughter who has had severe food allergies to dairy and egg products, and was diagnosed with EE as a freshman in High School, I am encouraged about the new potential research going on for a possible cure-
    But I should point out something, according to what I read this allergy process requires that the kid continue to eat small portions of foods that the kids are allergic to in ensure the allergies don’t come back and if they miss doing this after three days then the allergies “WILL COME BACK?”
    What does that mean? I had always thought that if a child continues to suffer from severe food allergies after age 12-then you could assume that they will have them for the rest of their life. (my daughter has been allergy tested every two years since her initial allergy diagnosis. Everytime she has always shown a severe allergy to all diary and egg products)
    Also, this story also brings up the following questions for me: how long was this protocol tested? What are the long term effects for a patient who continues this process? What will happen to a kid who may think that everything is okay and continue to eat more and more of the allergic item?
    Are their any cases of a patient on this program who has an allergic reaction after an extended period of this program?
    If I have missed information on the testing, please advise me and I will go back and read it, but I am concerned about how anxious families are to ‘cure their kids so they (the parents) can go back to living a normal life. What I learned was to communicate with my daughters caregivers, teachers, parents of friends ect. Once they understood what was needed, they were very helpful. But I made sure that I provided the food items for her if she was going to a party act. I never assumed that a parent or organization that didn’t understand food allergies would be put into a position of cooking something that could hurt her. Also, as my daughter was growing up, parents would tell me that her friends would be reading food ingredients at grocery stores if they were shopping for a party-to make sure it wouldn’t hurt their good friend.
    As a result, she has had a normal life within the confines of her food allergies, Just because she couldn’t have regular ice cream didn’t mean her life was less than her friends. (Soy Icw Cream is very good.)
    As a toddler and youngster, when she went to birthday parties, I sent food along. i would contact the host of the party early to explain what was required and I provided all food and birthday cake, (i.e. we were involved in Soy before Soy became popular.) While she was still young, (toddler, early elementary school, I would go along to the parties) As she grew older and went to parties, ect, our daughter understood what her limitations were – as did the parents of the child holding the party. Whats important here is that I communicated with parents of friends, teachers ect. It was very easy to send a snack into school on the day that someone was going to bring in a birthday treat. Also, on her birthday, I sent in appropriate treats. You would be surprised to know how popular the egg and diary free cupcakes made with egg replacer were when she was young.
    I decided when My daughter was first diagnosed with food allergies, (late 1992) that we were going to take butter out of our house. My husband and I would drink skim milk with some of our meals, but I never cooked with those items again. The risk of cross-contamination was too great. But we never felt that we were missing out on normal family activities due to her allergies. We never wanted her to feel like she was missing out on something or we were missing out on something due to her food requirements. We always made sure that we went to a eatery that could support her needs prior to eating there.

    This program is exciting, but like one doctor who counseled the parents of one of his patients to wait until the child is older and until this program has more data before exposing your child to this regime-BRAVO!! Severe allergies can kill our kids very quickly when they are very young and small. We had a few incidents where we almost lost her due to severe malpractice at daycare facilities.When she was young and small, the reactions would come almost immediately, but as she got older, the reaction time between ingesting something bad until a full blown reaction expands. But the bottom line is that a severe reaction that is not caught in time can kill her.
    But she has been well managed over the last few years due to her own management while in college. But even that has limitations,- two summers ago she suffered the most severest response yet after getting a drink at a place that she had always trusted, but due to cross-contamination she started to have a reaction, (but she had gone several years without a severe reaction) and when the initial allergy symptoms manifested themselves to her on that day, she initially IGNORED THEM, thinking she was okay. Lucky for us, I got her to the hospital within minutes of her falling into severe shock. She almost died that day. She was 19.
    But she works very hard to have a normal life. She has played the violin since fifth grade, had a very active social life with friends for many years, is a writer and is currently a Junior in College. She just made the deans list.
    I will watch this program with interest. I caution parents not to rush into something that has not been fully tested and vetted over a period of time. If this program is going to work, the data will show it. Until then, understand that the possibility is still there for a severe reaction. Don’t lower your guard.
    I read this morning about the death of another kid due to an allergy response. I don’t think he was involved in this program, but he was a college kid who was given a cookie with an ingredient in it that he couldn’t have-before he eat it, he questioned the kid offering him about the ingredient and was told that he didn’t think it was in the cookie. Sadly the allergic ingredient was in there. Because he trusted his friend, he took a couple of bites. He got sick shortly after that and died. This should not happen in our society. I am not sure but I suspect that he didn’t have an epi pen with him or anything that could have helped him.
    This is why this story worries me.
    I am excited about the possibilities of this regime. But we don’t know if it will work long term. Parents if your young kids are involved in this program, make sure you have the proper medications to respond to serious allergic reaction, please don’t assume ( that if the symptoms manifest themselves) that your child should be okay because of the program. Ie, that your child is cured. Finally If you are a parent with a young baby with severe allergies, wait-until more information is gathered.
    Finally, my daughter and i will be watching this program with interest. And I hope that this cure will work. Time will tell. Until then remain cautious.

  48. Jodi Pritchett Says:

    Dr. Nadeau,

    Our 3YO daughter is severely allergic to milk, eggs and peanuts. We live in Oregon and were wondering if you had an idea when the desensitization therapy would be more widely available. Also, is there a minimum age?

    Thank you so much for your research.

  49. Lia Steakley Says:

    Thanks for all the great questions for Dr. Nadeau! We’re done taking questions for this round of Ask Stanford Med. Dr. Nadeau will answer a selection of your questions in future Q&A on Scope. We’ll let you know when her responses are posted.

  50. Michelle Brandt Says:

    We are no longer taking questions on this topic.
    -Scope editor


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