allergy, skin testing
The Allergy Unit, in conjunction with the Occupational and Environmental Dermatology program at NYU, evaluates hundreds of individuals per year to determine their reactivity to environmental allergens. Groups of patients are often evaluated if a common source allergen is suspected of causing or contributing to dermatologic and/or systemic illness. This is accomplished by utilizing the hundreds of allergens available for patch and intracuteneous testing.
The unit also employs ultraviolet light to enhance this regimen when testing potentially photoactive chemicals. It has taken an active role in the determination of immediate type hypersensitivity reactions to latex rubber in employees of this and other medical centers. Recently, it retrospectively analyzed data from over 700 patients patch tested in the Allergy Unit to determine the relevancy and predictive value of the standard allergens series used for patch testing in the United States. The study concluded that important deficiencies exist in the utility of this limited series and substantially more allergens are needed to adequately diagnose the causes of contact dermatitis.
The unit continues to explore the safety and utility of common consumer ingredients as it amasses data on allergic reactivity in its patients. Its active participation nationally will serve to expand the armamentarium of new skin testing methods as well as apply older techniques for new uses. Representative
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