Unproved and controversial methods and theories in allergy-immunology

Rachna Shah, Paul A. Greenberger*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Unproved methods and controversial theories in the diagnosis and management of allergy-immunology are those that lack scientific credibility. Some definitions are provided for perspective because in chronic medical conditions, frequently, nonscientifically based treatments are developed that can have a very positive psychological effect on the patients in the absence of objective physical benefit. Standard practice can be described as "the methods of diagnosis and treatment used by reputable physicians in a particular subspecialty or primary care practice" with the understanding that diagnosis and treatment options are consistent with established mechanisms of conditions or diseases.3 Conventional medicine (Western or allopathic medicine) is that which is practiced by the majority of MDs, DOs, psychologists, RNs, and physical therapists. Complementary medicine uses the practice of conventional medicine with complementary and alternative medicine such as using acupuncture for pain relief in addition to opioids. Alternative medicine implies use of complementary and alternative practices in place of conventional medicine. Unproved and controversial methods and theories do not have supporting data, validation, and sufficient scientific scrutiny, and they should not be used in the practice of allergy-immunology. Some examples of unproven theories about allergic immunologic conditions include allergic toxemia, idiopathic environmental intolerance, association with childhood vaccinations, and adrenal fatigue. Unconventional (unproved) diagnostic methods for allergic-immunologic conditions include cytotoxic tests, provocation-neutralization, electrodermal diagnosis, applied kinesiology assessments, and serum IgG or IgG 4 testing. Unproven treatments and intervention methods for allergic-immunologic conditions include acupuncture, homeopathy ("likes cure likes"), halotherapy, and autologous urine injections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S100-S102
JournalAllergy and asthma proceedings
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - May 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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