New treatment helps severe food allergies

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Aug. 3: Grab Some Nuts Day

Some children are overcoming their egg allergies by eating eggs.

Whether it is nuts, eggs, milk or shellfish, millions of children in the U.S. suffer from food allergies.

Little Tad Kuroda was diagnosed with one after eating cake on his first birthday.

He was allergic to the egg in the cake. He avoids eggs in the scrambled form, but also the eggs hidden in baked goods, ice cream and even pasta.

"You worry a lot about safety, because even the tiniest amount of egg could kill him," said his mother, Stephanie Kuroda.

However, in this case, the tiniest amount of egg all but cured him.

"What we started off with was literally about 1/10,000th of an egg," said Dr. Wesley Burks, of the University of North Carolina.

Dr. Burks led a multi-center study of oral immunotherapy to treat egg allergies in kids.

All 55 study participants were given either a placebo or egg white powder. Neither the doctors nor the patients knew what they were getting.

Those participants who received the real egg whites got a small amount, then gradually ate more. After a year, half of the participants could eat a whole egg without complication. After two years, three-quarters could do it.

However, Dr. Burks stops short of calling this a cure.

"I think what you can say is that they're eating eggs in their diet now, and they're eating them without symptoms," said Dr. Burks.

More studies are needed, but doctors say if all goes well, the treatment could be available to the public within the next 5 to 10 years.

Doctors are also using the same technique with other highly allergenic foods, including nuts and milk.

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