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May 16, 1980

Discord among proponents of rival allergy desensitization techniques

JAMA. 1980;243(19):1881-1882. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03300450003001

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Last October officials at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) canceled a consensus development conference on treatment of allergy that was scheduled to be held two months later. Antagonism between advocates and critics of several unconventional techniques for diagnosing and treating allergy was so great that, according to an NIH spokesperson, "concern expressed by some of the invited conference participants over possible litigation... made it impossible to assemble the necessary speakers and panel members."

A small example of the emotion that might have been generated at that conference was provided at the February meeting of the American Academy of Allergy in Atlanta, when investigators presented results of two studies testing the endpoint titration or "Rinkel" method of allergy desensitization, one of the four procedures that had been on the consensus conference agenda. In this technique the amount of allergen given during desensitization is based on quantitative skin testing.

"This method