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Food allergy research lacking

Wednesday May 12th, 2010

Researchers need to find treatments to cure food allergies, according to a major analysis published last night.

Current treatments only target symptoms or treat the severe reaction of anaphylaxis, according to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

More than two per cent of people suffer from food allergies and mostly treat them by not eating the food that endangers them - so-called elimination diets.

The researchers say there is not even agreement about how to diagnose food allergy. They say the three tried and tested methods are skin prick testing, testing for specific antibodies to food in the body - IgE testing - and so-called food challenges, when a patient tries different foods to test for reactions.

Dr Jennifer Schneider Chafen, of the Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA, writes: "This systematic review of food allergies found that the evidence on the prevalence, diagnosis, management, and prevention of food allergies is voluminous, diffuse, and critically limited by the lack of uniformity for the diagnosis of a food allergy, severely limiting conclusions about best practices for management and prevention," the authors write."

* A second study yesterday linked egg and milk allergy in infants to the highly dangerous peanut allergy.

A study of infants with milk and egg allergy found unexpectedly large numbers of them showing evidence of being allergic to peanuts.

The researchers from the US Consortium of Food Allergy Research said parents of children with milk and egg allergies should check with a doctor before exposing them to peanuts or peanut products.

More than 500 infants were studied for the research, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

JAMA. 2010;303[18]:1848-1856

Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2010.02.038 (2010)

Tags: Allergies & Asthma | Child Health | Diet & Food | North America

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