Study: Food allergy tests give incomplete results

May 13, 2010 3:46:03 PM PDT
A new study says common tests for allergies may not be all that useful.

Researchers say nearly 30 percent of Americans think they have some form of food allergy, but the reality is that less than eight percent of children and five percent of adults actually do.

The study says the problem is testing. Traditional skin-prick tests and blood tests only indicate if your body produces antibodies, but do not show if your body can actually tolerate the food.

"The oral food challenge is probably the most definitive and it's what we call the 'gold standard' because there we're actually having the person ingest it and see whether or not symptoms come on," says Dr. Hugh Sampson at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. "The problem with doing that is it puts the person at risk of having allergic reaction."

The study can be found in the Journal of the American Medical Association.


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