About The Gazette Search Back Issues Contact Us    
The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University March 31, 2008 | Vol. 37 No. 28
Small Study Shows Kids' Drinking More Milk Might Ease Milk Allergy

Feeding children with milk allergies increasingly higher "doses" of milk might help them overcome, or at least ease, allergic reactions over time, according to results of a small study led by Johns Hopkins Children's Center researchers.

Researchers compared allergic reactions to milk in 11 children ages 6 to 17 with known milk allergies. Five of the children were given increasingly higher doses of milk powder, starting at less than .001 ounces, slowly working their way up to .01 ounces over several months, and eventually consuming anywhere between .08 ounces and .2 ounces. The other six children received a placebo that tasted and looked identical to milk powder.

After six months, both groups were given milk products in a medical setting. The five children who had received regular doses of the dairy substance were better able to tolerate the foods with fewer symptoms, such as hives and upset stomach, compared to the six children who took the placebo. Even though the children who increasingly consumed milk during the study had more antibodies against it in their blood, they ultimately processed the foods better than those who took the placebo.

"Oral immunotherapy appears to slowly retrain the immune system to tolerate the allergens in milk that previously caused allergic reactions," said Robert Wood, senior investigator on the study and director of Allergy and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center.

Food allergies have been steadily rising in the last decade and are becoming harder to outgrow, research shows. An estimated 2.5 percent of U.S. children under the age of 5 have milk allergies.

Wood cautions that the findings are preliminary and parents and caregivers should not try to conduct oral immunotherapy without medical supervision.
— Katerina Pesheva


The Gazette | The Johns Hopkins University | Suite 540 | 901 S. Bond St. | Baltimore, MD 21231 | 443-287-9900 |