According to a recent study carried out by the National Institute of Allergy and Infections Disease (NIAID) around 30 percent of Americans suffer from food allergies. Food allergies are often diagnosed through various skin tests. But MIT Chemical Engineer Christopher Love believes he has found and introduced a new and better way to diagnose food allergies. The new technology look into individual immune cells taken out from patients, for food allergies took place through milk and peanuts. They show a correct measurement of the cell’s outcome through such allergens. Through this novel technology food allergies could be diagnosed with an ordinary blood test. This test would be faster and reliable from the tests being taken now-a-days. A lot of time is lost now-a-days in diagnosing the correct cause of the allergens. According to May 12 edition of Journal of the American Medical Association, in U.S. 6 to 8 percent of children under the age of four and 4 percent of kids of age five or older suffer from at least one food allergy. Random studies have divulged that most of the allergens take place due to eggs, milk, peanuts and soy. Most of the food allergies take place when a protein in food is mistaken by our immune system as a harmful substance. These food allergens affect could be seen in a person by way of hives, rashes, gastrointestinal debacle and difficulty in breathing. Some allergies could be life-threatening and need immediate medical attention.
Those persons who are diagnosed for food allergies have to undergo a skin test. In this method small quantity of potential allergens are put under the skin of the patient’s arm. During this test, if a patient’s blood has found to be some antibodies of particular allergens, the person suspected for all allergens would start feeling redness and itching at that particular spot. This itchiness occurs due to the release of histamines. But this test has a drawback, for example the presence of antibodies would not always mean that patient is allergic to that particular substance.
However, Love’s new technology follows’ some other approaches. In this new methodology instead of looking for antibodies, the system detects patient’s immune cells for tiny proteins called cytokines. In this test blood is drawn from the patient while white blood cells are isolated from the sample. They after being placed into around 100,000 individual cells are exposed to potential allergens. By employing these technique researchers take “prints” of the cytokines which are produced by every cell. Through this process amount of cytokines so secreted by individual cells is correctly measured. According to Amal Assa’ad Professor of Pediatric immunology and allergy, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, the technique to measure an individual’s immune cell is a great advancement. To fully test the implications these allergens “Would have to be tested on multiple patients in an effort to see the association with clinical allergy.
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