By any account, food allergy rates have skyrocketed over the past few decades, leading researchers puzzled at why so many more people have developed allergies. According to one research team, the rise in food allergy rates is actually caused by the method of detecting them. This team of scientists found that a reliance on traditional allergy tests – including blood and skin-prick testing – often lead to misdiagnosis.
Now, they are warning doctors that these testing methods may not be reliable ways to diagnose food allergies, says theDaily Mail.Clinics are being urged to consider test results as just one piece of evidence, along with the patient’s medical history and symptoms.
Lead researcher, Robert Wood of New York’s Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, noted that allergy tests can help doctors make a diagnosis, but also cautioned that “Tests by themselves are not diagnostic magic bullets or foolproof predictors of clinical disease. Many children with positive tests results do not have allergic symptoms and some children with negative test results have allergies.” Past research has shown that as many as 8 percent of children tested will have a positive skin or blood test, but only about one percent of them have clinical symptoms of allergies.