PAUL RAPSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PAUL RAPSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
RAST blood test. Doctor taking blood from the arm of a 10-year-old boy to perform an allergy screen. Blood is drawn into the syringe through a tube attached to a needle under the plaster on the boy's arm. The blood will be sent to a lab to undergo a radioallergosorbent (RAST) test, which is used to identify if a patient has a 'true' allergy. The blood is mixed with the suspected allergen and then checked for IgE antibodies. If they are present the patient has an allergy. IgE is produced by white blood cells. It interacts with the allergen-causing chemicals, for example histamine, to be produced. Such chemicals cause the symptoms of an allergy.
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