Atopic disease prevalence is increasing worldwide. Atopic eczema affects nearly 18% of infants in the first two years of life. It has been widely speculated that food allergies are the main cause of atopy. Strong associations between atopic eczema and IgE-mediated allergies to milk, eggs, and peanuts have been demonstrated. However, nearly two-thirds of patients with food allergies display no IgE sensitization to the instigating food proteins and symptoms either returned or were exacerbated upon administration of food-challenge tests.26,27 These patients with allergic reactions to the ingestion of specific foods did not display sensitized IgE to the foods, yet still had allergic reactions when the foods were reintroduced in their diets. Thus, such patients can be said to be allergic to the foods with no identifiable IgE antibodies, in essence, having "hidden food allergies.''
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