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Fish-specific allergies identified in studies

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Some people are allergic to specific types of fish and even certain species, according to recent studies.

A group of scientists at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, the University of Leipzig and the Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen have published results in the Journal of Investigational Allergology and Clinical Immunology which provide insight into fish allergies.

Identifying allergens

Researchers pointed out that species-specific allergens were identified, making some avoidance strategies easier to cope with. The most common allergen is parvalbumin, a calcium-binding protein. Other substances that can trigger reactions are often overlooked, the researchers say, because they've been overshadowed by the more frequent parvalbumin.

"The tests that are currently used are very non-specific," says Dr Janina Tomm from the Helmholtz Center, who specializes in research into proteins. "For some people who suffer from fish allergies there may be hope of finding a fish that they can tolerate if we managed to make the relevant tests suitable for mass implementation and use them in allergy diagnostics."

These findings could be significant as they could mean that fish, an important global food source, could become part of the diet again for many who have been avoiding it. The studies into these allergies are part of a broader Leipzig Research Center for Civilization Diseases project.

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