Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Take this - and call me when you're better

I recently had opportunity to recommend the Neti pot to TamaraK as a low impact method for her to alleviate her sinus problems (you'll have to scroll well down the comments). Despite her subsequent confession of sissytude (a condition shared by a surprising - to me - number of others) regarding the general sanctity of nasal passages, I can't help wondering how effective such a device might be as a delivery mechanism for nano-scale medicines?

Granted, only a certain amount of any individual dose would remain inside the sinus cavity (the rest being flushed out along with everything else), but this should allow for a more gradual introduction of the material into the system via absorption through the sinus tissues. Should a more rapid introduction be desired, then an inhaler or direct transfusion would still be viable - if more invasive - options.

Regarding the still-mythical respirocytes hypothesised by Ray Kurzweil, and unlike Phil Bowermaster apparently, I certainly do want the capabilities he mentions whether or not I have any particular "need" for them. I regard such choices as being analogous to the choice provided to US citizens by our constitution's 2nd amendment. The decision to exercise the right isn't predicated on any degree of need; any effort now or in future to restrict such medical options as Kurzweil's respirocytes ought to be as strongly resisted as are infringements on our right to firearms. We are each free to elect not to exercise the right, but no-one should have the blanket authority to impose when or if we may make such a choice for ourselves.


al fin said...

Interesting idea. When I feel like I'm coming down with a cold, I'll add a little colloidal silver to my sinus lavage solution.

Other medications might be useful, although the home experimenter should be careful (unless you've graduated medical school).

The problem with the polyethylene glycol RBC substitutes is what happens to them when they're sequestered in the spleen? How well do they degrade? How many transfusion units of the "fake cells" would be enough to create splenomegaly and a non-functioning spleen?

Quite an interesting idea worth pursuing. Don't skimp on the animal research!

Will Brown said...

I'm not recommending any form of self-experimentation (even if you are a med school grad), only that disease transmission vectors ought to work just as well for delivery of disease prevention ('flu vaccine) or treatments for sympoms. I'm afraid the rest of us will still have to await the research efforts of those better qualified (or at least situated) to perform that exacting and expensive work.

One devoutly hopes that the inventors of the polyetholene glycol RBC substitute are aware of the body absorption problem too. As you say, lot's of animal research will be necessary.

al fin said...

The monomer "ethylene glycol" is toxic to the liver, but I suspect the actual quantities involved in the nano-cages would be very small. The body could probably detoxify that quantity without harm--particularly if the cages were degraded over time.

I really like the idea of nano-containers for hemoglobin/fake blood cells. If they can work out all the kinks it would certainly make field treatment for trauma a lot more effective.