Thursday, September 6, 2018

I'll Still Use the Nima Sensor

There were new reports today from Gluten Free Watchdog regarding the Nima gluten sensor. Third party testing released from Nima showed that the gluten sensor is wrong much of the time.

There were false positives (times when the sensor showed gluten, when it was actually at 20 parts per million or less) about 8% of the time. This is an issue because you may think that something isn't safe to eat, when in fact it is. Twenty parts per million (or 20 ppm) or less is safe, per the FDA and medical research, for a person with Celiac disease.

There were false negatives (times when the test showed negative, when in fact it wasn't) about 20% of the time, with nearing 100% accuracy only when the levels of gluten neared 40 ppm. This is an issue because you may think something is safe, when in fact it isn't.

These things tend to scare people. In fact, they scare me a bit, but I still have the Nima sensor, and I plan to continue to use it. Here's why:

I feel like this technology is promising. It's a start. It isn't perfect. Even if it WAS perfect, 100% of the time, the piece of food you test could be fine, but three inches over on your plate could be something that was cross contaminated.

My hope is that this technology will improve. That it will inspire other companies to come up with similar (better, faster, cheaper) products. My hope is that it will one day be considered a medical device, complete with FDA approval and that insurance will cover it. 

For me, having a sensor that gets it 
right some of the time is better than 
not knowing all of the time.

I'm still fairly new to the Celiac game. It's scary, and my tests keep coming back in ways I'm not thrilled with (a.k.a. I feel like I'm not getting better). Add to that the fact that I have zero symptoms when I ingest gluten, and I'm flying blind. 
For me, having a sensor that gets it right some of the time is better than not knowing all of the time.  So for now, I'll continue to pay out of pocket for this technology. I'll take the risk. It's worth it for me.

Everything starts somewhere. With diabetes, insulin pumps used to be the size of a backpack. Blood sugar meters were large, inaccurate and took forever to come back with a reading. Constant glucose  monitoring systems were inaccurate, and painful. Technology improved. I want to believe that will happen with Celiac technology as well.

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