From the BBC
Doctors say a potential treatment for peanut allergy has transformed the lives of children taking part in a large clinical trial.
The 85 children had to eat peanut protein every day - initially in small doses, but ramped up during the study.
The findings, published in the Lancet, suggest 84% of allergic children could eat the equivalent of five peanuts a day after six months.
Excellent news. If you know someone with a peanut allergy it's potentially fatal and you've got to be careful, go out carrying an epi pen, etc. It still doesn't mean they can eat a bag of peanut brittle, but any contamination of nuts will not cause a problem. Well done to the people at Addenbrooke's for making the world a slightly better place.
There's a word for this, and it's known as mithridatism. Named after King Mithridates VI who was so scared of getting poisoned that he took small amounts of poison to build up a resistance. Ironically, he was later facing capture by Rome and tried to commit suicide by poison but couldn't because of this and had to get his bodyguard to stab him instead.
It's been a feature of some fiction, featuring both arsenic and iocaine, but in the real world people it's used by people who have to handle cobras as they can then build up a resistance to the venom.
Thursday, 30 January 2014
From the BBC