What is ALCAT Test for Food Allergies? Can LIMS Software advance Healthcare?
LIMS software or Laboratory Information Management system or LIMS software is actually software which is designed to process large amounts of blood samples for R&D, clinical research and manufacturing. LIMS software benefits each type of lab but they are most often in quality assurance and manufacturing.
Fig: ALCAT Test
With Lab.me software, we can analyze number of test results in less time. Here we are going to see the ALCAT test, Process and results evaluations.
Yale School of Medicine researchers have completed finding on ALCAT food sensitivity test with some of the common immunological markers of immune system. The ALCAT Test gives a tool to healthcare professionals to manage conditions associated with chronic activation of immune health and inflammation.
With the ALCAT test, healthcare professionals can measure responses to food at cellular level and also reveal the common causes of specific symptoms.
After taking the ALCAT Test, the results can help figure out the foods and other elements causing allergies and unwanted inflammation. ALCAT blood test allows healthcare providers to help patients improve their chronic health conditions by making important changes in their diet.
Chemical and food sensitivities have been associated to aching joints, migraines, gastrointestinal disorders, fatigue and other symptoms associated with chronic immune system activation.
There is a significant improvement in a lot of common symptoms with clinical assessment of ALCAT test to guide modification in diet. The efficacy of this test has been mentioned in a lot of studies to implement double blind and placebo controlled designs of studies.
How ALCAT Test is done?
The immune system or food reactions have been measured with leukocytes stimulation through ALCAT test. Leukocytes cover all the five categories of white blood cells (lymphocytes, monocytes, basophils, eosinophils and neutrophils (~70% to 80% of white blood cells).
The chemical extracts of food can affect these elements. The defense mechanism of immune system, i.e. neutrophils initiates the main role in inflammation. When this first-line defense can be very effective over acute infections, chronic immunologic activation may cause health problems.
The type 1 lgE mediated allergies or anaphylaxis are not identified by the food intolerance blood test. When considering the difference between lgG antibody testing and ALCAT test, chemical and food sensitivities are the mediators by several pathogenic systems.
With the cellular approach, food tolerance test can identify chemical and food sensitivities instead of antibody like lgG despite the toxic, immunologic, and pharmacologic pathway.
The cells are using to release inflammatory mediators and free radicals without the involvement of antibody. According to most of the studies, IgG antibodies are relevant to food are protective and are not pathogenic.
What conditions are diagnosed by ALCAT Test?
Cellular reactions to chemicals, food and other substances are often associating with both chronic and acute conditions. It conducts to determine association between inflammation, innate immune system, and growth of chronic conditions.
Here are some of the common health conditions diagnosed by ALCAT Test –
- Skin disorders like eczema, rashes, psoriasis, pilaris, keratosis, acne, and urticaria.
- Gastrointestinal problems like constipation/diarrhea, IBS, bloating, reflux, gastritis, and nutritional problems
- Neurological symptoms like headaches, migraines, chronic fatigue, memory, mood swings, ADHD, depression, cognitive impairment, and neuropathy.
- Respiratory problem – Wheezing, Chronic cough, sinusitis
- Skeletal/muscular disorders – such as, sore or stiff joints, tendonitis, arthritis
- Endocrine/Metabolic disorders – such as, diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, weight loss, problem in losing weight, thyroid diseases and illness, unusual menstruation, and infertility
- Immune system problem – reduced immunity over infection, autoimmune diseases, allergies, growth of tumors, and heart problems
More than 450 foods, coloring, additives, chemical and biological substances are screened with blood draw for one time.
What test results include?
The results of ALCAT test include color-coded and readable test report which classifies items as per the degree of reactivity of cells. With each report, it includes test results card of wallet size, food rotation plan (when it comes to test 100 foods), Foods to Avoid, and complete patient guidebook of ALCAT Test results.
Fig: ALCAT Test Results
It may also include one-on-one phone based, complementary test review for you and your patients at Cell Science symptoms with a health counselor.
The ALCAT test is evaluating individually and it showing a lot of benefits. In several results, positive results reporting according to different symptoms. Currently, more research is going through in universities in Europe and the US.
Why do you Need Allergy Test?
The allergy tests recommended by your healthcare provider may include skin test. A little drop of food extract is placed on the skin in this type of test. Then, the skin is pricked a bit.
It is usually painless and a safe procedure. A raised bump may appear with redness within 15 to 20 minutes, just like a mosquito bite. It means you are likely to be allergic to that food and you may need treatment for food allergy.
