Sunday, March 14, 2010

Food Allergy(?) Update

Some have asked how the everything-free diet is going.

As a matter of fact, I've been doing some research on my food allergy report. At the bottom of the lab report, in small print, it said that the tests were for the antibodies IgE and IgG4. Google and my university library databases revealed articles with titles like this: "Unreliability of IgE/IgG4 antibody testing as a diagnostic tool in food intolerance." "Unproven diagnostic procedures in IgE-mediated allergic diseases." They all say that the gold standard for diagnosing food allergies involves an elimination diet followed by food challenge tests, NOT one of these blood tests.

Common sense had led me to suspect this already, but all the same, I wish Dr. L-H had explained how controversial these tests are. Not that my conventional-medicine doctor ever explains anything to me. So, yes, I'm holding Dr. L-H to a higher standard. After all, he wants me to give up more!

Now I'm conducting my own little challenge tests. Stay tuned for whether the egg and cheese croissant I ate this morning causes a personal health apocalypse.

Mr. F and I had an interesting talk about the word "quackery," which Mr. F uses liberally, and which I'm fascinated with. I think the word is so derogatory that it creates a wide category of practitioners who must feel perpetually on the defensive. Mr. F has big problems with anything that seems the slightest bit New-Agey, whereas I'm more open to it. I'm willing to go along to a certain extent with the placebo effect and other positive results of treatments that are not necessarily endorsed by the hospital-industrial complex, which has its own motivations. However, take bread away from me, and suddenly I'm the biggest cheerleader for the Enlightenment and the scientific method.

By the by, I love the blog The Quack Doctor. It researches nineteenth-century patent medicines advertised in newspapers.

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