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May 2009

Bo Eats Peanut Butter M&Ms!

Yesterday, Bo achieved an amazing milestone in his peanut allergy desensitization treatment at Arkansas Children's Hospital by eating more than 30 peanut butter M&Ms without an allergic reaction! Bo_eating_peanut_butter_candy_5_04_09_small  

Let's pause and reflect back to let that sink in because it's been a long journey to get Bo to this point with his life threatening peanut allergy. Prior to eating the peanut butter M&Ms yesterday under the watchful eye of his peanut allergy study nurses and doctor, it had been more than 2 years since Bo had tasted peanut butter. That was his first time tasting peanut butter when he bit into a chocolate candy at age 4 not knowing it had peanut butter in it. Even though he immediately spit the candy out, not liking the taste, he started to go into anaphylactic shock within minutes rapidly progressing from instant mouth itching and hives to difficulty breathing and a severe drop in blood pressure.

Bo had always told us he hated peanuts and was allergic to them though to our knowledge he had never eaten them since he always said he did not like them. We never really understood how he knew he didn't like peanuts and figured he would just try them one day when he felt like it.

Days after this episode we had confirmation that Bo was indeed severly allergic to peanuts. In fact, multiple rounds of food allergy testing demonstrated he would have strong reactions to just 1/5th of a peanut.

So now after eating increasing amounts of peanut flour every day for a year in the peanut allergy desensitization study in Little Rock, the amount of peanut flour had become so large that it is not very palatable or easy to eat. So the treatment protocol allows for the daily dosage to be switched from peanut flour to certain foods containing real peanuts that have a known, consistently measurable amount of peanut protein. (NOTE: thanks to Mars company/M&M Candies for providing the peanut protein content information of their candies to the peanut allergy study staff and shame on Reese's candies for refusing to provide this information to support the research.)

Bo_skin_prick_allergy_test_5_04_09_small  So yesterday, after a skin prick test, blood work and then a few anxious moments about the reality of what we were asking him to do... Bo slowly began eating the peanut butter M&Ms... a lot of them!

Now, every day Bo will eat a measured amount of peanut butter M&Ms for his daily peanut desensitization dosage. His blood will be tested every few months to monitor the level of peanut specific IgE antibodies it is producing to the peanut protein. If his peanut specific antibody count drops to a low enough number, the study will have Bo stop eating the daily dosages for a period of time and then remeasure his peanut protein antibody count to see if the effects on his immunology system are long term. Now you're caught up.

FYI, we have been told that the peanut allergy and egg allergy desensitization studies at Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock are currently full and are NOT taking new applicants.

God bless,

Bo's Parents