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Chapter 80 : Introduction
The prevalence of allergic diseases has risen dramatically throughout the world in recent years, creating a major health care burden. While immunoglobulin E (IgE) has been recognized to play a central role in the pathogenesis of human allergic conditions since 1967, a multitude of inflammatory mediators and cells are now known to contribute to these common phenotypes. Section L covers laboratory investigations useful in the diagnosis and management of allergic disorders. Important topics covered include the allergen, in vivo and in vitro assays to screen for the presence of allergen-specific IgE and other mediators of allergic inflammation, and analytic approaches to diagnosing food allergy, hypereosinophilic syndromes, and mast cell disorders.