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!

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


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This article originally appeared on 03.19.15


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