This exciting 4-year trial could be a huge breakthrough in peanut allergies.

Peanuts: Delicious for some of us. Deadly for others.

Peanut allergies, one of the most common food allergies in the world, are extremely dangerous — especially for kids, who are more likely to suffer serious reactions than adults. Even exposure to trace amounts of peanut or peanut oil can pose a major risk, which means a lot of kids have to steer clear of more than just PB&J — even foods like icing, potato chips, and some fried foods can contain elements of peanuts. It can be hard for people with these severe allergies to live a normal life.

In fact, peanut allergies have been on the rise for years. That's why a lot of schools in the United States don't even allow things like peanuts or peanut butter inside the school anymore, let alone at a shared lunch table.


While a lot of us have been arguing over whether that's fair (or helpful), scientists have been working hard to figure out how to better treat this and other food allergies or how to stop them completely.

The good news? Scientists Down Under just had a major breakthrough in treating peanut allergies.

Photo by Renee Comet/Wikimedia Commons.

Researchers at Australia's Murdoch Children's Research Institute used something called immunotherapy on a small group of kids with peanut allergies.

In immunotherapy, patients can be intentionally exposed in deliberate, controlled doses of something (in this case, peanuts) that creates an autoimmune response. Over time and with the right treatment, the body can sometimes learn to adjust the way it reacts to the allergen.

In other words, these researchers fought peanuts with peanuts.

At the end of the 18-month trial, which originally took place in 2013, over 80% of the kids who received the treatment had become tolerant to peanuts. Four years later, most of them are still tolerant and even eating peanuts regularly.

“The way I see it is that we had children who came into the study allergic to peanuts, having to avoid peanuts in their diet, being very vigilant around that, carrying a lot of anxiety with that," lead research Mimi Tang told The Guardian. "At the end of treatment and even four years later, many of these children who had benefited from our probiotic peanut therapy could now live like a child who didn’t have a peanut allergy.”

Before anyone goes and starts small-dosing their children with peanuts, remember: There's a lot of work still to be done.

This was a small trial and first needs to be replicated on a larger scale. Even then, it may be a while before the therapy becomes a logical treatment option for kids with peanut allergies.

But this is still a huge win for science and must come as a ray of hope for many parents out there. With the number of kids in the United States with peanut allergies closing in on 2%, we're long overdue for some good news for the families affected by this.

Nutter Butters all around!

Terence Power / TikTok

A video of a busker in Dublin, Ireland singing "You've Got a Friend in Me" to a young boy with autism is going viral because it's just so darn adorable. The video was filmed over a year ago by Terence Power, the co-host of the popular "Talking Bollox Podcast."

It was filmed before face masks were required, so you can see the boy's beautiful reaction to the song.

Power uploaded it to TikTok because he had just joined the platform and had no idea the number of lives it would touch. "The support on it is unbelievable. I posted it on my Instagram a while back and on Facebook and the support then was amazing," he told Dublin Live.

"But I recently made TikTok and said I'd share it on that and I'm so glad I did now!" he continued.

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True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

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