Nickel allergy protects against cancer?

September 27th, 2011

Finally some good news for nickel allergy sufferers?!  A recent study by Danish scientists found an interesting link regarding contact allergies and certain types of cancer.

Between 1984 and 2008 the Danish Department of Dermatology skin patch tested nearly 17,000 people.  The results were recorded and provide an invaluable database.  The scientists in this recent study took that database and compared it against the Danish Cancer Registry.  Results were very interesting.

The comparison showed a decreased risk of breast and non-melanoma skin cancers in allergy sufferers.  Contact dermatitis, like nickel allergy, is a result of the immune system being hyper-responsive.  The study suggests that this over-reacting immune system has some benefit in patrolling against rogue cancer cells.

While more research is needed, it provides some interesting clues as to how the immune system and nickel allergy function, hopefully towards an eventual cure!

Here we link to the full study: BMJ Open

More progress towards a nickel allergy cure!

April 30th, 2011

An exciting break-through has been announced in the quest for a nickel allergy cure.  Researchers, this time in the United States, have found that applying nano-particles to the skin of mice blocks the entry of nickel into the body (they must have activated the TLR4 receptors in mice, see the post below).  Developing these particles and adding them to a cream could potentially work in humans (no testing on humans has been conducted yet).

However, this would be more of a cure for people that work in a nickel heavy environment, like a battery manufacturing plant or a metal foundry.  It may not be as convenient for people that do not work in such environments.  For instance, it would not help at all for earrings that contain nickel, and it could prove cumbersome to have to apply, and re-apply, a cream just to wear necklaces, bracelets or belts that contain nickel.  Even with the cream it will probably be easier to shop nickel free.

It does show that progress is being made (and someone is actually working on a nickel allergy cure!) so stay tuned for further developments :) .

Getting closer to a nickel allergy cure?

February 24th, 2011

Researchers in Germany have made a major breakthrough in the work towards an eventual cure for nickel allergy.  The exact mechanism that causes nickel allergy has been a mystery until now.  German scientists have discovered that a specific receptor, called a “TLR4”, sends out a distress signal as soon as it comes in contact with nickel.

Why is this important?  Now that a specific pathway has been discovered research can focus on blocking that specific immune response, it is no longer a “moving target”.  In addition, research has always been hindered by the fact that mice are NOT allergic to nickel so they were useless as test subjects.  Now that researchers know which protein sequences act as the alarm bell they have been able to turn this on in mice.  Now that mice can be made allergic to nickel research on cures can be accelerated.

Another benefit would come from the fact that nickel allergy has a genetic “foot-print”.  Since there is a specific genetic pathway that causes nickel allergy there could soon be a genetic test available.  Imagine knowing your child is allergic to nickel before becoming exposed to nickel and creating a permanent nickel allergy response!

If you want to read more about this exciting discovery click here.

Nokia Sourcing Nickel Free?

January 2nd, 2011
Nokia is sourcing nickel free

Nokia going nickel free?

While researching the websites of various cellular phone manufacturers we found this disclaimer on Nokia’s website:

“All Nokia devices comply with strict global safety and quality standards. We use nickel at levels well within current legal and safety limits. Our policy is that all our new devices are free of nickel on the product surfaces.

Since as early as 2001, we have voluntarily complied with restrictions on the use of nickel as defined in the EU Directive 94/27/EC of 30 June 1994 amending the Directive 76/769/EEC. This directive was originally targeted for products where the materials often are in direct skin contact for longer periods of time, such as jewelry. In the future, the directive will cover mobile devices as well, and we have addressed this requirement in advance.

Over 40 of our recent devices, such as the popular Nokia 5800 XpressMusic and the Supernova series, come without nickel on the surface coatings or any under-layer, giving people with allergies lots of choice. The information about whether a product includes nickel or not can be found in the eco-declaration of each individual product.

Some metal alloys used on product surfaces, such as stainless steel, inherently contain nickel, but standardized testing has shown that these do not cause nickel sensitivity in the general population. However, Nokia offers a wide range of models without stainless steel on their surfaces as well.”

So you should be able to jump over to their site and look up the exact Nokia phone model you are looking for.  The following link should take you straight there :)

Nokia cell phone look-up.

Apple I-Phone Tests Nickel Free

December 21st, 2010
Blackberry and I-Phone come back nickel free!

They test negative!

Just a quick note to all you nickel allergy suffering, Blackberry and I-Phone lovers out there. We did a nickel content test on the case and trim components of a few recent model Blackberry smart-phones and good news!  The test came back nickel free! We also tested a  recent model I-Phone and it tested negative as well.  We expect this to be a growing trend with manufacturers as nickel use, and the problems with nickel allergy, become more well known.  We will keep testing various brands and let you know what we come up with.  Help us research!  Have you ever had a nickel allergy problem with a cell phone? Let us know here!

Simple Nickel Allergy Patch Test

December 13th, 2010

Ever had a suspicion that you might be allergic to nickel?  You can actually perform a very simple patch test at home!   First you need to find….a nickel!  You are looking for a U.S. 5 cent nickel minted between 1946 up until today.  Those coins contain 25% nickel and 75% copper.  Wash the nickel with soap and water so you are sure it is contaminant free; you want to be sure it is only the nickel reacting with the skin.

nickel-patch-test-beforeAs you can see we used two bandages to hold the nickel in place.  We left it on for 24 hours.  Our victim, I mean…our test subject… was selected since he has already been diagnosed with nickel allergy.

After 24 hours we removed the nickel patch.

At the time of removal there was no noticeable reaction at all.  In fact, the test subject was surprised by this.  Not so fast!

At 24 hours after removal the skin welted up and turned pink  in a perfect, nickel sized circle.nickel-patch-test-after

At 48 hours the itching was intense and the affected area was bumpy and small sores had developed.

At 72 hours peak reaction occurred.  Typical itching, painful and slightly oozing rash was fully developed.  By now it looked much like a poison ivy reaction.

After 4 days all symptoms began to subside and healing was taking place.

10 days after patch removal the affected area was healed but still had a rough, sandpaper texture to it.

We recommend applying Neosporin, or some other over the counter antibiotic cream, to prevent itching and infection as soon as you see a positive reaction.  You do not need to let the rash run it’s course untreated as we did once you have reaction confirmation.

So there you have it, simple and easy to do.  Big thanks to Alex for letting us experiment on him!

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