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Food allergies may be underdiagnosed

Category: Allergy Testing

Many Americans believe they have no tolerance for certain foods, but food allergy testshave shown that a far smaller percentage of the population actually has a condition.

This may be because some people misinterpret their body's reaction to certain foods, but some doctors believe it is because current food allergy tests may be flawed.

This prompted MIT researcher Christopher Love to design a new food allergy test which analyzes immune cells which can allow for more precise measurements of how an individual's body may react to certain foods, like milk and peanuts.

Love said that some current allergy tests are unreliable because a variety of circumstances could lead to some people's test results, but a simple blood test could accurately diagnose most conditions.

"With a large number of diagnoses, it's ambiguous," he said. "A lot of times it's almost circumstantial whether you're allergic to one thing or another."

Currently between six and eight percent of children under the age of four have diagnosed food allergies and four percent of the rest of Americans have been diagnosed, according to the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases.

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