Feeding Peanuts to Infants May Give Permanent Immunity to Peanut Allergy

April 29, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. immunity / ɪˈmyu nɪ ti / (n.) – the ability to not be affected by a disease
Example: Vaccines provide immunity against common viruses.

2. extension / ɪkˈstɛn ʃən / (n.) – something that increases the scope of something
Example: The new study is an extension of the previously released research.

3. landmark / ˈlændˌmɑrk / (n.) – something that holds a huge significance among others of its kind
Example: The landmark study was able to discover new ways of preventing allergies.

4. adverse / ædˈvɜrs / (adj.) – negative or not favorable
Example: Eating too much of something may have adverse effects to the body.

5. attend to / əˈtɛnd tʊ / (phrasal v.) – to give medical attention to
Example: The teachers quickly attended to the injured student.


Read the text below.
A follow-up study by the Immune Tolerance Network (ITN) has provided further proof that regularly feeding peanuts to infants can lead to peanut allergy immunity.

The study, dubbed as LEAP-ON, is an extension of ITN’s landmark study called “Learning Early About Peanut Allergy” (LEAP) that was published in 2015.

The previous study, LEAP, observed 600 children aged 4-11 months. Over a period of five years starting in 2010, half of the children were regularly fed peanuts, while the remaining half were not. The researchers observed whether the children would develop a peanut allergy or not. Results showed that only 3% of children exposed to peanuts developed the allergy, compared to 17% of those who were not.

LEAP-ON took the study further by observing 560 of the original 600 children for another year. The researchers wanted to find out if children who were fed peanuts in LEAP would still be immune to peanut allergy if they would not be given peanuts for a year.

Results have shown that the children still did not develop allergies, despite not being exposed to peanuts for a year, showing that the immunity they previously developed has remained.

It is worth noting that the studies involved only children who were at risk of developing peanut allergy, and not those who had already shown adverse reactions to the food. Researchers reminded parents that children must be fed peanuts only under expert supervision, because peanut allergy can cause severe reactions which may be fatal if not attended to right away.

Other food that causes severe reactions includes seafood and tree nuts like walnuts and cashews. These allergies, along with peanut allergy, can last a lifetime.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Would you join a study that will expose you to something that may cause allergic reactions? Why or why not?
·         Do you think studies that have hazards for participants are worth the risk if they will produce results? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         Knowing that some allergies can be fatal, what precautions must people take to make a community safe for people who have allergies? Discuss.
·         If you can give reminders to researchers doing risky studies, what would you say?

April 29, 2016