Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

House dust mite project aims to reduce asthma

05.02.2004


A promising new way of controlling the mites that can cause asthma and other allergies is now under development.



It could lead to dramatic progress in preventing these conditions and reduce the estimated £700 million a year spent in the UK on treating them.

The technique uses a computer model to assess how modifying a domestic environment can reduce numbers of house dust mites in beds, carpets and elsewhere.


Development of the model has been led by University College London (UCL), in collaboration with Cambridge University and other partners, and with funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). A 2 year follow-up project, also funded by EPSRC, will now improve the model and test it in homes around the UK.

Although almost invisible to the naked eye, house dust mites play a major role in asthma and other allergic conditions. The original EPSRC funded project found that mite numbers are heavily influenced by environmental conditions in homes, and by the heating regime, ventilation and humidity in particular. It produced a prototype model – the most advanced of its kind – that can assess how different building features and patterns of occupant use affect these conditions, and therefore house dust mite numbers. Room conditions are important because dust mites have a unique mechanism for taking up water which involves dribbling a salt solution from under their armpits to their mouth. This mechanism enables mites to take up water from the room air. If the room conditions become dry this salt solution crystallises, the mechanism stops and hence the mites dehydrate and eventually die.

The new project represents the next step in developing the model for use in devising anti-mite strategies for a range of UK house types. It will include laboratory monitoring of mite population growth in a range of conditions, which will generate data essential to the effectiveness of the model.

To validate the model, the project will also include a field study involving 60 houses across the country. This will measure temperature and humidity in bedrooms and beds, and monitor mite populations found in the beds.

Harnessing building science and acarology (the study of mites and ticks), the initiative is being led by Professor Tadj Oreszczyn of UCL. He said, “we aim to identify how homes can be designed and used so that mite populations are reduced to below the threshold at which health problems occur”.

Jane Reck | EPSRC
Further information:
http://www.epsrc.ac.uk

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Foxes in the city: citizen science helps researchers to study urban wildlife
14.12.2018 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

nachricht Machine learning helps predict worldwide plant-conservation priorities
04.12.2018 | Ohio State University

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tangled magnetic fields power cosmic particle accelerators

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

In search of missing worlds, Hubble finds a fast evaporating exoplanet

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>