Study: What Causes Allergies?

A recent study published last week in PLOS Computational Biological found that the reason we’re allergic to some things such as peanuts and pollen is that they contain compounds that are also found in viruses. See, the immune system is designed to defend itself against these little bastards but sometimes, it gets confused, misidentifying a common food for a more dangerous virus.

It’s this immune confusion that almost killed my roommate freshman year when his buddy slathered peanut butter all over the door knobs of our room and sent the poor kid into anaphylactic shock. While this new study doesn’t immediately help those who are dangerously allergic to everyday foods, scientists contend that having a better understanding of the mechanisms that give rise to allergic reactions may lead to future treatments.