New Allergy Detection Test

Food allergies are becoming more prevalent, especially during childhood. Identifying allergenic foods, however, is no easy task. Standard procedures like immunoglobulin E (IgE) or skin tests frequently generate false positives, confusing sensitivity for a real allergy. Other tests can be even more invasive or dangerous. Recently, however, a group of researchers from the Research Council of the United Kingdom, led by Dr. Alexandra Santos, have developed a non-invasive test with 98% specificity. This MAST cell activation test is a blood test that identifies activation of these cells in the presence of a real allergy. The test is five times less expensive than standard tests and not only detects the presence of an allergy, but its severity as well. Currently, this test identifies peanut allergies only, but researchers are working to include milk, eggs, sesame seeds, and other nuts.