Friday, 12 January 2007

BBC Watchdog's Dirty Allergy Trick

By Patrick Holford 100% Health

In case you watched Tuesday (9th Jan 2007) night's Watchdog on BBC1 you might have spotted a slight of hand. A healthy volunteer had three allergy tests - a vega test (twice), a hair test, and Yorktest's IgG Food Intolerance test, in which the volunteer sent two blood samples. The first two came up with a lot of foods, and the vega tests each had different results. Yorktest's test identified no reactions in the first test, and two foods on the lowest possible level of sensitivity. You can have a +4, +3, +2, +1 or 'rotate' reaction. Rotate means don't eat every day. If I have a patient who has 2 'rotate' foods only they are, in essence, not allergic. In other words the two tests were almost identical in result. Thumbs up for Yorktest you'd expect.

But no. Watchdog not only implied the results were 'very' different, but they also said that the test had shown five reactions! They did this not by reading the actual result - one of the allergens was 'citrus mix' - but by saying the test had shown they were allergic to oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit and so on. For a BBC Watchdog programme that's pretty underhand. But it got worse. The expert they used to pass judgement said that there had been only one study on IgG as a basis for allergy! That is plain deception. If you go into Medline, the on-line database of published research and put in IgG you'll find 139,473 referenced studies. If you narrow down to IgG + food intolerance it list 85 studies. I referenced 115 studies in my book Hidden Food Allergies (Piatkus).

The evidence for IgG antibody reactions as a basis for food intolerances continues to grow, including well designed randomised controlled trials, however, some health professionals just haven't kept up to date. Perhaps it's because a 'home test' takes the power away from the professional and puts it in your hands.

Patrick Holford


Anonymous said...

Well done Katherine!

I think it's all about discrediting our profession. I have had some wonderful testimonials from food intolerance clients over the past few years. No test can guarantee 100% accuracy, but I think that Yorktest's is as close as you can get.

Best wishes,

Elizabeth Harfleet

Katherine Andreasen said...

I actually called York Test about this and they said that it similar to an allergy test. For eg if you are 49 you are not pregnant, but at 50 you are and that was the difference between the two tests. I neither sample did they suggest giving up anything - in the second they said rotate.

I trust York Test whole heartedly, have had good results from clients and it is the only intollerance test with scientific backing.

Thumbs Up to York Test, Thumbs down to Watch Dog!

Dr Sean said...

These testing methods have not been shown to be scientifically valid based upon our gold standard test of a Double Blind Placebo Controlled Food Challenge (DBPCFC). I agree with Watch Dog and suggest that all look at the science of these tests before using them.
Additionally, by strict definition the word "Allergy" means that one produces IgE antibodies, and does not entertain IgG antibodies as significant.
Sean McKnight, MD
Board Certified Allergist/Immunologist