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Friday, February 26, 2010

Blood Test Might Sort Out Milk Allergies

Since the NIH Lactose Intolerance conference I've been reporting on gave summaries only of previously published research, I interrupt here for some breaking news on a closely-allied front.

The HealthDay News service reported that:

A blood test may help identify children with milk allergy who can tolerate baked-milk products and those who may have a serious allergic reaction to any form of cow's milk, a new study shows.

Previous research found that up to 75 percent of children with milk allergy can tolerate heated milk.

This new study found that immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies from children who reacted to both baked milk and unheated milk bound to more epitopes than IgE antibodies from children who had an allergic reaction only to unheated milk. There was a direct link between the severity of the allergic reaction and the number of epitopes recognized by IgE antibodies from a child.

"IgE antibodies can travel to a type of cell that releases chemicals and causes an allergic reaction. Each type of IgE has specific 'radar' for each type of allergen, such as cow's milk. An epitope is a site on a particular molecule, such as a milk protein, that stimulates specific immune responses," according to a news release from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

The actual report will be released tomorrow, Saturday, at the Academy's annual meeting.

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