ALLERGY BLOOD TESTS
ANCHOR LEAD: ARE BLOOD TESTS FOR ALLERGIES UNRELIABLE? ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Can food allergies be assessed with a blood test? No, contends a recent article in the New York Times, but Johns Hopkins expert Robert Hamilton begs to differ.
HAMILTON: The key point here is that the article comes down very heavy on the blood test, and basically says that the blood test is unreliable. That it is unreliable because it does not distinguish between similar proteins in different foods. However, the real issue is that the blood test is in fact giving you a measure of the presence of antibody or the so called state of sensitization. It does not diagnose disease. The allergist takes the information from the blood test and interprets it properly. :31
Hamilton says proper interpretation depends on a careful patient history and perhaps food challenge testing, where the food that is supposedly causing problems may be fed in small amounts in a clinic to see what happens. But the blood tests themselves are accurate. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey