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Better Nasal Sprays With The Help Of Computer Models

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Better Nasal Sprays With The Help Of Computer Models

In order to develop new ways of administration of nasal drugs, scientists at RMIT Univerisity have developed computer models that analyze with great detail the human respiratory tract and focus on the way in wich particles are inhaled. Using these computer models researchers can better understand how small particles are travelling through the human respiratory airway and where exactly they are deposited. In simple words, these models offer a better visualisation method of how these small particles flow and deposit.

The research led by Proffesor Jiyuan Tu, Deputy  Head of Research and Innovation at RMIT’s School of Aerospace was conducted in collaboration with two United States universities – Purdue and Clarckson and China National Nanoscience Centre and founded by The Federal Government’s Australian Research Council which provided funds totaling more than $1 million.

The main objective of the study was to provide a better understanding of the exact therapeutic mechanisms of action and effects of devices used to administer nasal medication. The research team used for their study a method called Computational Fluid Dynamics.

Professor Tu and Dr Kiao Inthavong, developed complex models of the human respiratory tract composed of CT and MRI scans that included images of all respiratory segments until the lungs (upper segments of the lung airway). These particular segments determine in fact where exactly the inhaled particles end up on the respiratory walls.

Nasal Cavity

Nasal Cavity

Developing such precise technologies is a huge step forward towards new discoveries in biomedical and health research, as these kind of models are able to predict the health risk and prognosis of subjects exposed to particles that are travelling by air and all kinds of gases. The advantage is that by using computer models, the health risks can be simulated without using live models or other invasive techniques.

“For example, the models have tracked asbestos fibres as they enter the nasal cavity and eventually reach the deep lung regions causing lung complications such as mesothelioma.”, said Professor Tu.

In addition this kind of simulation technology can help doctors explain a surgical procedure to their patients, or can even help companies that produce air conditioning units to improve their models. These studies may also have great relevance for assessing air pollution that includes dust and smoke or new methods of dealing with infectious diseases transmitted by air.