Blood test for food allergies may often be conducted. Blood test usually costs higher than skin test. Usually, the results are not ready for up to 1-2 weeks. Blood tests or skin tests are reliable and can rule out or in food allergy if it is done well. Some people are allergic to a certain food (by blood or skin test) and have no symptoms when they eat the food.
Your allergist may want to do test to confirm test results. This means you need to drink or eat small amounts of food over a time period to figure out if this reaction takes place. Usually, the best food allergy test is done in expert’s supervision.
How professionals know which foods are allergic to you?
Some people know what kind of food can cause their allergy. They eat something with peanut or peanuts and break out. Some people need doctor’s recommendations to know the cause. The symptoms often show up several hours after having food. Usually, treatment for allergy starts with proper medical history. Your healthcare provider will ask you about the following things –
- Symptoms after eating food
- How long these symptoms take place after eating
- How much food you consumed
- What kind of treatment you had,
- How often has reaction took place
- Your diet, medical history of your family, and your living area and home.
Your healthcare provider will ask you the above questions to determine the cause of your allergy or what is making your symptoms worse. Allergy to ragweed pollen and pollen in air might cause itching or swelling in your throat or mouth if you eat melons. There is no specific cure for food allergy.
Do you need any special diet to deal with the problem?
Your healthcare providers may narrow down your search for foods that can cause allergies and recommend a special diet for you. You may want to keep a food record. It records all the medications you take and food you eat, apart from symptoms for the day.
If one or two food may cause allergic reactions, you may want to avoid them. You are not going to eat suspicious food at all in this diet for up to 1 to 2 weeks. If allergic reactions reduce during the period and flare up while eating that food once more, there are high chances that it is food allergy.
You need to decide which food to avoid and for how long you need to avoid that food, and when to eat that food again. Don’t eat even a small amount of any food that you have to avoid. They may conduct those tests with a challenge. Hence we can say, choosing the best food allergy test is very vital for you.
Types of Blood Tests for Allergy
With the change in season, you are much likely to sneeze and sniffle or even get teary eyed and itchy when you care for your pet or do dusting in your house. You may start wheezing when eating a certain food.
Blood test for allergy may help reveal the allergy symptoms and help your healthcare providers to pick the best cure for your allergy. These types of tests measure how much allergen-based antibodies are found in your blood and also detect the same. Your body creates antibodies over it when you get in touch with any allergic trigger, which is also called as allergen.
The antibodies signal your body cells to release some chemicals. These types of chemicals are the main cause of allergic symptoms. The IgE or Immunoglobulin is an antibody which is linked strongly to the allergic response of the body.
Usually, allergic blood tests are screened for around 10 of the most widely known allergens like pet dander, dust, grasses, trees, molds, and weeds, depending on the place you live. They can also diagnose allergies related to some foods. Blood tests for allergy are also known as immunoassay tests, which include –
- Radioallergosorbent test (RAST)
- Enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (EIA or ELISA)
The Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay or ELISA test measures how many allergen-based antibodies are found in your blood.
The Radioallergosorbent test (RAST) also determines the allergen-based antibodies to detect what is causing allergy. However, this type of test is not in use widely.
Allergies can also increase the levels of WBCs. That’s why, blood tests are also conducted to determine the amount of white blood cells including eosinophil, a type of white cell, if you are suspect to have allergies.
You should also keep in mind that there are different health conditions which can increase WBC levels. There are different blood tests to measure chemicals which are releasing and can cause allergy.
Reasons behind Allergy Blood tests
Skin tests are widely conducted but blood tests are ordered in some cases. If you comply with any of these conditions, blood test for allergy is prescribed –
- Whether you are using medicine which can interfere with test results and find it unable to stop consuming it for a couple of days, including steroids, antihistamines, and some anti-depressants.
- If you cannot handle needle scratches for skin testing
- You have badly controlled asthma, unstable heart health, severe dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, or any other severe skin problem.
- And if you may have extreme reaction during skin test or have had deadly allergic reaction like anaphylaxis.
You may also be recommended for blood test to determine how well immunotherapy is doing. You may also determine whether you have outgrown allergy in blood test.
Blood test for Allergy – Pros and Cons
Here are some of the pros of allergy blood tests –
- Despite any medications you are going to take, it can be performed at any time.
- Unlike skin tests, it needs only one needle stick. It may be better for those who don’t like needles. It is the ideal test for very small children and infants.
Cons of allergy blood tests
- These are usually more expensive compared to skin testing. It may not be covered in most health insurance policies.
- It is more time taking to get results, as blood sample is needed to be sent to the lab for analysis. Hence, you get quick results in skin tests than blood test.
- It may be less sensitive.
What Test Results Mean to You?
