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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 May 2007, 17:38 GMT 18:38 UK
New research into peanut allergy
Testing for a peanut allergy
Researchers testing for a peanut allergy
Do you know when you should start feeding your children peanuts?

It's a tricky question to answer because as well as the obvious risk of choking, there's also the risk of a life threatening allergic reaction.

The advice from the Department of Health is that you should not feed your children peanuts until they are three.

You can see that document via the link to the right of this page - it explains the pros and cons in much greater detail.

Breakfast has been looking at whether avoiding peanuts could make things worse.

  • Graham Satchell looks at the issue of children and nut allergies, and some important new research that you could help with
  • And you can watch that report again from the link to the right of this page
  • Food allergies are on the up - the number of individuals allergic to peanuts has doubled in last ten years.

    It affects 4% of children under four, and 2% of adults - that's about one and a half million people in the UK.

    Experts don't know why the numbers affected are increasing or how to prevent them, and an allergy can cause anaphylactic shock, and that can kill.

    Researchers are looking at whether exposure to a particular food, for example peanuts in the early years of life make the immune system stronger or more tolerant.

    Or whether it is better to avoid the food altogether so that the immune system does not become sensitive to it.

    Professor Lack is taking 500 babies who already show signs of eczema - and that means they are more likely to be allergic to peanuts aged between 4 and 11 months.

    Half will be fed peanuts three times a week - half will have no peanuts at all. The project will last 5 years.

    Do you want to take part in the research?

    All the information is provided below, please do not contact Breakfast directly as this research is not the responsibility of the BBC

  • Interested parents, who have a child less than 11 months of age with eczema or egg allergy, should contact:

    The LEAP (Learning Early About Peanut Allergy) Study Team
    Evelina Children's Hospital
    St Thomas' Hospital
    Telephone: 0800 234 6522

  • If you have any concerns about whether a nut allergy might affect your child, or when to start giving your children nuts, you should contact your GP or health visitor
  • There are also some links to the right of this page that you may find useful

    Watch Graham Satchell's report

    BBC Breakfast


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