Blood Test Reveals what Children really are suffering from Nut Allergies

Monday 11th January 2010

Recently we’ve all witnessed the growing concern for those who suffer from nut allergies, with nut allergy warnings on many foods packaging, but it seems we’ve been a little bit too “nutty” over the allergy. Research conducted at University Hospital South Manchester at the University of Manchester reveals a new mode of testing that is far more accurate than previous ones, which have led to many fake results.

Due to the inaccurate allergy tests that have been present until recently many people could have been misdiagnosed or overestimated when it comes to their peanut allergies. Normal tests are designed to pick up any antibodies from the peanut, many of which can be insignificant to the onset of an allergy. However, this new blood test picks out the specific antibodies within the peanut that are responsible for causing such allergic reactions. The research was conducted using 1,000 children who were given a cookie containing nuts or no nuts. Out of this test group it was found the blood test was 97% accurate declaring one in 50 children were actually allergic to peanuts. This is a stark comparison to previous figures that have been as high as a tenth of children suffering from the allergy. Interestingly, the test did find that 80% of children that had been thought to have an allergy did not have a peanut allergy but other allergies such as a pollen allergy or hay fever.

With some allergic reactions being potentially fatal, it is vital to correctly diagnose the allergy to ensure the sufferer can be cautious when it comes to their allergy trigger. The researchers also hope that in time the same test can be developed to produce tests for other allergies such as fish, milk and eggs. Equally, they hope to be able to begin to refine the test in order to predict the extremities of the allergy; e.g. whether it will cause a rash or could potentially cause something more serious.

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