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Nutty Behavior Over Peanuts

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Tagged As: Allergy, Health, and Society

Harvard professor of medical sociology, Dr. Nicholas Christakis, strongly believes Americans have gone over the top in their fears of peanut allergies. A Massachusetts school bus was evacuated when a stray peanut was found lying in the aisle. Christakis's children attend school in that district prompting him to publish commentary in the British Medical Journal regarding exaggerated hysteria over peanut allergies. He argues that per year only 150 of America's 3.3 million peanut afflicted citizens actually die from an attack. These numbers are far too low to actually incite the sort of anxiety peanut allergists have been imposing on their communities. Considering the number of people that die from other preventable causes, the peanut allergy epidemic is nothing short of ridiculous. Furthermore, Christakis points out the intentional avoidance of exposure to nuts may actually be fueling the rise in human intolerance as cases of peanut allergies accelerate in locales that put emphasis on nut isolation. He laments that discussions on the matter quickly degenerate to heated PB&J versus death arguments - as demonstrated on OmniNerd not too long ago.

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