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Gurus track inhaled nanoparticles as they experience Mach 5 lung travel

Darren Murph

Ever wondered what kind of objects you inhale on a daily basis, leaving your lungs to sort out whatever it is that you snort in? Scientists at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Harvard School of Public Health have, and they're tired of simply imagining. A crew of wizards at the institution have started to test a so-called FLARE system (fluorescence-assisted resection and exploration), which enables them to see and monitor nanoparticles as they enter and travel through the lungs. The goal here is to "determine the characteristics and parameters of inhaled nanoparticles that mediate their uptake into the body -- from the external environment, across the alveolar lung surface and into the lymphatic system and blood stream and eventually to other organs." In short, this here study may offer a better understanding of the health effects surrounding air pollution... or restart the mask-wearing craze that SARS initiated. But probably both.

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