The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) released a statement disagreeing with the findings of a study suggesting that the links between peanut allergy and asthma are common enough that children with an asthma diagnosis should be screened for peanut allergy as well.
The study in question was showcased at the American Thoracic Society’s annual meeting (read more here) and spread to news outlets quickly.
‘Unnecessary and unjustified use of resources’
According to allergist Matthew Greenhawt, MD, FACAAI, assistant professor at the University of Michigan:
Such testing could potentially lead to misdiagnosis, and represents an unnecessary and unjustified use of resources. While many of the children in the study are peanut sensitive on testing, it raises a question of relevance as to why testing was performed. There is no evidence that diagnosing peanut sensitization better controls chronic asthma. Chronic asthma is not a manifestation of peanut sensitization or allergy. There is no practical value to testing in this situation because these children are not showing any signs of possible peanut allergy.
Greenhawt further clarified that a sensitization does not necessarily mean the symptoms of asthma are allergy-related. He says the study has been misinterpreted by the media, who’ve ignored the difference between sensitization and an allergy.
“Chronic, poorly controlled asthma is not an indication of a ‘hidden’ food allergy,” Greenhawt said.