Approximately 4-6% of children in the United States suffer from a form of food allergy.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls this situation a “growing food safety and public health concern.”
According to the experts, determining if someone suffers from a food allergy and determining the severity of the allergy are two different things and can be very tricky to detect.
In order to discover if a patient has a form of allergy, the doctors need to perform various tests, like pricking the skin or taking blood samples from the patient and analyze it.
The doctors do not have a simple test that can asses the severity of the patients’ allergies to specific foods.
There are situations when patients need to eat foods they are allergic to in the presence of a doctor, so that the expert can determine how severe the allergic reaction really is.
That’s why a team of scientists from Mount Sinai Health System wanted to see if there is a way to create a blood test that can predict the severity of the allergies and possibly replace the tests that require to patients to ingest the allergic foods.
The researchers published their findings in a study in the journal The Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
The new test is called basophil activation test (BAT) and according to the scientists, it’s a blood test that can measure the levels of the immune cell known as basophil. This cell is activated when it interacts with specific foods.
The new blood test was used on 67 patients between the ages of 12 and 45 who were sensitive to specific foods.
The scientists also tested the volunteers using exposure tests and compared the reactions to fish, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish and sesame; the patients were also given a placebo.
The test proved to be accurate and it showed a high correlation with the scores of the BAT test and the severity of the patients’ allergic reactions.
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