Nanotechnology focuses on materials or devices that are 100 nanometers (a billionth of a meter) or smaller.

Nanotechnology methods are now being used in many exciting medical applications. Such use is seen in newer pregnancy tests, which rely on gold nanoparticles to reflect the color that reveals the presence of pregnancy hormones in urine. New sunscreen lotions contain transparent nanoparticles of zinc oxide. Also, some newer shoe insoles contain silver nanoparticles, which kill microorganisms that cause foot odor and athlete’s foot.

So far, there are many intriguing ideas in nanomedicine that are still under development. However, plenty of nanomedical technologies are available or will become available in the next two years such as an ultrasound procedure that uses nanoparticle contrast agents – liquids injected into the body to make certain tissues more visible during diagnostic imaging. Also, a paper towel that detects harmful bacteria called the “nano-napkin” is being researched.

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Dr. Anand Kulkarni
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