Provided by Mehmet Basaran, MD (Allergist)
Western medicine that we practice in the United States is currently based on observation, testing, diagnosis and treatment. Observation includes physical examination and a thorough history. Testing is selected based on the patient’s history and suspected causes of the patient’s problems. At Ohio ENT and Allergy Physicians, the board certified Allergist uses testing techniques and laboratory techniques that are proven to be safe and relevant, based on scientific study and published in peer-reviewed journals. Then the results, correlated with observations and physical examination, and plans of therapy are discussed with the patient.
Allergy prick skin testing is still the most physiologic form of testing for allergy. Blood tests such as RAST and Immunocap testing are helpful in that they determine if there is sensitization to a particular allergen. It must be correlated with physical and clinical symptoms. Another proven method of testing for allergies is a challenge. This can be an environmental challenge and done in research settings where patients are exposed to known allergens by breathing it in, or a food challenge when patients ingest a small increasing amounts of the food in question.
There are many other tests available. Many have not been proven to be of any clinical significance. For example, IgG4 is touted as a test for food sensitivities. However, IgG4 to foods can be found in many people who have absolutely no problems with foods. Testing for food sensitivities using IgG4 has no proven clinical benefit, and often leads to very strict restrictive diets that are totally unnecessary and may be emotionally or physically harmful.
Other tests have absolutely no basis in science. These include ALCAT testing, NuTron testing, Mediator release test, sublingual testing, provocative testing, food immune complex testing, applied kinesiology, electro-dermal testing, Neurological Stress Reduction Therapy, and laser testing and treatment. This is by no means a complete list. Many of these techniques cloak themselves in scientific jargon and claim to be cutting-edge, but really depend upon a poor understanding of physiology and science in general.