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Technologies to fight Food Allergies

December 27, 2021 - by Parul Saini, Webmedy team

In the last few years, healthcare has shown rapid growth and transformation. Before the arrival of the Internet of Things (IoT), patients' interaction with doctors was limited to only visits. But now with IoT, patients are better connected with healthcare providers by remote monitoring and virtual visits.

Here we will discuss all that is food allergy and the best technologies against food allergy?

Food allergies consist of an immune system response to disagreeable food. The body senses that a protein in a particular food may be harmful and triggers an immune system response, producing histamine to protect itself. Histamine causes allergy symptoms such as hives, coughing, and wheezing. The body then "remembers" this immunologic reaction - and when the allergen food enters the body again, the histamine response is more easily triggered. The best-characterized form of food allergy is mediated by food-specific IgE antibodies.

The diagnosis of food allergies may be problematic because nonallergic food reactions, such as food intolerances, are frequently confused with food allergy symptoms. Food allergies and intolerances are often linked, but there's a clear difference between the two conditions.

What are Food Allergies?

Food allergies can be life-threatening and the symptoms are immediate. Wheat and gluten, soy, dairy, fish, shellfish, eggs, peanuts, and tree nuts are the most common food allergens. They cause an immediate and severe immune reaction that affects numerous organs in the body. They also trigger the IgE portion of the immune system. Symptoms of food allergies include swelling, rashes.

Here are the top food allergens:

  • Milk
  • Fish
  • Soy Bean
  • Tree Nuts
  • Eggs
  • Shellfish
  • Wheat
  • Peanuts

Top Technological Devices against Food Allergens

Food composition is a complicated issue. Globally 75% of the population is allergic to certain food and need medical care every year due to food allergy. So a solution is needed.

  • SensoGenic - R&D phase

    Seasonic is a medical device using a bio-sensor that detects food allergens. The company aims to make eating safe for people with food allergies all over the world. Their digital diagnostics biosensor looks for allergen and antibody reactions with the fingerprint method. The test was supposed to run on smartphones, but currently, no app can be downloaded. However, SensoGenic aims to get on the market in 2022, meaning they might be onto something.

  • Allerguard - R&D phase

    The concept of Allerguard is radically different from all others. Instead of using a food sample, the company's device analyses the scent of the food and alerts the user if a specific chemical signature is detected. It can thereby analyze an entire plate and not just a random sample. The company aims to use artificial intelligence to analyze the chemical structure of food. Although the company has a presence at startup events, there's little news shared from the R&D department.

  • FoodMarble - on the market

    It analyses the level of hydrogens in the exhale to check for the level of hydrogen. The concept behind this tracker is to analyze digestion ? in short, to see why you're bloated. By tracking your daily consumption with the app, you can find the patterns and, thereby, the intolerances over time.

  • Allergy Amulet - R&D phase

    This tiny portable device (available as a keyring, necklace, or wristband) aims to use molecular imprinting to identify allergens in food. With a simple test, sensors find traces of allergens in the tested food sample within a minute.

  • Nima

    The portable device can tell you from a small food sample within two minutes, whether your food contains gluten. It is truly useful, as based on thousands of restaurant visits, the Nima community found that 1 out of 3 foods that are claimed to be gluten-free contains gluten.

  • TellSpec

    Honestly, we have no idea what we eat. Ingredients are listed on most of the products we buy, but every meal and every plate is different. One remedy would be having a list of exactly what ingredients and how many calories a meal contains, and what allergens and toxins might be in it. Not just the kind of meal we eat but the actual food on our plate and its specific amount. Food scanners such as TellSpec are aiming to address this problem. They provide predictive intelligence about food, by combining NIR spectroscopy, bioinformatics techniques, and learning algorithms in a revolutionary technology that analyses foods at the molecular level.

Food allergies are severe conditions that might result in death when not taken seriously or not managed with utmost care. A food allergy or food ingredient scanners, apps, and wearables can offer some peace of mind to those who suffer from allergies as well as their loved ones. However, I hope that in the future, disruptive technologies will also be able to come up with permanent solutions to cutting out food allergies from our lives.

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