What is alcat allergy test
Applied Kinesiology was developed in the USA by Goodhart in 1964 and relies on energy fields within the body to diagnose allergy and intolerance. Kinesiology is favorite with Chiropractic practitioners in the United Kingdom. In this test, the practitioner tests the patients muscle strength when the allergen is placed in a vial in front of them.
The shoulder strength (Deltoid muscle) is generally tested for weakness. The patient holds out their arm and the practitioner applies a counter pressure – if the patient is unable to resist the counter pressure, the test is considered positive to that allergen. The antidote to the allergy is then also held in front of the patient and if their weakness is reversed – this indicates it is the correct antidote.
There are a number of variations to the technique of muscle testing and numerous practitioners complement the test by holding a magnet in front of the patient. There is no convincing evidence that this test has any useful role to frolic in allergy diagnosis [1,13].
The Leucocytotoxic Test (Bryan’s Test)
Bryan’s Leukocytotoxic test was originally developed in 1956 by Black, and further elucidated by Bryan in 1960. The basis of the test is that if the patient’s white blood cells are mixed with the offending allergen, they swell. The test then measures any swelling of the leukocytes and if a certain threshold of swelling is measured, using a Coulter Counter – a Positive result is recorded.
Studies to date own shown poor correlation between this test and clinical allergy. The marketers, who rely on anecdotal evidence of efficacy, do not mention these disappointing clinical studies. A large number of allergens are tested for and patients are generally positive to a number of foods, additives and other agents. Personal communication with Katelaris in Australia and Steinman in South Africa plus Lieberman’s study in USA (9) confirm that preliminary studies on the ALCAT test found no diagnostic accuracy.
At present the test is also marketed under the name “Nutron”. Despite claims to the contrary, no large studies own ever shown the test to be precise despite it being available for over 50 years!
The original protagonists of the ALCAT test (which includes the Leucocytotoxic test and Nutron Test) could only site a few non-peer reviewed congress abstracts as evidence that it worked. While the antagonists (personal communication with the leading opinion leaders in the field of food allergy such as Bindslev-Jensen, Potter and Katelaris) own substantial data on record to show a poor diagnostic accuracy.
The lack of mainstream acceptance of these tests is often blamed on “a conspiracy” by the larger multinational diagnostic companies to attempt and remove the defenceless opposition from the market.
This perception is not a true reflection of the situation.
VEGA Testing (Electrodermal Testing)
This test was developed by German physician Dr Reinhold Voll in 1958. The VEGA Test (or Electrodermal Test) involves measuring electromagnetic conductivity in the body using a Wheatstone bridge Galvanometer.
The patient has one electrode placed over an acupuncture point and the other electrode is held while a battery of allergens and chemicals are placed in a metallic honeycomb. A drop in the electromagnetic conductivity or a “disordered reading” measured indicates an allergy or intolerance to that allergen. Newer transistorised/computerised versions of the original VEGA or Voll test are called Dermatron, BEST, Quantum and Hear Systems which own a similar application and give more rapid results. Some proclaim to test for 3500 allergens in 3 minutes!
Katelaris et al [14) and Holgate  performed independent double blind testing, comparing VEGA testing with conventional testing in known allergy sufferers, and the VEGA Tests had no reproducibility or diagnostic accuracy at every . The manufacturer’s aggressively promote the test and offer free training courses for potential “allergy” diagnosticians.
Who “tests” or validates the tests?
Some practitioners cite anecdotal case reports and clinical studies in fringe medical journals.
Individuals may well develop non-specific irritant reactions and side-effects to medication or vaso-active amines occurring in foods but this is of a non-allergic nature.
Environmental or multiple chemical sensitivities, systemic candidiasis, attention deficit disorder (ADDH) and chronic fatigue are commonly diagnosed as resulting from “allergies” to various environmental chemicals and naturally occurring fungi and parasites. Although Candida can cause vaginitis and oral thrush, there is no convincing evidence that systemic infections are related to allergy [4, 5].
Exotic parasite infestations are diagnosed on a droplet of blood with no convincing supportive evidence. Few of these tests are ever validated, checked or run with control samples. None are routinely re-calibrated or appraised with recognised scientific checks of equipment.
A report in Daily Mail newspaper reported on an adolescent girl who tested “positive” to 33 toxic chemicals found in household cleaners, foods and the modern “environment”.
This caused huge consternation to her caregivers but when one considers the accuracy of these tests and whether traces of chemicals in hair samples or other body fluids own any health implications at every, the unnecessary anxiety generated by these “tests” becomes apparent.
Once numerous of these factitious conditions are diagnosed, the naïve patient is then put onto various elimination diets, rotation diets and loads of unnecessary vitamin and trace element supplements. Herbal remedies such as ephedria (now banned in USA), spirulina, grape seed oil, nettle, vitamin C and more recently flax seed oil are prescribed and symptom improvement may be related to undisclosed “salting” with steroids in these so-called natural remedies .
The illegal addition of corticosteroids to these “natural and traditional” remedies gives them obvious therapeutic effect but may result in dangerous side effects if used for prolonged periods of time (7).
It is the author’s and Warner’s experience that health journalists are unlikely to investigate or expose these pseudo-scientific tests as fallacious for fear of alienating their “complementary medicine” readership (8).
Some of these CAM allergy tests may someday be proved to be safe and efficacious, but to date; no convincing studies own ever proved any of their efficacies in diagnosing allergies.
This article will review the common “allergy tests” used by complementary and alternative medical practitioners.
Hair Analysis Testing in Allergy
Hair is analysed for allergies in two ways. First of every, the hair is tested for toxic levels of heavy metals such as Lead, Mercury and Cadmium and then deficiencies of Selenium, Zinc, Chromium, Manganese and Magnesium. There is no scientific evidence to support the hypothesis that these heavy metals own any bearing on allergic diseases.
Hair samples are generally sent away for analysis and numerous studies own failed to discover any accuracy in hair analysis diagnosing allergies . Another hair test is called Dowsing. The dowser swings a pendulum over the hair and an allergy is diagnosed if an altered swing is noted.
The IgG ELISA Allergy Test
Another allergy test of questionable accuracy is IgG ELISA test. This test measures IgG and IgG4 antibodies to various foods which should not be confused with IgE antibody testing in conventional RAST and ImmunoCAP.
Most people develop IgG antibodies to foods they eat and this is a normal non-specific response indicating exposure but not sensitisation. There is no convincing evidence to propose that this test has any allergy diagnostic worth [10, 11]. In fact, the IgG response may even be protective and prevent the development of IgE food allergy! IgG4 antibodies produced after high level cat allergen exposure in childhood confer cat allergy protection and not sensitisation .