Ask your smart phone to detect food allergens in your food.

A hoodie with the University of California, Lo...

Researchers have developed a new device – called iTube – which is able to detect food allergens in food samples. This lightweight attachment to smart phones is recently the lighter, merely two ounces (less than 60 g), portable allergen testing device. The attachment analyzes the allergen concentration levels. The test is also known as colorimetric assay. The iTube platform can test for a variety of allergens, including peanuts, almonds, gluten, eggs, hazelnuts.

Food allergies affect 8 percent of children and 2 percent of adults. Food allergy can be severe, even life-threatening (anaphylaxis).  While laws regulate the labeling of ingredients in packaged foods, cross-contamination can still cause severe allergic reactions. Cross-contamination can occur during processing, manufacturing, and transportation. It is especially difficult to detect the presence of a special allergens in foods at dinner parties or in restaurants.

There are already allergy testing devices on the market but they are complex, bulky equipments, impractical for public settings.

iTube holds a lot of promises for future applications, according to the researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Henry Samuely  School of Engineering and Applied Science.

How does iTube work?

iTube along with a smartphone application that runs the test, uses the cell phone’s built-in camera to convert images into concentration measurements detected in food samples. The test demonstrates the amount of the allergens with the same high level of sensitivity a laboratory would. The results show exactly how many parts per million allergens from e.g. eggs, peanuts, gluten, nuts are in the sample. The test however takes a little while: about 20 minutes to get the results, and the food requires some preparation. The food sample initially needs to be ground up and mixed with hot water and a solvent. After the sample has set for a few minutes, it is mixed in a step-by-step procedure with a series of reactive testing liquids. After about this 20 minute preparation the sample is ready to be measured for allergen concentration through the cell phone’s camera and iTube app. The iTube not only shows whether an allergen is present in the sample but also gives the concentration in parts per million of the allergen.

The UCLA team successfully tested the iTube on different packages of cookies. The results  determined if they had any harmful amounts of peanuts in the sample. Their research was recently published online in the peer-reviewed journal Lab on a Chip.

“We envision that this cell phone-based allergen testing platform could be very valuable, especially for parents, as well as for schools, restaurants, and other public settings,” says Aydogan Ozcan, leader of the research team and a UCLA associate professor of electrical engineering and bioengineering.

The results of the tests can be tagged with time and location as well as can be uploaded directly from the smart phone to the iTube server which could provide  information for other allergy-sufferers around the world. A statistical database of different allergies linked to geographic areas could be useful for future determination of food-related polices researchers said.

Another team of researchers from  Purde University have also processed a new application for travelers suffering from allergies to obtain instant (0.09 seconds) allergen results from food samples without any Internet connection or server. This device is not available yet.

 

New Target Discovered To Treat Food Allergy

English: Structure of the PIM1 protein. Based ...

Structure of the PIM1 protein.

Researchers have discovered a new target towards food allergy treatment announced in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

The finding shows that the level of a small intestine enzyme called “Pim1 kinase” is higher in mice that suffer from peanut allergy. Blocking activity of Pim1 seems to reduce the allergic response to peanuts.

According to recent statistics, around 4% of Americans suffer from food allergy. Symptoms can range from hives, vomiting, difficulty breathing to the severe anaphylaxis. Consuming peanuts, their proteins enter into the bloodstream via the intestines and cause an immune response those who have peanut allergy.

Dr. Erwin Gelfand, chair of pediatrics at National Jewish Health says, “Pim1, and its associated transcription factor, Runx3 mRNA, play a crucial role in allergic reactions to peanuts”.

Dr. Gelfand’s laboratory research has shown that the Pim1 increases upon allergen sensitization and is responsible for the downregulation of Runx3. The study shows in mice that the upregulation of Runx3 can be alter by inhibiting Pim1 kinase. This strategy essentially reduce allergic reaction in mice.

PIM-1 kinase contributes to several signaling pathways and is expressed in T cells and eosinophils, type of cells associated with allergic diseases. Runx3 is linked with the regulation of T cells.

Allergic mice, that consumed peanuts, had increased levels of Pim1 enzyme in their intestines, as well as higher levels of inflammatory cells, and cytokine molecules that are associated to allergies. However, levels of Runx3 were dropped significantly in the allergic mice. When researchers administered a small molecule called AR460770, the activity of PIM-1 kinase was blocked and mice did not experience diarrhea and other peanut allergy related symptoms.

The main culprit of allergic reaction is the enhanced level of  histamine in the plasma. After administration of AR460770, made by Array Biophama, the histamine level fell to about baseline levels and Runx3 mRNA increased almost back to baseline levels. Upregulating Runx3 by targeting Pim1 kinase represent a new way for treating allergic diseases.

Our data identified for the first time that Pim1 kinase contributes in important ways to the development of peanut-induced allergic responses. Targeting this novel regulatory axis involving Pim1 kinase and Runx3 offers new therapeutic opportunities for the control of food-induced allergic reactions.”- said Dr. Gelfand. 

 

Sun exposure may decrease the risk of Food Allergies, Asthma and Eczema

Sunlight Feed

Sunlight

People living in areas with lower levels of sunlight are more likely to develop food allergies, asthma and aczema than those in areas with plenty of sunshine, according to a new scientific study.

The research was led by Dr. Nick Osborne from the European Centre for Environment & Human Health. He used data from analysis of Australian children and how rates of food allergies, eczema and asthma varied throughout the country. He believes these findings provide us with an important insight into the prevalence of food allergies and eczema, which appear to be on the increase.

Australia is an excellent place for this type of study as it spans nearly 3000 miles from north to south, with a large variation in climate, day length and sun strength. On average children in the south of the country were twice as likely to develop eczema as those in the north. There was also a link between latitude and allergies to peanuts and eggs. The report suggests that exposure to the sun may play a role in rising levels of food allergy and eczema.

Researchers pointed to exposure to sunlight as the cause for the findings. Generally speaking the further south or north from the equator you live the higher the incidence of developing food allergy or eczema.  People who live in sunnier climates – closer to the equator – get more sunshine on a daily basis.

Always, care has to be taken we are not exposed to too much sunlight, increasing the risk of skin cancer- warned Dr.Osborn.

Sunlight is the body’s greatest source for vitamin D. Researchers say that deficiency of vitamin D could be involved in the increase in asthma and allergies. Vitamin D could lower the risk of asthma in children by up to 40 per cent, according to a new report.

The theory is that people due to modern lifestyle spend more time indoors with less sunlight exposure  – travelling in cars rather than walking, for example – as well as the widespread use of sunscreen. These habits have led to the decreased production of vitamin D in the skin of many people.

In fact, by some estimates, around half of the world’s population is vitamin D deficient. For the body to make vitamin D, the skin needs to be exposed to light. At most latitudes, you can get enough vitamin D simply by spending 15 or so minutes in the sunshine everyday without wearing sunscreen; at extreme latitudes, the atmosphere filters more of the UV out and you need longer exposure. Vitamin D supplements are also available.

Sources:

Journal of Allergy and clinical Immunology

Science Daily

http://www.pcmd.ac.uk/news.php?id=310

Raising awareness for food allergy is crucial

English: Food types likely to cause allergic r...

Life can be difficult with allergy.

Food allergies are a growing health concern. As many as 6 million children in the U.S. are affected and food allergies are more common and more danger than ever before.

Kids can be born with food allergies but most of the time it is acquired. Many food allergies in children are mild and fade over time. They can outgrow selected food allergies, but peanuts, tree nuts, and shellfish allergies usually last a lifetime.

There is NO CURE for allergies.

There is NO MEDICATION available to prevent reactions.

