Archive for October 7th, 2006|Daily archive page

India strives for a place in nanoworld

In nano on October 7, 2006 at 4:51 pm

India has missed out on major innovations in science but it’s trying hard to ensure that it does not lag behind in the latest revolution.

A nano-science initiative of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) that began in 2003 has now identified and equipped research units in the country. Eminent scientist and pioneer of the nanotechnology initiative in India, Prof CNR Rao, is determined to carry forward India’s nano-tech hopes. Prof Rao heads DST’s Nanotechnology Steering Committee.

Research funding is also expected to rise. Those shortlisted for research funding reportedly include the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Madras, Pune and Benaras universities. Last year, the committee channelised Rs 20 crore in equipping identified units across the country to carry out research.

Even though facilities in universities are not good enough, India plans to have a reasonable capability for nanoscience over the next five years.

Scientific laboratories have started preparing nano materials for various applications in industrial houses and elsewhere. Over the past few years, we have been producing scientific output in the area of nanotechnology.

However, this has been very small in comparison to China and Japan, which have made large investments in this area. As for India, Prof Rao’s laboratory at JNCASR in Bangalore has been among the main contributors to the turnout.

Indian scientists have done a lot of work in the synthesis and discovery of new nano-materials. They have created four classes of inorganic nanotubes. Now, they look forward to developing expertise in nano-scale drug delivery, nano-electronics and nano-engineering with the help of industries.

Moreover, efforts are on to attract more research students and teachers into the stream through workshops, seminars and training programmes.

Time and again, President APJ Abdul Kalam has also expressed the need for greater focus on nanotechnology in the country. In fact, he has asked a team of experts to draw up a plan for increased funding for nano-research.
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Financial Strain from Health Care Costs a Growing Concern for Americans

In Health on October 7, 2006 at 4:47 pm

Financial Strain from Health Care Costs a Growing Concern for Americans
October 5, 2006: 10:00 a.m. EST
Aflac-Commissioned Survey Reveals Financial Worries – Even Bankruptcy – Caused by Health Care Costs

COLUMBUS, Ga., Oct. 5 /PRNewswire/ — One in three Americans (32 percent) say they are concerned that they will someday need to declare bankruptcy due to unexpected medical bills, according to a recent survey commissioned by Aflac, the number one provider of guaranteed-renewable insurance in the United States. Additionally, the survey found that nearly all Americans (89 percent) say the rising cost of health care is among the most pressing concerns facing Americans today. The nationwide survey randomly polled 2,091 Americans age 18 and older in September 2006.

Aflac’s survey revealed that increasing health care costs in the United States have a significant impact on Americans’ everyday lives, forcing many people to delay medical care or tap into their savings to pay expenses.

“There is a direct correlation between the continuous increase of health care costs and financial anxiety,” said Paul Amos, executive vice president and COO, Aflac. “It is important for Americans to educate themselves on the various health care and insurance options available and to create a financial safety net to help with the protection of their physical and financial well- being, and that of their families for the long term.”

Increasing costs in health care are forcing many Americans to go without care. The number of Americans with major medical insurance has decreased compared to one year ago, dropping from 81 percent in 2005 to 74 percent in 2006. And the perils of being uninsured are apparent. Three-quarters (74 percent) of survey respondents without any type of medical insurance report that they have considered not going to the doctor because of the costs they may incur, while only 37 percent of those with medical insurance reported doing so.

The threat of financial strain and even bankruptcy due to medical costs is a legitimate concern for many Americans. A 2001 Harvard study found that illness and medical bills caused half of the 1,458,000 personal bankruptcies in 2001 and estimates that medical bankruptcies affect about 2 million Americans each year. Alarmingly, the American Bankruptcy Institute states that three-fourths of the people who file for bankruptcy because of medical debts have health insurance when the medical problem begins.

– 82 percent of respondents believe that many Americans will need to dip into their savings to cover health care costs. – Eight in ten (80 percent) believe that growing medical and health care expenses will make retirement living less comfortable in the future. – 37 percent of respondents in the Baby Boomer generation are concerned that they will someday need to declare bankruptcy due to unexpected medical bills, compared to 29 percent of Gen Y, 33 percent of Gen X, and 25 percent of Post-War generation respondents.

Although Americans seem to know the steps they should take to prepare for an unexpected medical emergency, few actually follow the advice, causing a gap between belief and actual behavior.

– 83 percent of respondents agree that all Americans should put aside money specifically to cover future health care expenses. – Fewer than four in ten (37 percent) respondents have actually put aside money specifically to cover future health care expenses. – Nearly half (46 percent) report that they only could cover up to three months of living expenses if they were not receiving a paycheck.

