Cleveland.com recently reported that the future may hold a new more reliable test for peanut allergy. Patients are currently tested via skin prick or blood tests, however researchers from the University of Manchester in England may have come up with an alternative.
This new diagnostic test, called component-resolved diagnostics, measures the reaction to individual proteins in peanut as opposed to the current tests which contain a mixture of proteins. Apparently the body may recognize some of the proteins in the currents tests as other allergens like grass and mold leading to false positive results.
The lead researcher Adnan Custovic found that 97% of children in the study, who had a true peanut allergy, reacted strongly to a peanut protein called ARA h 2 that is measured by this new test.
933 children participated in the study and many have been followed since birth. Of the 933, 110 tested positive for peanut allergy using traditional skin and blood tests, however four fifths of these children could eat peanuts without reaction during a food challenge.
Amy Marks, a fellow at Allergy/Immunology Associates in South Euclid believes there is not enough data yet to be sure whether this test could be used as a new diagnostic tool. “You need a very large patient population size to have good data to formulate what this means.”
For now, the only way to diagnose a true food allergy is by a food challenge. ____________________________________________________________ Ruth LovettSmith is the mother of a child with multiple life threatening food allergies and founder of Best Allergy Sites: an online food allergy directory and resource guide.