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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

New device could help prevent red wine headaches

A new device developed by scientists working on NASA technology to find life on Mars can detect the chemicals in red wine and other substances that are believed to trigger headaches in some people.

Biogenic amines, which occur naturally in a wide variety of aged, pickled and fermented foods, are believed to cause headaches in people who are sensitive to them. Wine, chocolate, cheese, olives, nuts and cured meats are among the common food items that contain amines, such as histamine and tyramine. The new device, which is currently the size of a briefcase but will eventually shrink to PDA size, can determine amine levels in five minutes using one drop of liquid.

Some people are able to avoid amine-triggered headaches by taking an antihistamine before consuming wine or amine-rich foods. However, many specialists advise people with amine sensitivity to avoid them, since they can also trigger sudden episodes of high blood pressure, heart palpitations and elevated adrenaline levels.
M. Zane Grey, 6:27 AM