The majority (85 percent) of respondents acknowledged that in addition to caring for their spouses and children, more Americans will have to deal with the financial strain of caring for elderly parents. As the sandwich generation (those sandwiched between caring for aging parents, adult children, and/or grandchildren) grows, apprehension about this strain is understandable.

“Individuals caring for both aging and young generations face many daunting scenarios, such as caring for a spouse or partner, an aging parent, a sick child, or in the most difficult situations, more than one at once,” said Amos. “Proper medical coverage, financial savings and Aflac insurance can help provide a financial cushion.”

According to the Aflac survey, one in three (33 percent) of Americans have used vacation time to care for a family member and more than a quarter (28 percent) have lost wages because they stayed home to care for a sick child or elderly parent.

– Two-thirds (67 percent) of those with children under 18 at home have missed work to take care of them. – One-quarter (26 percent) of Americans have missed work to care for an elderly parent. About Aflac

Media contacts: Laura Kane Aflac Incorporated (706)-596-3493 lkane@aflac.com Mechell Clark Aflac Incorporated (706)-243-8004 meclark@aflac.com

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Environmental Health News Good News Collection of newsitems

In Health on October 7, 2006 at 4:41 pm

Some url to may be follow

Platinum to boost computer memory

In nano on October 7, 2006 at 4:50 am

– 6th October 2006

A new transistor has been created using platinum which could dramatically increase the speed of computer memory.

It has been reported that scientists from the University of California-Los Angeles have taken a 30-nanometre-long piece of tobacco mosaic virus and coated it in platinum to develop super-fast memory chips.

The nanoparticles could be used in computers and other devices, such as MP3 players, to radically improve their speed and memory size.

The transistors built from the nanoparticles have been sandwiched between two electrodes and are apparently easy to switch between ‘on’ and ‘off’ states because they do not need to build up a charge at a capacitor before they can be switched.

This breakthrough, reported in the Nature Nanotechnology journal, comes following the recent discovery that nanoparticles used in fibre optic cables could be utilised to transform the cables into detectors of certain chemicals. Link to Source

Cell-Like Nano Particles for Attacking Disease

In Health, nano on October 7, 2006 at 1:21 am

Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Researchers are developing smart “nanocarriers” for drug delivery and diagnostics.
By Kevin Bullis
Using parts of living cells in a smart nanotechnology-based system, researchers in Switzerland have demonstrated a “nanocarrier” that can target specific types of cells and light up in response to conditions in their immediate environment.

The work is part of a growing effort by scientists worldwide to develop nano devices that can circulate in the bloodstream, slip stealthily past the body’s immune system, attach to cancer or inflammatory cells (an important ability in diseases such as atherosclerosis and arthritis), and deliver a deadly drug payload–destroying some of the toughest diseases without the often debilitating side effects that can accompany chemotherapy (see “Nanomedicine”).

Already, early versions of such nano-based treatments have been approved for breast cancer. But Patrick Hunziker, a physician at University Hospital Basel, and Wolfgang Meier, professor of chemistry at the University of Basel, are attempting to trigger the release of the drugs at more precise locations and at release rates adjusted to have the most effect on a particular disease.

One promising approach to achieving this goal is to develop nanocarriers that can respond to cues in their immediate environment, similar to how living cells can open and shut membrane pores. Hunziker and Meier have just reported in the journal Nano Letters on a system that incorporates bacterial proteins that form such pores.

The researchers first developed a type of polymer that self-assembles to form hollow spheres about 200 nanometers across. During the assembly process, they introduce the pore proteins, which form channels in the polymer spheres. As in bacteria, where the pores can close to protect cells from acidic environments, these channels also open and close in response to changes in pH. Read more

Will Silicon Light Illuminate the Future?

In nano on October 7, 2006 at 1:18 am

Friday, October 06, 2006 By Tyler Hamilton
A startup says it can make silicon-based lighting that will compete with conventional incandescent bulbs and existing LED-based lighting.Researchers at a Canadian startup say they’ve found a way to make low-cost, white-light LEDs that could one day end our addiction to inefficient incandescent bulbs. They claim to have cracked the cost barrier for solid-state lighting by replacing the expensive semiconductors compounds traditionally used in LEDs with low-cost silicon.

“Because it’s a silicon-based system, we think [the lighting] will be affordable,” says Stephen Naor, chief executive officer of Ottawa-based Group IV Semiconductor (named after silicon’s position in the periodic table). …..
Group IV fabricated a structure in which an electrical current is passed between the top transparent layer of the device and a substrate made of silicon. In-between these two layers is a layer of silicon nanocrystals–quantum dots–that emits the light. When current is applied, the nanocrystal’s electrons are energized; once they settle back into their natural state, energy is given off in the form of photons, producing light. full article