Monday, February 7, 2011

Food Allergy Test Using Saliva

A study written in the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology peaked my interest recently. Researchers set out to test the concentration of a specific saliva mast cell to see if it helped determine whether or not a food allergy was present. Using patients already suspected of food allergy, participants were instructed to chew the offending food until they developed symptoms.

What researchers discovered was that concentrations of this mast cell peaked after about four minutes following the onset of symptoms. The conclusion of the study is that the measurement of this specific mast cell in saliva may be helpful in diagnosing food allergy.

My interest in this is that we may have another way to diagnose food allergy. Blood and skin tests have proved to be less than ideal for reliability and I've outlined before the difficulties of relying on food challenges. We are in dire need of better testing alternatives.

While this study had a small sample size, I remain hopeful that it is another key to help unlock the mystery of food allergy.
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