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Will early introduction of foods prevent allergies? :

September 27, 2018

Editor's note: The 2018 AAP National Conference & Exhibition will take place from Nov. 2-6 in Orlando.

The landmark Learning Early About Peanut Allergy (LEAP) study led to a seismic shift in the approach to food allergy prevention.

For years, physicians had advised parents to delay introducing their infants to highly allergenic foods like peanut, eggs, fish and dairy in an effort to ward off allergies. The LEAP study, however, found that early introduction of peanut reduced the risk of allergy development in high-risk infants and led to the 2017 Addendum Guidelines for the Prevention of Peanut Allergy in the United States from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Since then, research has indicated the same might be true for other highly allergenic foods.

Michael Pistiner, M.D., M.M.Sc., FAAP, will discuss recent research and how pediatricians can put it into practice during a session titled “Beyond Peanuts: Early Introduction of Foods to Prevent Food Allergy” from 4-4:45 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3, (F1109) and from 4-4:45 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4, (F2117) in room W414AB of the convention center.

“This is a rapidly changing field, and we’re constantly needing to pay attention to updates and learn and implement as we go,” said Dr. Pistiner, a member of the AAP Section on Allergy and Immunology Executive Committee.

The incidence of food allergies and atopic dermatitis have been increasing over the last several decades. Estimates show nearly 6 million U.S. children 18 years of age and younger have food allergies (Gupta RS, et al. Pediatrics. 2011;128:e9-17).

Since the LEAP study was published, researchers have been looking at whether early introduction of other allergenic foods also could be protective.

“There is more evidence suggesting that a similar approach seems to be something that may be helpful with egg and perhaps other foods,” said Dr. Pistiner, director of food allergy advocacy, education and prevention at MassGeneral Hospital for Children, Harvard Medical School.

During the session, Dr. Pistiner will get attendees thinking about how they can translate this recent research into practice.

“Being able to take the science we know, the recommendations that are out there and be able to practically work that into a busy pediatrician’s well-child visit and anticipatory guidance and feeding recommendations, while still taking individual family and cultural issues into concern, that’s the challenge,” he said.

For more coverage of the 2018 AAP National Conference & Exhibition visit and follow @AAPNews on Twitter and Facebook.

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