This New Nima Device Can Detect Trace Amounts of Peanuts in Food


For the millions of people with peanut allergies, eating food prepared outside their own kitchens can feel like navigating a minefield. School cafeterias and restaurant kitchens often contain the allergen, and with small amounts of it capable of triggering large reactions, it’s sometimes impossible to tell if food is safe to eat before it’s too late. A new device from the company Nima is designed to give people with these allergies peace of mind when eating out.

As TechCrunch reports, the Nima Peanut Sensor can detect peanuts in food to 20 parts per million at 99 percent accuracy. To use it, owners rip off a morsel of their meal and drop it into a single-use test capsule. Once they’ve inserted the tube into the device, the sensor will analyze the chemical makeup and report any allergens it detects within minutes. A smiley face means it’s safe to eat, while a “peanut found” alert accompanied by a peanut icon indicates there’s trace amounts of the ingredient the user can’t see.

Nima has already made a name for itself in the allergen-testing industry. They’re known for their gluten-detecting device which uses similar technology to the peanut sensor and is designed for people with celiac disease and their families. Along with launching the peanut tester, the company will also release an updated version of its original gluten tester.

The price may be a deal-breaker for some families: Both items normally retail for $289, and the test capsules required to use them cost $72 for a pack of 12. That means using the sensor every time you go out to eat gets expensive fast. But for certain occasions when food needs to be double-checked, Nima could be a real life-saver. You can purchase the Nima Peanut Sensor for a discounted price of $229 if you pre-order it before March 8, 2018.

[h/t TechCrunch]

Chronic Pain Happens Differently in Men and Women

Women often feel colder than men due to physical differences. Now, a new study shows that the two sexes have different biological processes underlying a specific kind of pain, too. As WIRED reports, research published in the journal Brain revealed that different cells and proteins were activated in men and women with neuropathic pain—a condition that is often chronic, with symptoms including a burning or shooting sensation. While scientists say further research is needed, these findings could potentially change the way we treat conditions involving chronic pain.

A team of Texas-based neurologists and neuroscientists looked for RNA expressions in the sensory neurons of spinal tumors that had been removed from eight women and 18 men. Some of the patients had pain as a result of nerve compression, while others had not experienced any chronic pain. While studying the neurons of women with pain, researchers noticed that protein-like molecules called neuropeptides, which modulate neurons, were highly activated. For the men, immune system cells called macrophages were most active.

"This represents the first direct human evidence that pain seems to be as sex-dependent in its underlying biology in humans as we have been suggesting for a while now, based on experiments in mice," Jeffrey Mogil, a professor of pain studies at Montreal's McGill University, who was not involved in the Brain study, tells WIRED.

So what exactly do these new findings mean for sufferers of chronic pain? Considering that clinical trials and drug manufacturers have traditionally failed to distinguish between the sexes when it comes to developing pain medication, the study could potentially form a foundation for sex-specific pain therapies that could prove more effective. This might be especially promising for women, who are more likely to have some condition that cause persistent pain, such as migraines or fibromyalgia.

"I think that 10 years from now, when I look back at how papers I've published have had an impact, this one will stick out," Dr. Ted Price, a neuroscience professor and one of the paper's authors, said in a statement. "I hope by then that we are designing clinical trials better considering sex as a biological variable, and that we understand how chronic pain is driven differently in men and women."

[h/t WIRED]

McDonald’s Is Testing Out Vegan McNuggets in Norway

McDonald's has never been an especially welcoming place for vegans (until 1990, even the fries contained meat). But now, the chain's Norwegian locations are working to change that. As Today reports, McDonald's restaurants in Norway have launched a vegan nugget alternative to the classic chicken McNugget.

The new vegan McNuggets are prepared to look like the menu item customers are familiar with. They're coated with a layer of breadcrumbs and fried until they're golden-brown and crispy. Instead of chicken meat, the nugget is filled with plant-based ingredients, including mashed potatoes, chickpeas, onions, corn, and carrots.

The vegan McNuggets are only available to customers in Norway for now, but if they're popular, they may spread to McDonald's in other parts of the world. Norway's McDonald's locations also include a Vegetarian McFeast burger on its menu.

McDonald's is famous for tailoring its menus to international markets, and vegetarian options are much easier to find in restaurants some parts of the world compared to others. In India, where one fifth of the population is vegetarian, customers can order the McAloo Tikki Burger, made from potatoes and peas, or a McVeggie sandwich.

[h/t Today]