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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2005 May;115(5):1076-80.

Food allergen sensitization in inner-city children with asthma.

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  • 1Division of Allergy and Immunology, Department of Pediatrics, Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, NY, USA.



Asthma continues to be an increasing cause of morbidity in the pediatric population, and studies have shown an association between food sensitivity and asthma.


We investigated the degree of food allergen sensitization in inner-city patients with asthma.


Five hundred four random serum samples from the National Cooperative Inner City Asthma Study were evaluated for specific IgE (UniCap) to 6 common food allergens (egg, milk, soy, peanut, wheat, and fish). Statistical analyses were performed to determine food sensitization prevalence and its association with asthma morbidity.


Forty-five percent of patients had evidence of sensitization (food-specific IgE > or = 0.35 kU/L) to at least 1 food. Nineteen percent had IgE levels at > or = 50% positive predictive value for clinical reactivity to at least 1 food, with 4% of patients having levels > 95% positive predictive value for food allergy. Children sensitized to foods had higher rates of asthma hospitalization (P < .01) and required more steroid medications (P = .025). Sensitization to foods also correlated with sensitization to more indoor and outdoor aeroallergens (P < .001).


Food allergen sensitization is highly prevalent in the inner-city population with asthma, and it is associated with increased asthma healthcare and medication use. Therefore, food allergen sensitivity may be a marker for increased asthma severity.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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