AVOIDANCE  of food is the ONLY way to prevent a reaction:

–          be aware of the foods being eaten

–          read ingredients label

–          speak up when going out to eat

–          educate yourself

Symptoms of Food Allergies can include various degrees of the following:

–          Hives

–          Flushed skin or rash

–          Tingling or itchy sensation in the mouth

–          Swelling of the face, tongue, or lip

–          Vomiting and/or Diarrhea

–          Abdominal cramps

–          Coughing or wheezing

–          Dizziness and/or light headedness

–          Swelling of the throat and vocal cords

–          Difficulty breathing

–          Loss of consciousness

Over 150 foods can cause allergic reactions, but 90% of all emergency situations involve just 8 specific food items:

    • Milk
    • Eggs
    • Tree nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pecans)
    • Peanuts
    • Fish
    • Shellfish (e.g. crab, lobster, shrimp)
    • Wheat
    • Soybeans

The most severe reaction to a food allergy is the anaphylaxis.  Anaphylaxis is a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction which including:

    • A dangerous drop in blood pressure
    • A constriction of the airways in the lungs
    • Suffocation by swelling of the throat

TRIGGER food allergy short film:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnwczy3_IFg

TRIGGER is a not for profit awareness campaign. Please help protect food allergy sufferers by watching and sharing the information provided.

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Hidden Ingredients In Processed Food Can Be Fatal – Food allergy Alert!

52 Weeks - Week 5 - Food Allergy and Intoloren...

A college student, Emma Egerton, 18, ordered a Chicken Tikka Korma from Spice of India in Greater Manchester, through the Just Eat takeaway online website.

The police chief’s daughter was killed by a chicken curry from her local takeaway after she suffered a massive allergic reaction because a nuts warning was left off the menu.

Just Eat is a UK-based online takeaway website that connects customers to some 25,000 food outlets across Europe, allowing them to form a personal directory of menus and choose their favorite restaurant, place an order and select from pick-up or delivery options.

Most restaurants do not know about food allergies. Just a few of them process and cater food for food allergy sufferers, others are unaware of it. Some restaurant owners and staff not even know how dangerous a food allergy can be.

Many restaurants fry the meat, vegetables, even fish or shrimp in the same oil.

No courses have yet been organized to educate the industry on the allergy related cooking procedures. Restaurants should add nut warning signs next to the dishes on the menu that contain nuts, to help consumers.

Food allergies are not rare at all, and should not be underestimated! Food allergy is a growing public health concern. In fact, it is estimated that 150 to 200 Americans die each year because of allergic reactions to food  – according to the FDA.

  • As many as 15 million people have food allergies in the U.S.
  • An estimated 9 million, or 4% of adults have food allergies.
  • Nearly 6 million or 8% of children have food allergies with young children affected most.

The prevalence of food allergies and associated anaphylaxis appears to be on the rise.

  • According to a study released in 2008 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about an 18% increase in food allergy was seen between 1997 and 2007.
  • The prevalence of peanut allergy among children appears to have tripled between 1997 and 2008.

To reduce the risks, FDA is working to ensure that major allergenic ingredients in food are accurately labeled. Since 2006, food labels must state clearly whether the food contains a major food allergen. The following are considered to be major food allergens:

Milk, Eggs, Peanuts, Tree nuts ( such as almonds, walnuts, and pecans), Soybeans, Wheat, Fish, Shellfish (such as crab, lobster, and shrimp).

These foods account for 90 percent of all food allergies in the United States.

So, remember to take all measures to protect yourself and your family members who suffer from food allergies. In addition to avoiding food items that cause a reaction, we recommend that you:

  • Wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace stating that you have a food allergy
  • Carry an auto-injector device containing epinephrine ( adrenaline).
  • Seek medical help immediately if you experience a  food allergic reaction.

The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) was passed by Congress to ensure that there would be clearer labeling of food for the millions of people with food allergies. As of January 01, 2006, all food products regulated by the FDA must be labeled in a specific way to identify the eight major food allergens.

For a look at the complete law, visit:

fda.gov/Food/LabelingNutrition/FoodAllergensLabeling/GuidanceCompliance
RegulatoryInformation/ucm106187.htm

Walk for Food Allergy

Have you ever participated in a Walk for Food Allergy event? Have you ever asked somebody why they walk? They walk, because they know or love someone with food allergies. They walk because they want raise funds to help the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) to educate the public and find a cure for food allergies. They walk to save a life!

Food allergy afflicts as many as 15 million Americans including about 6 million children.

