04 December 2010

Peanuts to CURE Peanut Allergy

CBS News reports on a research and clinical trial conducted at Duke University Medical Center using peanuts to "cure" peanut allergies according to the CBS interview.
subtitled- "Patients with Sometimes-Deadly Allergy Consume Tiny Amounts of Peanuts Daily to Build Up Immunity in Pioneering Studies."

Our son Alexander just began Oral Immunotherapy TREATMENT for his life-threatening peanut allergy.  This is a full treatment program not a study or clinical trial.

Its a 3 year long Treatment program offered by Dallas Allergy and Immunology.
The initial desensitization phase can take 6 to 12 months depending on the patient
followed by a maintenance phase of 2 years.

I am documenting our entire treatment process on this blog.

The Duke study shown in this video used Oral Immunotherapy also.

After participating in the Duke study the 11 year old boy in the video is no longer deathly allergic to peanuts.
He eats a handful Peanut M&Ms as his daily "medicine"

Per this CBS interview the doctor stated "We don't know that long-term it really will make it (the peanut allergy) go away: and that is where the studies are concentrating now."

Watch the CBS NEWS VIDEO by clicking here 

02 December 2010

Peanut Allergy Treatment DAY 1

A revolutionary new treatment is available for people allergic to Peanuts, Milk, Eggs and Wheat. The treatment is called Oral Immunotherapy (OIT).   
We begin today - our Food Allergy Desensitizing Day 1 is here. There are 3 patients ready to begin the treatment program. Each person has a different Food allergy- Egg, Milk, and Peanut. My son is the peanut patient.
We arrived at 8am to Dr. Wasserman's of Dallas Allergy Immunology with pillows, blankets, snacks, electronics and "to do's" in hand. The stage is set for an entire day at the doctors.
Entrez Vous
After completing our computerized health status questionnaire we proceed for med check (height,weight, blood pressure) & then to the PFT test which Alexander FAILED in September (click here to see my "Roadblocks" post). 
Xander passed this time with 79% lung function. Not great but vastly improved. Next the physicians assistant questions Xander about his current health as he was undergoing treatment for a cough & drainage in addition to Advair for his asthma and poor lung function.
Hurray- we are deemed healthy enough and allowed to proceed.

We settle into a large room with reclining loungers along with an 18 year old teenage boy with an Egg allergy and a 10 year old boy with a Milk allergy.
Picture a small table set up in the room and a nurse armed with a timer to dispense a dose of the allergen every 15 minutes (treatment details will be provided in posts to come). Alexander is given a name tag to wear that says "PEANUT". The other 2 patients don "EGG" and "MILK" name tags. 
As a precaution each patient wears a name tag displaying his particular allergen

The dosing procedure is fully explained and we begin.

8:54 a.m. I am handed a syringe with Dose 1.  A tiny bit of peanut flour mixed with grape juice.  I hand it to Alexander and he squirts the peanut "cocktail" into his mouth.

A syringe is used for the "allergen cocktail" of peanut flour and grape juice

After a few doses Alexander "settles in for the long haul" teenager style.

The environment is comfortable especially with the teenage accouterments 

This scenario is repeated every 15 minutes like clockwork. Alexander ingests 26 doses of peanut flour mixed in grape juice with each dose increasing in strength. Very precise procedures.
The nurses regularly check to ensure each patient feels normal, no cough, itching, hives or worse.  
For more information on this treatment click here for my post "Oral Immunotherapy Frequently Asked Questions".

5pm- He made it! Ingesting all the doses with no adverse reactions
WHEW! Praise God.

Share your food allergies stories. Email your stories to salt.light.truth@gmail.com and I will post them on the blog. 

There is a world out there waiting for information, help or encouragement

01 December 2010


Roadblocks. Dictionary.com defines "roadblocks" as "an action, condition, etc., that obstructs progress toward an objective:"

Objective-Desensitize our son to peanuts. Not a simple task.
Having only found out in mid-August this was possible I have been on a fast track mission.
I immediately scheduled Alexander to start in September.

Roadblock #1-
We were all set and arrived for our initial medical visit with Dr. Wasserman at Dallas Allergy Immunology.
A few days later we were scheduled to begin Peanut Oral Immunotherapy Day 1
- yet this was not to be.

During our med checkup the nurse administered a PFT or Pulmonary Function Test
to measure how well Alexander's lungs are working.
Pulmonary Function testing measures the function of lung capacity and lung and chest wall mechanics to determine whether or not the patient has a lung problem.
The patient blows air into a measuring device blowing out as much as they can, then inhales as deeply as possible. This is repeated 3 or more times. The goal is to get a reproducible result that is consistent

The nurse kept asking our son to try harder. "Hmmm, try again Alexander".
I was blissfully unaware that there might be a problem.
At one point she thought perhaps her machine was malfunctioning.
To our horror (and the doctors surprise) Alexander's PFT revealed his lungs were functioning at 60%.  An "abnormal result" per the doctor. 
I felt like a bad Mom. Why didn't I detect this health issue? How could our son perform well in sports and school with such a low level of lung function?  
I just think Alexander got used to the way he "was".  He had adjusted.  This was "his normal". Thank goodness we found out.

So the peanut program was off.

Alexander embarked on a protocol to increase his lung function. He does have mild asthma or so we thought.
Obviously his asthma was hiding in a more silent way than wheezing etc.

In the end we were thankful for this "roadblock" as it revealed a serious health issue of which we were unaware.

Leave it to a teenager to be able to play sports, attend school and live life with,
to quote Dr. Wasserman "an unacceptable level of disability"
Who knew.

(We are so thankful for the advances and breakthroughs in medical science that allow such a program to now be offered by a few doctors.)

So now what?