Study provides new insights on tree nut allergies

In a study published in Clinical and Experimental Allergy, allergic sensitivity to tree nuts was common in Swedish adults, but most people never experienced symptoms.

In the study of 2,215 individuals, eczema, asthma, and egg allergies at an early age were associated with developing a tree nut allergy by adulthood. Also, allergen molecules were better diagnostic tools for predicting allergic symptoms to tree nuts compared with analyzing allergen extracts.

Tree nuts include hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, cashews, pistachios, almonds, and brazil nuts.

“This study increases the understanding of tree nut allergy in a general population, followed from infancy up to adulthood. For example, our study reveals that most extract‐based tree nut‐sensitized individuals do not have tree nut allergy and hence extract-based testing for tree nuts without a specific clinical suspicion should not be performed,” said co–lead author Jessica Bager, of the Karolinska Institutet, in Sweden.