Dr. Andy

Reflections on medicine and biology among other things

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Kissing and peanut allergy

I missed this while I was away, but apparently Christina Desforges didn't actually die of peanut allergy.
A 15-year-old Canadian girl with a peanut allergy did not die because of kissing her boyfriend who had eaten peanut butter, a coroner has ruled.

But Saguenay coroner Michel Miron did not reveal why Christina Desforges died last November because he has yet to make his final report.
According to another article, she died of cerebral anoxia or lack of oxygen to the brain. I hate to speculate, but there was recently a tragic case in Pittsburgh where a pediatrician's son died of asphyxia. Apparently, some kids play a game called "knock out" where they strangle themselves near the point of passing out to get a high as bloodflow returns. I'm tempted to make fun of this as natural selection at work, but I'm sure many of us did things as teenagers that seem crazy in retrospect.

As I pointed out at the time, the timing of the death would have suggested that very little peanut protein was left in the boyfriend's mouth. At the AAAAI meeting I just got back from, a group presented a study of how long saliva contains peanut protein:
The new study, presented at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology's annual meeting in Miami Beach, involved 10 people and found that the peanut allergen was detectable in a majority of subjects after eating but left the saliva after several hours.
This seems like reasonable advice, although I'd consider avoiding peanut altogether. So as of now there are again no documented cases of deaths from food allergies after kissing.


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