Just a couple of weeks ago another of those "major medical studies" announced its findings, this time with strong evidence suggesting that kids are much less likely to develop peanut allergies if they are fed peanut products as infants from 4 to 11 months old.
This would be immensely important news, not so much for those who already suffer from potentially lethal peanut allergy, but at least for future generations who may have a better crack at avoiding it.
It would also be good news to peanut nuts like me - hardly a day goes by when I don't have peanuts, either as peanut butter on breakfast toast, a handful of goobers roasted in the shell for a mid-morning snack, or roasted, salted Virginia peanuts to accompany a glass of wine. Might it be possible that airlines could again offer peanuts as a snack on flights? And by the way is this what people mean when they say they want more legume in airplane seats?
Doctors (pediatricians and immunologists alike) have professed themselves astounded by the results of the new study. The idea of early exposure to allergens seems revolutionary to them. I guess it really is, since it directly contradicts what has been standard practice for at least a generation, i.e. to keep kids away from allergens in infancy.
And that's what I find astounding. To me, it's the advice to keep kids away from allergens that sounds like voodoo medicine. How on earth did that idea get traction? (Probably it was another "major medical study" done in the 1950s?)
Not having kids myself, I wasn't aware kid-docs were dispensing this sort of advice, but I don't think this was the usual practice in the 40s. Probably at that time nobody thought much about child allergies at all. If they had, though, I'd like to think they would have put their common sense to work and let kids eat whatever came along. Isn't that Mother Nature's default position?