While you may have grown up without ever hearing of a food allergy, today an estimated 26 million people (including at least six million children) have one. But researchers now think they have the answer to possibly eliminating peanut allergies. How? By feeding kids peanuts early and often. Tony Dokoupil reports on a rare reversal of medical advice.
There has been a striking generational increase in life-threatening food allergies in Westernized societies. One hypothesis to explain this rising prevalence is that twenty-first century lifestyle practices, including misuse of antibiotics, dietary changes, and higher rates of Caesarean birth and formula feeding have altered intestinal bacterial communities; early-life alterations may be particularly detrimental.