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New Research Study Reports Prevalence of Misdiagnosis for Children with Food Allergies

Stanley M. Fineman, MD

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A recent study published in The Journal of Pediatrics reports that the use of a Food Allergy Blood test panel often results in misdiagnosis in children who are tested for food allergies.

An academic center in Dallas conducted a retrospective analysis of all new adolescent patients seen in their allergy referral clinic over a 15 month period for the study. The study found that 35% of 797 new patients had undergone a food allergy blood panel before coming to the clinic, and nearly half of these patients were restricting certain foods from their diet as a result. However, 89% of these children were able to reintroduce at least one of these previously restricted foods back into their diet without a problem, indicating that a misdiagnosis had been made. The four most common food allergens in this study were milk, eggs, peanut and tree nuts.

There are several reasons for potential misdiagnosis of a food allergy, including a lack of detailed understanding of abnormal immune system responses to one or more specific foods, also known as IgE mediated allergic reaction, and the importance of obtaining a detailed clinical history and targeting allergy testing accordingly. Additionally, other allergic diseases such as atopic dermatitis may be associated with elevations of IgE, which can produce potential false positive test results that are not clinically useful.

It is not uncommon for patients to suspect they have a food allergy when really they are experiencing a food intolerance and not a true allergy. Referral to a Board Certified Allergist is recommended to determine an accurate diagnosis. Contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Read the full study here.