New Method to Detect Food Allergies

Saturday 22nd May 2010

A new method to diagnose food allergies has been unveiled following research that suggests that an increasing number of people may incorrectly believe that they suffer from food allergies. Researchers at America's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases warn that unreliable skin tests could be responsible for 25% of Americans wrongly believing that they suffer from food allergies.

However, new technology described in the journal Lab on a Chip could help to better diagnose allergies to milk, peanuts and more by analysing the allergen response of individual immune cells taken from patients. The new method would see doctors using blood tests instead of skin tests to quickly detect and diagnose allergic reactions. Blood taken from patients would be analysed in order to determine if the body was producing antibodies as an allergic response. Doctors would then be able to use the identified antibodies to diagnose food allergies.

It is hoped that using this new method could result in better and more efficient diagnosis of allergies in future. Furthermore, researchers at the paediatric immunology department of the Children's Hospital, Boston, are currently carrying out further research that will study whether the technology can be used to track changes in allergy sensitivity in children who are allergic to milk.


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