If test results are positive, it means allergy-specific antibodies are present in your blood. Usually it shows allergy. Blood test determines the root cause of your allergy. You may get positive for something but you may never have any reaction with it.
You may not have true allergy if it is showing negative result. Your immune system may not respond to the allergen. However, you may have negative blood test result and you may still have allergy.
It is important to interpret allergy blood test results carefully. Your healthcare provider will also take your medical history and symptoms into consideration when it comes to diagnose a specific allergy.
Is there any Side Effect of Allergy Blood Tests?
Allergy blood test is considering safer. Here are some of the minor side effects –
- Bleeding at the area where allergists had put the needle
- Redness and swelling at the area of needle
There are chances some people may be so sensitive that they may faint during blood test.
How Blood Test for Food Allergy is conducted?
- To diagnose food allergy, both blood test and skin test are used by the doctors.
- Scratch test is one of the most common skin tests.
- A nurse or doctor scratches your skin with little bit of extract of an allergen in liquid form, such as a food or pollen.
- This test is usually performed on your back or forearm.
- After 15 minutes of wait, allergists will see if there is some reddish spot (wheals) is rising, showing allergy.
- If doctor suspects that you are allergic to several things, or if they are confused about what is causing allergy, an allergist will test your skin for various allergens at a time.
- When it shows positive with a specific food in skin test, it simply means a person is allergic to that food. Doctors may want to conduct further testing.
- Blood test may be suggested along with skin testing to diagnose food allergy for a specific food.
- It means they need to take small sample of blood to send to a lab for testing.
- The lab looks for IgE antibodies in the blood for some foods.
- If there is enough IgE antibodies findings for a food in the blood, chances are high that a person is allergic to it.
- If blood and skin test results are still not clear, an allergist might perform food challenge test.
- In this test, the Doctors are giving some high amounts of food allergen to consume and will watch out for symptoms.
- Skin tests may be annoying for a while. If your child goes through the one, allergist might recommend steroid cream or antihistamine for child to use to reduce itching after the test.
What is LIMS System?
Here are some of the common examples –
- Testing water treatment plant
- Food safety
- Labs managing R&D for oil and gas
- Industrial chemical testing and creation
- Environmental facilities
This type of test measures, what kind of laboratory software to be used. LIMS software is also popular in pharmaceutical and medical industries. Both LIMS software and Lab Information Systems (LIS) are a kind of medical lab program. Almost all types of pharmaceutical labs use this lab management software. They are widely using for genomics and biobanks testing apart from labs which develop formulations and research drugs.
Why LIMS software?
The information recorded by this pathology software, the way it enters system, and how and where it is stored varies according to the LIMS software vendor you go with. Some LIMS will better help some kinds of labs that operate very well but they may not be right for others.
Common Functions of LIMS software
Operation of each system varies. Here are some of the common functions and features –
Use LIMS software to automate the process of record keeping. This function is time-saving rather than saving work. When it comes to codify existing procedures and methods, you assign the software for decision making. For example, it can assign scientists to work and suggest some of the instruments on the basis of specific rules.
It is good to pull reports to answer questions regarding instruments which are using frequently, how long will keep the sample, and how long a lab will take to process a sample. This data is very helpful for analysis and audit trail.
Some programs like medical laboratory reporting software are going to be more granular in terms of reporting as compare to others. For instance, one LIMS will tell the right processing time of a sample, but another will tell you average time by sample time.
It comes handy to know the level and type of reporting needed before comparing vendors. Just because report is handling by LIMS, it doesn’t mean to be simple. Custom coding may require to set up and run. Some systems export to MS Word and PDF, instead of Google Drive.
As samples move from one place to another and from one person to another, it can easily get mixed up or lost. Detailed and accurate records are very important to ensure that everything is going right. For instance, good record may require to discuss whether projected criteria are meeting by a sample.
However, they can be more difficult to maintain and create. A lot of LIMS software store and record information in laboratory information management system software when creating a sample, including –
- What sample is taken and by whom
- How to store sample
- Which providers are analyzing samples
- Where it should go next
- When it should move
Basically, LIMS will automate process as much as possible for it. RFID is using to update and create audit logs and custody chain to track sample in each stage.
It is an inventory management program but it can come handy when it comes to manage LIMS software. It can help you view what you have at a glance and get notifications when you are running out of supplies, freezer capacity, and auto calculation of storage, as well as location management which can help in lab tests.
Lab.me Analytics – An Advance Blood Report Software
Lab.me Analytics is an advance lab test program which works on machine intelligence and combines both non-proprietary and proprietary algorithms. It performs all the complex mathematics for you and give you proper interpretation of blood test results. Also, it is managed by very experienced management team which has proven knowledge and market skills.