This research project aims to investigate the prevalence of peanut allergy in UK children and the factors affecting the development of peanut allergy.
<p>In order to understand peanut allergy, a number of fundamental questions must be answered:
What is the current prevalence of peanut allergy in UK children?
<LI>Which environmental factors influence the development of peanut allergy, and do these factors act before or after birth?
<LI>What immunological mechanisms are involved in the development of peanut allergy?
The project will involve approximately 14,000 seven-year-old children who have been followed from birth as part of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Pregnancy and Childhood (ALSPAC).
<p>The prevalence of allergy to peanut and tree nuts will be determined by assessing the children's medical histories and by analysing the results of skin prick tests and double blind placebo controlled food challenges.
<p>Umbilical cord blood collected at the birth of the children will be used to investigate whether evidence of sensitisation to peanut was already present at birth.
<p>Computerised records collected at various time-points during the children's lives will be analysed to identify any environmental factors that may be involved in the development of food allergy.
<p>In order to investigate the immunological mechanisms involved in peanut allergy, the immune responses of children with this condition will be compared with those who are not peanut allergic.
<p>This part of the study will involve children from the ALSPAC cohort and also children with peanut allergy who attend the St Mary's hospital allergy clinic.
<p>Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the <a href="http://www.food.gov.uk/science/research/" target="_blank">Food Standards Agency Research webpage</a>.