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Gluten-Sensing Tech May Change Fight Against Celiac Disease

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May 31, 2022 – About 7% of the U.S. population – including those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivities – experience symptoms like belly pain, diarrhea, and chronic fatigue when they eat gluten. The only known treatment is a gluten-free diet, which can be a big challenge because even many “gluten-free” products include trace amounts of the troublesome proteins.

That contamination can take place at any point, from farm to fork, says Luis Tortajada-Genaro, PhD, a researcher at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain. New gluten-detecting technology is advancing to enable better control and more safety.

In the latest innovation in this quest, Tortajada-Genaro and his team have come up with a system that detects gluten simply and quickly in food. The test, described in a new paper in the journal Food Control, reveals not just the presence of gluten but also its concentration – and it involves snapping a picture with your smartphone.

As a bonus, this system may also help in food fraud prevention by exposing meat products tainted with grains, which some manufacturers add to improve texture and reduce costs, he says.

“The protection of the consumer against foodborne illnesses and fraudulent practices requires cheaper, simpler, and faster methods,” Tortajada-Genaro says. This new system aims to check all three boxes.

How Can a Smartphone Detect Gluten?

The system works by detecting gluten DNA in food, Tortajada-Genaro says. Typically, a sample must be analyzed in a lab by a specialist, which can take several hours to generate results, he says. But this system, which is similar to an antigen test, can do it in less than 2 hours.

Simply take a food sample, grind it up, and mix it with “gold nanoparticles,” tiny gold bits that can trigger chemical reactions. Wait 10 minutes for that gold to pull out the gluten’s DNA. Then place 3 drops on a plastic slide and snap a picture with your phone.

Results are delivered to your phone in an easy-to-read color format. “The redder it is, the more gluten concentration there is in that food,” says Tortajada-Genaro.

If the prototype can become the “lab in a briefcase” that Tortajada-Genaro hopes it will be, it could open bottlenecks caused by complex and time-consuming tests in food safety procedures, he says.

“By overcoming traditional limitations regarding assay time and portability of testing supplies, we could have a real solution to support massive, sustainable food control,” he says. “That can improve life quality for everyone, not just those with celiac disease.”

Technology in the Fight Against Celiac Disease

For celiac patients, gluten contamination is a constant threat and serious health concern. With rates of celiac disease steadily rising – by 7.5% each year – the need for innovation has never been more urgent, says Benjamin Lebwohl, MD, director of clinical research at the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University.

In 2019, he and his colleagues published a study that used a portable gluten sensor called Nima to test 5,624 foods advertised as gluten-free at U.S. restaurants. Results showed that over half of “gluten-free” pizza and pasta contained gluten. And gluten was detected in a third of all foods labeled “gluten-free.”

“In the long term, repeated exposure to gluten can cause intestinal damage that can lead to more chronic symptoms of bowel irregularity, pain, and interference with absorption of nutrients,” Lebwohl says.

Still, while gluten detectors may provide peace of mind for some, they could cause anxiety and confusion for others, he cautions. For example, sensors can be overly sensitive to very minute amounts of gluten that might not cause problems. Clinical trials are needed to study the effect of gluten-detecting technology on not just symptoms, but also quality of life.

Despite their limits, gluten detectors may provide important information for people who want to trust their food, Lebwohl says.

“Ultimately, we need to know whether using this technology promotes better overall health, both physical and mental,” he says.

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Article: webmd.com

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Congress Under Pressure: Colorado Officials Push for Cannabis Banking Reform

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With the end of Congress’ session just around the corner, marijuana advocates, stakeholders and lawmakers continue to push for marijuana banking policy change.

This time, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) joined forces with Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera (D), Attorney General Phil Weiser (D), Treasurer Dave Young (D) and Department of Public Safety (DPS) Executive Director Stan Hilkey in urging congressional leaders to revisit the issue, reported Marijuana Moment.

In a letter sent on Monday to both House and Senate leaders, Colorado officials focused on the impact which a bipartisan marijuana banking bill will have in terms of public safety and industry equity,

“The lack of safe banking and financial services for the cannabis industry in the State of Colorado has become a dire public safety issue for highly regulated cannabis businesses operating in compliance with state …

Full story available on Benzinga.com

Original Post: benzinga.com

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New Data Shows Weed Legalization a Boon for Real Estate, New Jobs and Tax Revenue

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A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank shed light on the economic impact marijuana legalization has had in recent years, reported Marijuana Moment. Policy changes on the state level have resulted in increased commercial real estate demand, as well as a surge in tax revenues while creating more jobs.

According to an analysis from the Kansas City arm of the Central Bank, which collected data from several states under its jurisdiction, the Tenth Federal Reserve District, the cannabis industry has become one of the main economic sectors positioned to grow substantially in the coming period.

“Overall, the marijuana industry has had a significant effect on the economies of Tenth District states in the initial years after legalization,” the report said. “The emergence of the industry has …

Full story available on Benzinga.com

Article: benzinga.com

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Will Missouri Legalize Cannabis? Amendment 3 Suffers Another Attack This Time by State NAACP

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Cannabis legalization efforts in Missouri are under attack once again, this time by The Missouri State Conference of the NAACP.

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The Missouri NAACP, breaking with chapters in the St. Louis area is urging its members to vote against Amendment 3 on the Nov. 8 ballot, reported the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch.

The group announced Thursday that it believes recreational marijuana legalization, as it is proposed under Amendment 3, would prevent minorities from entering the cannabis industry. 

“Marijuana possession should not be a constitutional crime. Additionally, for years now, Black people, other minorities, and people who have been criminalized by marijuana laws in the past have been unable to enter the medical marijuana market,” the Missouri NAACP wrote. “That is not right. In an effort to prevent the permanent exclusion of minorities from the cannabis industry in the state of Missouri, the NAACP calls upon every voter to reject the criminalization of marijuana possession, de facto racist regulation of the cannabis market, and the wool being pulled over our eyes by the supporters of Amendment 3.”

Under Amendment 3, the first “comprehensive” cannabis business licenses would be provided to existing medical marijuana companies. 

The state’s chapter highlighted that the amendment “does not increase the number of available full market licenses” and claims that giving “micro” business licenses to disadvantaged groups makes a “very limited” program. 

According to Nimrod “Rod” Chapel Jr., president of the Missouri NAACP, members agreed last week …

Full story available on Benzinga.com

Source: benzinga.com

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