Reuters:Placebo effect seen in kids during allergy testing

5 replies [Last post]
By Nutternomore on Sun, 08-26-07, 05:44

[url="http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSCOL36959020070813"]http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSCOL36959020070813[/url]
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[b]Placebo effect seen in kids during allergy testing[/b]

Mon Aug 13, 2007 3:21PM EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A "placebo effect" can cause a diverse array of symptoms in children when undergoing food allergy testing, according to the results of a study published in the current issue of Allergy. One of these effects is that some patients believe they have had an allergic reaction when they have actually received with the placebo.

This reaction is sometimes referred to as a "nocebo" effect. The more conventional placebo reaction is an improvement of symptoms after receiving an inactive substance rather than the real medicine.

"To date, the occurrence and diagnostic significance of placebo events have not extensively been documented," Dr. B. J. Vlieg-Boerstra and colleagues from the University of Groningen, the Netherlands point out.

To investigate, Vlieg-Boerstra's group conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled food "challenge," in which a patient is exposed a substance that he is likely to be allergic to. A double-blind study is when the doctor and the patients do not know which is the placebo and which is the real medicine.

The researchers examined the occurrence and features of placebo reactions after 132 challenges in 105 children (average age 5.3 years) who were suspected of having an allergy to cow's milk, egg, peanut, hazelnut or soy. Challenges with a placebo or food were performed on different days with at least a 2-week interval in between.

A total of 17 (12.9 percent) false-positive reactions to the placebo occurred in 17 different children, meaning the children developed food allergy symptoms after being exposed to the placebo. Most of these symptoms (65 percent) were objective, such as rash, hives diarrhea and vomiting. The other symptoms were subjective -- reported by the child but couldn't really be verified.

The researchers conclude that doctors should be aware that some reactions to food allergy challenges may be false-positive, and that these sensitivity tests will need to be repeated.

SOURCE: Allergy, August 2007.

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By Momcat on Sun, 08-26-07, 07:06

Quote:
Most of these symptoms (65 percent) were objective, such as rash, hives diarrhea and vomiting.

I can see diarrhea and vomiting, but psychosomatic rashes and hives? I'm amazed that could be the case!

Cathy

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By notnutty on Sun, 08-26-07, 14:07

Quote:[b] To investigate, Vlieg-Boerstra's group conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled food "challenge," in which a patient is exposed a substance that he is likely to be allergic to. A double-blind study is when the doctor and the patients do not know which is the placebo and which is the real medicine. [/b]

I am curious as to how this is accomplished. "Likely to be allergic to"? Huh? How do they know whether the child was "actually" allergic to the placebo or not? Maybe the child has a reaction because the child [b]was actually [/b] allergic.

Did I misunderstand something?

[This message has been edited by notnutty (edited August 26, 2007).]

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By perpetually perplexed on Sun, 08-26-07, 15:43

Quote: but psychosomatic rashes and hives? I'm amazed that could be the case!

Cathy[/B]

I think that it is true.

My story goes something like this...I had a maddening crush on a guy that was a year older than me for about a year. He was very shy. We would run into each other at the tennis courts up at the high school kind of often. Just smiled never spoke. One day he said "HI" to me. Actually spoke!! Well that just left me in la la goo goo land. He immediately left and I started getting itchy - all over. I got on my bike and rode as fast as I could home. About a mile. By the time I got home I was covered in hives from head to toe. Big ole ones. Like an idiot, I did not tell my parents and I went and hid in my bedroom until they went away (about 30 - 45 minutes). I just "knew" that I got the hives from my nerves!!! I have never shared this story with anyone before...It feels weird to share.

PP

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By doofusclo on Sun, 08-26-07, 17:03

I understand the hives. I have no food allergies but had stress hives for the three months leading up to my wedding. I bet I will get them for the two weeks leading up to my daughters allergy appointment. I try different stress managements techniques with no success.
Cindy

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Cindy O

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By starlight on Sun, 08-26-07, 19:14

I believe it. My mother tells me that growing up, she would get hives head to toe before any big event, like Christmas or her birthday. My grandparents kept bringing her to the doctor, and they finally decided the excitement just overwhelmed her system.

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