Eating baked goods that contain milk may help children to overcome milk allergies.
Anna Nowak-Wegrzyn, of the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, and the study's co-author, said when children are given baked goods that contain milk over the course of months or years, the symptoms disappear faster than children who simply avoided milk products.
AdvertisementShe said the study is "a step in the direction of providing a more personalised approach for treating food allergies".
"One approach is not right for all children with milk allergy. The majority does not need to and should not strictly avoid milk," ABC Science quoted her as saying.
She cautions, though, that parents with milk-allergic children should only try the muffin treatment under a doctor's supervision.
Milk allergy is not the same as lactose intolerance, which is an inability to digest milk products.
Children with allergies can react to the proteins in milk and cheese with symptoms ranging from mild itching to potentially deadly anaphylactic shock.
In the study milk-allergic children who were able to tolerate the muffins from the start were also much more likely to eventually grow out of their milk allergies, hinting at the possibility of a muffin test to distinguish transient allergies from more severe ones.
The idea behind the muffin experiment was that heating milk changes the shape of its proteins, lessening the chance the immune system will react.
The study has been published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.