17% of Food-Allergic Children Have Sesame Allergy, NIH Study Shows

Jill Murphy, Assistant Editor
Published Online: Monday, November 4th, 2019
Sesame allergy is common among children with other food allergies, occurring in an estimated 17% of the population, according to researchers at the NIH. In addition, the study found that sesame antibody testing accurately predicts whether a child with food allergy is allergic to sesame.
 
Led by Pamela A. Frischmeyer-Guerrerio, M.D., Ph.D., the scientists took a different approach to conducting the sesame antibody test. The standard tests are a skin-prick test and the allergen-specific antibody test, which are known for being inconsistent in predicting an allergic reaction to sesame. In this test, 119 children with food allergies whose sesame-allergic status was unknown were evaluated.
 
The participants were offered an oral food challenge, which involved ingesting gradually increasing amounts of sesame under medical supervision to see if an allergic reaction occurred. Children who experienced a recent allergic reaction to sesame or were known to tolerate concentrated sesame in their diet were not offered an oral food challenge.
 
The study found that 15 of the 119 children were sesame-allergic, 73 were sesame-tolerant, and sesame-allergic status could not be determined for 31 children due to their decline to the oral food challenge. 17% of the 88 children whose sesame-allergic status was definitive had a sesame allergy.
 
Sesame-specific immunoglobulin E (slgE) was measured in the 88 children, which was used to develop a mathematical model for predicting the probability that a child with food allergies is allergic to sesame. With this model, children with more than 29.4 kilo (international units) of slgE per liter of serum have a greater than 50% chance of being allergic to sesame. However, this model will need to be validated by additional studies before it can be used in clinical practice.


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Reference
 
NIH researchers estimate 17% of food-allergic children have sesame allergy [news release]. Bethesda, MD; NIH News Releases: November 4, 2019. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-researchers-estimate-17-food-allergic-children-have-sesame-allergy. Accessed November 4, 2019.



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