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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1984 Apr;73(4):490-9.

A genetic-epidemiologic study of human immune responsiveness to allergens in an industrial population. II. The associations among skin sensitivity, total serum IgE, age, sex, and the reporting of allergies in a stratified random sample.


We have quantitated puncture skin test responses to six standardized, high-quality, inhalant allergen extracts and histamine in 320 adults--a stratified random sample, equally distributed between the sexes and among all decades between 20 and 60 yr. Both the sensitivity of each subject toward histamine and his "average" IgE-mediated skin sensitivity to the entire panel of allergens (Allergy Index) were calculated. Allergy Index and Log [total serum IgE] values were weakly, but significantly, correlated (r = 0.453, p less than 0.001). Although both sexes reported similar prevalence rates of "allergy," we found that skin test positivity, Allergy Index, Histamine Index, and log [total serum IgE] were significantly higher (p less than or equal to 0.004) for the total population of male adults versus female adults. Skin test positivity, the Allergy Index, and log [total serum IgE] values demonstrated a tendency to decrease between 20 and 60 yr of age. Furthermore, log, age, and sex, respectively, were important predictors of the allergic state (Allergy Index) of an individual. Lastly, in various subgroups of our population, we found only weak correlations between the subjects' perceptions of their allergic status and both the Allergy Index and log [total serum IgE].

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