The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), conducts and supports research. The goal of NIAID’s basic and applied research is to better understand, treat and ultimately prevent infectious, immunologic and allergic diseases.
NIAID provides many resources to help clinicians and patients understand and manage food allergies.
Chief among NIAID’s physician resources is its “Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergy in the United States,” released in 2011.
This document provides physicians with a uniform set of guidelines for treating patients with food allergies. For example, the guidelines outline steps to diagnose a food allergy, including recommendations on which tests to administer and which tests to avoid.
This resource also addresses related medical conditions, such as food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES), eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) and Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS).
In January 2017, NIAID issued clinical guidelines for preventing peanut allergy. With these guidelines, NIAID recommends that babies at higher risk for developing peanut allergy be introduced to peanut-containing foods during infancy, to limit that risk.
The new NIAID Addendum Guidelines for the Prevention of Peanut Allergy in the United States reflect findings from the ground-breaking LEAP (Learning Early About Peanut Allergy) and LEAP-On (Persistence of Oral Tolerance to Peanut) trials. Both clinical trials were co-funded by FARE.
Widespread adherence to the guidelines could greatly reduce the prevalence of peanut allergy. In 2015 the LEAP study demonstrated that eating peanut products regularly, starting in infancy, led to an 81 percent reduction in the development of peanut allergy by age 5. This was compared to children at similar risk who avoided peanuts during the first five years of life. The study identified both groups of children as higher risk because they already had severe eczema, egg allergy or both.
The LEAP-On study went on to confirm in 2016 that early exposure to peanut continued to protect against peanut allergy, even after the children avoided peanuts from ages 5 to 6.
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