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Allergy Testing

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Allergy Testing

Postby Rachel » Thu Oct 11, 2001 7:22 pm

My 4 year old son has eczema - last year he lived in bandages or wet-wrap bandages.
I took him to a homeopath for an allergy test - based on electromagnetic responses. Based on the advice from this test I've modified his diet, and the eczema is significantly better. It has now remained much better for several months. This test picked up a wheat allergy (amongst a few other less common foods).
As a scientist, I'm now interested in finding out more about this type of test. Can anyone offer any explanation as to how it works, does it work?

Re: Allergy Testing

Postby Clair » Sun Nov 04, 2001 12:17 pm

Hi all,

Just had the test results for my little one, Efiah - blood taken in August, results just got lost in the hospital system for some time...

She has been confirmed RAST positive to milk, egg white and cat (poor old cat went as soon as eczema started, anyway!).

But we also have some 'borderline results in the immunoglobulin subclasses' - can anyone shed light on what this means? I'm trying to speak to the Consultant but she's hard to find at the best of times!

I'd appreciate anyone's thoughts, especially if they've had the tests too!


Re: Allergy Testing

Postby Anonymous » Sun Nov 04, 2001 4:12 pm

what does RAST stand for? please

Re: Allergy Testing

Postby eczemavoice » Mon Nov 12, 2001 10:33 pm

copied across

By Clair on Friday, November 09, 2001 - 10:01 am:

We just had some RAST test results - it means radio allergo sorbant test (a blood test). We found allergies to milk, egg white and cats - which we're already avoiding. Our paediatrician arranged them.
Hope this is useful
Best of luck

By Kerry on Thursday, November 08, 2001 - 01:51 pm:

Can Deborah or anyone else tell me what a 'rast' test is? My son had the limited number of skin scratch tests that the hospital stocks, but he had a positive reaction only to egg -- even then the specialist said he didn't think it was a factor! In fact we've had him off egg since then but we've been using hydrocortisone each day, because he was in such a horrible state, so although the eczema is better, but not resolved, we don't know why. We've also had him off milk (though continued with cheese and yogurt as they're processed) to see if that helps. He had papules all up his arms, which was all the specialist (an allergologist) was really interested in as he says they are more of an allergic reaction (rather than intolerance -- he appears to be pretty uninterested in the actual raw eczema, and seems only concerned with anaphylaxis, vomiting, etc.), and they have improved -- again, not sure why. Last week my son an erythema reaction and hives on his wrists (for which we had to give antihistamine) when he had soya milk with pea protein (other soya seems okay) and an organic vege soup which contained red lentils and peas -- we have long suspected peas and had removed them for a long time, but recently has shown no reaction to peas or beans -- I suspect the lentils. I feel it's pointless returning to the specialist as he obviously thinks I'm neurotic... anyone else feel that way?

Re: Allergy Testing

Postby eczemavoice » Mon Nov 12, 2001 10:36 pm

Clair - I'm not sure but I think there are also IgA and IgM as well as IgE. These might be the 'subclasses'?

Re: Allergy Testing

Postby David » Wed Dec 12, 2001 4:32 pm

RAST is an acronym for RadioAllergoSorbent Test.
RAST tests for Immunoglobulin E antibodies (IgE) in the blood which are specific to certain proteins, including food proteins. Immunoglobulin E is implicated in immediate allergic reactions like hives, angioedeme (swelling) and, in extrme cases, anaphylaxis.
RAST is of limited value in infants: it sometimes shows positive for things that don't in fact cause a problem, and negative for things that do. The best guide is probably a parent's observation.
There has recently been some attention focussed on the role of Immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies in delayed hypersensitivity reactions but there is as yet no large body of evidence.

Re: Allergy Testing

Postby David » Wed Dec 12, 2001 4:47 pm

It does not work.
An early and famous 'con artist' was the frenchman who in the 1700s said he had an infallible method for telling the sex of an unborn child. So sure was he of success that he offered a full refund in case of failure. Of course, he got to keep the money half the time!
Allergy or intolerance tends to be to foods we most commonly eat. hence, in the west, problesm with wheat and dairy are relatively common while in the east they are not, but rice is. So, if you simply advise everyone you see to avoid dairy and wheat, quite a number will actually improve. Not due to any 'test'. There is no shred of credible scientific evidence for any 'electromagnetic' test for allergy. Note that there is some statistially significant evidence for homoeopathy however.

Re: Allergy Testing

Postby Clair » Mon Dec 17, 2001 2:52 pm

I've had the electromagnetic test done myself a few years ago, and 'found' I was sensitive typically to the things I ate most, most of which I don't actually react to. I do have a huge problem with cheese however, and it didn't pick that up, so I haven't been impressed with the test.

My daughter has severe eczema and I am currently reading Jennifer Worth's book on how she identified her food intolerances and eliminated them and her eczema. All this occurs at a funny time - my partner lost his job a few weeks ago and I spoke to his personnel officer in connection with something. Somehow we got to talking about eczema and she said her daughter had a problem with strawberries. Well, I've been giving my little girl strawberry juice with probiotic since we returned from holiday because I wanted to replenish her 'good' bacteria. But she has really deteriorated since then, which I put down to the central heating being on more. But more interesting, this ties in with Mrs Worth's assertion that overreliance on certain foods in the diet can create an intolerance. I wonder if that is what I've done recently, and am now trying to widen her food range again. The book has some useful advice about salicylates (which have been discussed on this board before) and also about food groups (ie if one food reacts with you, another will - little families of related foods) which is useful. I'll let you know the conclusions when I get there....
Here's to encouraging thought on these topics....

By the way, Madam Flaky - if you read this, the book might be useful to you because the author was a veggie too, and she had to drastically restrict her diet because of the eczema - must warn you though, in the end she did have to go back to eating meat.

Best wishes all

Re: Allergy Testing

Postby Sab » Tue Dec 18, 2001 11:42 am

I think David is probably right about the "get it right 50% of the time" theory. I suppose if you suggest an intolerance to the usual suspects you are bound to get it right at some point.

We currently have Katie's skin under good control with her restricted diet and I have restricted the foods that I thought were causing a problem. I kept a food diary and have continued to do so (although now less detailed)to pinpoint triggers. Eggs is the obvious one, but she has such a violent reaction to them that it would be hard not to notice that one. The less obvious are dairy, fish, tomatoes and oats. I also have my suspicions about onions and garlic, so have cut down drastically on these too.

I'm amazed that time after time doctors/consultants have told us that diet has no part to play in eczema when quite clearly from this website it has a significant part to play - not always I appreciate, but quite often. When will the medical profession sit up and take notice. It just makes me angry!

Sab x

Re: Allergy Testing

Postby Melanie » Sun Apr 28, 2002 7:30 pm

Is a RAST test any use in a teenager? My 13 yr old has just had one and we're waiting for the results.


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