Progress Against Peanut Allergies
Oral Immunotherapy May Desensitize Allergic Children; Skin Test May Predict Who Will Outgrow
WebMD News Archive
The Remission Study
Allen and her colleagues followed 267 children with peanut allergies, some
for years, to see if the size of the wheal over time could predict
The children entered the study at an average age of 14 months -- the time
when most infants first show peanut sensitivity, Allen says.
"We looked at the size of the skin prick wheal and followed them,"
Allen says. Once the size of the wheal that came after a prick fell
sufficiently, the scientists would give a food challenge to see if the child
had outgrown the allergy.
"We found that 20% of them outgrew it by 5 years of age,'' Allen
"We found the best predictor of remission was a falling skin prick test
... every year the reaction got a little smaller," she says.
The size of the wheal when children are younger can predict remission, too,
"If the skin prick wheal is greater than 6 millimeters before 2 years of
age, they are 1.5 times less likely to become tolerant," she tells
The severity of the initial reaction, however, did not predict tolerance.
"Kids with severe initial reactions are as likely to outgrow it," she
says, as those whose first reaction was milder.
The results offer valuable information not just for parents whose children
do outgrow it, she says, but also for those whose children are not likely to
and therefore may need closer follow-up.