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The Influence of Dose and Route of Exposure on the Early Life Origins of Peanut Allergy


This project aims to establish whether avoiding peanuts during pregnancy and breastfeeding has any effect on the development of peanut allergy in a woman's children.

<p>The researchers will develop a sensitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) technique, which will be used to screen maternal, paternal and infant sera and breast milk for peanut allergen and a range of antibodies.

<p>The researchers will use diet diaries kept by pregnant women who have either been diagnosed or whose partner has been diagnosed as being atopic.

<p>Peanut avoidance advice is given before women are recruited to the study by midwives and/or health visitors, and again by the study dietician at recruitment.

<p>In addition, a questionnaire detailing peanut consumption during pregnancy will be administered retrospectively to other atopic women or those with atopic partners.

<p>Maternal biological samples have previously been screened for levels of peanut-specific IgG, using an optimised and validated 'in-house' assay. Peanut-specific IgG was measured in maternal sera samples.

<p>Breast milk samples have also been screened for peanut-specific IgG; this data is currently being statistically analysed.

More information

The Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) issued advice in 1998 recommending that women with a first degree relative with an allergy should avoid peanuts and peanut products during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

<p>The Committee also advised that children of these women should not be given such foods until 3 years of age.

<p>However, recent research suggests that avoidance may not the best strategy in preventing food allergy, and complete avoidance is extremely difficult to achieve.

<p>Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the <a href="; target="_blank">Food Standards Agency Research webpage</a>.

University of Southampton
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