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Tree Nut Whole Extract Sensitization Common in Adulthood

Whole extract sensitization is usually asymptomatic; storage protein sensitization is more reliable indicator of tree nut allergy symptoms

mixed nuts

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 18, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Tree nut whole extract sensitization is common in young adults, but it is usually asymptomatic, according to a study published online Aug. 6 in Clinical and Experimental Allergy.

Jessica Bager, from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and colleagues examined the prevalence of reported symptoms and allergic sensitization to tree nuts at age 24 years in the BAMSE population-based cohort study and examined early life factors associated with tree nut allergy. Data were available for 54 percent of the 4,089 BAMSE study participants.

The researchers found that the prevalence of tree nut sensitization was estimated at 21.2 percent and the prevalence of tree nut allergy symptoms and combined sensitization and symptoms was 9.8 and 7.9 percent, respectively. Of the sensitized individuals, 63 percent were asymptomatic and only 16 percent were storage protein-sensitized. Egg allergy, eczema, and asthma at preschool age were associated with future development of tree nut symptoms and storage protein sensitization (adjusted odds ratios, 8.50, 2.53, and 5.59, respectively). Tree nut allergy at age 24 years was associated with current eczema and markers of current asthma severity. For all tree nuts evaluated, sensitization to storage proteins was more strongly associated with symptoms than sensitization to whole extract.

"Our study reveals that most extract‐based tree nut‐sensitized individuals do not have tree nut allergy and hence extract-based testing for tree nuts without a specific clinical suspicion should not be performed," Bager said in a statement.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.

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