Ronald A. Simon, MD, often illustrates a major food allergy misconception by showing a “Peanuts” cartoon of a bleary-eyed Snoopy lying atop his doghouse. “I think I’m allergic to morning,” Snoopy says.
Explore this issue:March 2011
Dr. Simon, head of the Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Division at the Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, Calif., said many patients tend to blame a dislike or intolerance on an allergy. In fact, research suggests that the positive predictive value of self-reported food allergies is strikingly poor. As a panelist and co-author of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ (NIAID) first-ever guidelines on food allergies, Dr. Simon hopes the new document will better educate both doctors and patients about a medical condition that is still plagued by sizeable gaps in knowledge.
The guidelines, published in December in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (126(6,):S1-S58), are based on an extensive literature review and the opinions of a 25-member expert panel. The document begins with a definition of food allergy and offers 43 recommendations on its diagnosis and management. Throughout the report, however, the authors point out multiple areas with low-quality evidence where further research could significantly change the recommendations.