There is a difference between food sensitization (positive specific IgE) and food allergy. How to predict who will develop allergy?

Food allergy is common, especially in childhood, where 6–8% of children are affected. Identification of markers for later development of food allergy is important.

This study examined the ability of repeated measurements of food sensitization (by specific IgE) in early childhood to predict doctor-diagnosed food allergy (DDFA) at the age of 6 years.

Blood samples were obtained at 2 and 6 years of age from 1082 children.

Early food allergen sensitization was a strong risk for food allergy (DDFA) at 6 years [odds ratio (OR)=4.7].

Persistent food allergen sensitization increased the risk of food allergy (DDFA) at 6 years even more (OR=6.1).

Early sensitized children with a history of parental atopy showed the highest risk for food allergy (DDFA) at 6 years.

The study authors concluded that food-sensitized children during the first 2 years of life, especially with a family history of atopy, are susceptible to development of food allergy later in life.

8 top allergens account for 90 percent of food allergies. Specific IgE levels (sIgE) that predict the likelihood of passing an oral food challenge are shown in the figure. (click to enlarge the image).

Prospective association between food sensitization and food allergy: results of the LISA birth cohort study. E. Schnabel et al. Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 2009.
Images source: Wikipedia, public domain.

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