FAAN is a non-profit organization provides information and educational resources about food allergy to patients, their families, schools, health professionals, pharmaceutical companies, the food industry, and government officials.

Walk for Food Allergy events, which have raised more than $14 million for education, research, advocacy, and awareness programs since 2004, bring together families, educators, healthcare professionals, and corporate partners. Training materials for schools and restaurants, clinical studies such as oral immunotherapy, and community outreach grants are just a few of the programs that have been funded as a result of FAAN’s Walk for Food Allergy.  FAAN has set a goal to raise at least $2.4 million through its Walks in 2012.

Findings from research studies have been used to change federal and state laws, improve the daily lives of individuals with food allergy, raise public awareness, improve school policies, and provide education for patients, caregivers, and health professionals.

The Walk for Food Allergy will be held in the following cities:

Come join us for the 2012 FAAN Walk for Food Allergy.

Sept. 16 Pittsburgh, PA
Nashville, TN
Sept. 22 Austin, TX
Lansing, MI
Northern Virginia, VA
Sept. 23 Baltimore, MD
Boston, MA
Columbus, OH
Sept. 29 Charlotte, NC
Portland, ME
Triangle Area, NC
Sept. 30 Chicago, IL
Seattle, WA
Oct. 6 Detroit, MI
Las Vegas, NV
Salt Lake City, UT
Oct. 7 Miami, FL
Milford, CT
Oct. 13 California Bay Area, CA
Oct. 14 Lincoln, NE
Atlanta, GA
Long Island, NY
Oct. 21 Ridgewood, NJ
Los Angeles, CA
Nov. 3 San Diego, CA
Nov. 10 Tampa, FL
Virginia Beach, VA
Nov. 17 Dallas, TX
Dec. 1 Phoenix-Tempe, AZ

You can also sign up for a walk in your area, if you are interested.

Find out the nearest events to you: http://www.foodallergywalk.org/site/PageServer?pagename=walk_locations_by_state

Auvi-Q™, First Voice-Guided Epinephrine Auto-Injector For Patients With Life-Threatening Allergies, Receives FDA Approval

Breakthrough device design talks patients and caregivers through the injection process

Sanofi (EURONEXT: SAN and NYSE: SNY) have announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Auvi-Q (epinephrine injection, USP) for the emergency treatment of life-threatening allergic reactions in people who are at risk for or have a history of anaphylaxis. Auvi-Q is the first-and-only compact epinephrine auto-injector with audio and visual cues that guide patients and caregivers step-by-step through the injection process.

Sanofi US licensed the North American commercialization rights to Auvi-Q from Intelliject, Inc., which has retained commercialization rights
for the rest of the world.

“As a company committed to patient-centered care, our focus is on creating innovative solutions that make a difference in the lives of people,” said Anne Whitaker, President, North America Pharmaceuticals, Sanofi. “Auvi-Q delivers on this by offering a state-of-the-art epinephrine auto-injector device that addresses the needs of patients at risk for life-threatening allergic reactions and their caregivers.”

While recently updated guidelines emphasize the importance of the life-saving role of epinephrine, surveys showed that two-thirds of patients and caregivers do not carry their epinephrine auto-injectors as recommended and nearly half worry that others will not know how to use their device during an emergency.

“With this FDA approval, Auvi-Q will become the first-and-only epinephrine auto-injector that talks users through each step of the injection process,” said Bryan Downey, Vice President, Auvi-Q, Sanofi US. “We are confident that Auvi-Q will provide the up to six million Americans at risk for anaphylaxis and their caregivers an easy-to-use, compact option with unique features to help manage a life-threatening allergic reaction.”

Auvi-Q contains epinephrine, a well-established, first-line treatment for severe, life-threatening allergic reactions that may occur as a result of exposure to allergens including nuts, shellfish, dairy, eggs, insect bites, latex and medication, among other allergens.

“The first step in preventing a severe allergic reaction is always avoidance of the specific allergen,” said Dr. Vivian Hernandez-Trujillo, a pediatric allergist and national expert in anaphylaxis.”However, in the event of a life-threatening allergic reaction, it’s important to know how to respond quickly. Auvi-Q offers patients and caregivers guidance through the injection process.”

