A new scientific study has just concluded which aims to help those with severe peanut allergies reduce their life-threatening sensitivity to the nut. It was deemed “beyond exciting” that two-thirds of the participants were able to ingest the equivalent of two peanuts at the end of a year-long regimen. While the ability to eat two peanuts doesn’t sound like much, it would have a great impact on the millions of people impacted by the allergies.

The study carefully and slowly introduced gradual amounts of peanut protein over the course of six months, followed by an additional six months of maintenance. They started with the equivalent of one-third of a peanut and built tolerance from there.

The peanut study can provide a useful model for the introduction of new skills that are far from our comfort zone. If you are numbers adverse, you could start with looking at one line in a report and gradually over time expand your comfort to the other figures on that page. If you are “allergic” to public speaking, you could begin with a one-word answer and work your way up to full sentences, and then the ability to fully express your position. If your sensitivity has you shying away from technology, perhaps you could pick one piece of software or app and work your way up from looking at a screen to becoming comfortable with one command, etc.

Just as the goal of the peanut immunotherapy isn’t to have the participants eating peanut butter sandwiches, your goal doesn’t have to be to become an accountant, TED Talk presenter or IT professional. You just need to develop enough tolerance to become comfortable with what surrounds you.

Source: New peanut allergy drug shows ‘lifesaving” potential by Roni Caryn Robin, New York Times, November 18, 2108


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