Published: Tuesday 15 November 2005

nano risk:Carbon nanoparticles--both in engine exhaust and the engineered structures thought to have great potential in medical applications -- promote blood-clotting, according to researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and the Ohio University.

They found that some carbon nanoparticles activate human platelets and stimulate them to aggregate, or clump together. They also demonstrate that the same nanoparticles stimulated blockage of the carotid artery in the rat model. Stressing the research was not a case against nanotechnology, they ,nevertheless, underlined the need to be aware of its risks and move ahead in a cautious and informed way.

asthma parameter: Asthma should be assessed each time a patient sees the physician, to determine whether it is well-controlled or not, according to a new practice parameter in the US. People with asthma should not be satisfied with less than well-controlled or completely controlled asthma, according to James T Li of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Asthma is not a static disease, and each patient reacts differently to medication, the environment, triggers and changing allergens, he added.

longer storage: A new antifreeze protein discovered in snow fleas by Canadian researchers may lengthen the shelf life of human organs for transplantation.

Laurie Graham and Peter Davies of Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, found that the potent protein produced by the fleas to protect themselves against freezing is capable of inhibiting ice growth by about six degree Celsius.

This would allow organs to be stored at lower temperatures, expanding the time allowed between removal and transplant.

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