About Auvi-Q

Auvi-Q (epinephrine injection, USP) is used to treat life-threatening allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) in people who are at risk for or have a history of these reactions. Auvi-Q is the size and shape of a credit card, the thickness of a cell phone and fits comfortably in a pocket or small purse.

During a life-threatening allergic reaction, Auvi-Q talks the user through each step of the injection process. If the patient or caregiver needs more time, it repeats the step-by-step directions. Alternatively, a patient or caregiver can move at their own pace by following the written instructions printed on the device.

        Indication

Auvi-Q (epinephrine injection, USP) is indicated in the emergency  treatment of allergic reactions (Type I) including anaphylaxis to allergens, idiopathic  and exercise-induced anaphylaxis. Auvi-Q is intended for individuals with a history of anaphylaxis or who are at risk for anaphylactic reactions.

        Important Safety Information

Auvi-Q should ONLY be injected into the anterolateral aspect of  the thigh. DO NOT INJECT INTO BUTTOCK OR INTRAVENOUSLY.

Epinephrine should be administered with caution to patients with certain heart diseases,  and in patients who are on medications that may sensitize the heart to arrhythmias, because it may precipitate or aggravate angina pectoris and produce ventricular arrhythmias. Arrhythmias, including fatal ventricular fibrillation, have been reported  in patients with underlying cardiac disease or taking cardiac glycosides or diuretics. Patients with certain medical conditions or who take certain medications for allergies, depression, thyroid disorders, diabetes, and hypertension, may be at greater risk for adverse reactions. Adverse reactions to epinephrine include anxiety, apprehensiveness, restlessness, tremor, weakness, dizziness, sweating, palpitations, pallor, nausea  and vomiting, headache, and/or respiratory difficulties.

Auvi-Q is intended for immediate self-administration as emergency supportive therapy  only and is not a substitute for immediate medical or hospital care.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088

Definition of allergy

                                                                                                                     

Allergies are among the most common of medical disorders.  It is estimated that 60 million Americans, or more than one in every five
people, suffer from some form of allergy.

An allergy is a hypersensitivy disorder of the immune system.

How do you get allergies? Scientists think both genes and the environment have something to do with it.  Normally, your immune system fights germs. It is your body’s defense system. In most allergic reactions, however, it is responding to a false alarm.

Allergies occur when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance such as pollen, bee venom or pet dander.  A substance that causes a reaction is called an allergen. These reactions are acquired, predictable, and rapid.

Your immune system produces substances known as antibodies. Some of these antibodies protect you from unwanted invaders that could make you sick or cause an infection. When you have allergies, your immune system makes antibodies that identify your particular allergen as something harmful, even though it isn’t. When you come into contact with the allergen, your immune system’s reaction inflames your skin, sinuses, airways or digestive system.

The severity of allergies varies from person to person and can range from minor irritation to anaphylaxis — a potentially life-threatening emergency. While allergies can’t be cured, a number of treatments can help relieve your allergy symptoms.

Mild allergies like hay fever are very common in the human population, and cause symptoms, such as red eyes, itchiness, and runny nose, eczema, hives, or an asthma attack. In some people, severe allergies to environmental or dietary allergens or to medication may result in life-threatening reactions called anaphylaxis. Food allergies, and reactions to the venom of stinging insects are often associated with these severe reactions.

A variety of tests exist to diagnose allergic conditions. These include placing possible allergens on the skin and looking for a reaction such as swelling. Blood tests can also be done to look for an allergen-specific IgE.

Treatments for allergies include avoiding known allergens, use of medications such as anti-histamines that specifically prevent allergic reactions, steroids that modify the immune system in general, and medications such as decongestants that reduce the symptoms. Many of these medications are taken by mouth, though epinephrine, which is used to treat anaphylactic reactions, is injected. Immunotherapy uses injected allergens to desensitize the body’s response.

Allergic diseases are more common in industrialized countries than in agricultural countries , and there is a higher rate of allergic disease in urban populations versus rural populations.