HEALTH

Bausch & Lomb disperses the fog for outdoor sports enthusiasts

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCHESTER, N.Y. Skiers, snowboarders and other outdoor sports enthusiasts in North America have a new solution to one of the biggest problems they encounter: fogging of goggles and face shields.

Bausch & Lomb recently introduced its FogShield Sport premoistened towelettes that simultaneously prevent fog from forming on goggles for eight hours or more and help keep lenses clean.

“There’s a solution for staying warm, a solution for staying dry, but there haven’t been many solutions for keeping goggles fog-free,” stated John Stewart, general manager vision accessories for Bausch & Lomb. “FogShield Sport provides an easy-to-use, affordable anti-fog system to help prevent fogging that starts working immediately to provide clear vision,” Stewart added. “Packaged in small foil pouches that are about the size of hand-wipes, FogShield Sport sells for about $2 per application.”

FogShield Sport’s proprietary technology originally was formulated to work in the harshest industrial settings, and has been tried, tested and proven on professionals ranging from firefighters to hazmat technicians. The product’s effectiveness in eliminating fog in goggles was previously recognized by the International Association of Hazardous Materials Technicians as the Hazardous Materials Response Product of the Year.

“Since the product has proven extremely effective in anti-fog protection for firefighters and hazmat professionals in industrial environments, we believe it will be effective for skiers, snowboarders, paintballers and scuba divers,” added Stewart.

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Poll shows lack of access to H1N1 vaccine

BY Michael Johnsen

BOSTON A new national poll from Harvard School of Public Health that researchers released Friday found that a majority of adults who tried to get the H1N1 vaccine for themselves or their children have been unable to do so.

Since the H1N1 flu vaccine became available in October, 17% of American adults, 41% of parents and 21% of high-priority adults have tried to get it. Among adults who tried to get it for themselves, 70% were unable to get it. Among parents who tried to get the H1N1 vaccine for their children, 66% were unable to get it. Among high-priority adults who tried to get the H1N1 vaccine, 66% were unable to get it.

The poll also showed that some people were not able to find information about the location of available H1N1 flu vaccine. Approximately half (49%) who tried to find such information were unable to find it.

“These findings suggest that the nationwide H1N1 vaccine shortage is presenting a real challenge for those who have tried to get the vaccine,” stated Robert Blendon, professor of Health Policy and Political Analysis at HSPH, who co-directed the poll.

The poll suggested that nearly a third (29%) of those who have tried and could not get the vaccine (either for themselves or for their children) are very frustrated. That said, most who have tried and not been able to get it yet (91%) say they will try again this year to get the vaccine for themselves, their children or both.

“Public health officials who are encouraging H1N1 vaccination may be relieved to see that most people who have so far been unable to get the vaccine say they will try again,” said Blendon.

The poll, which examined the American public’s response to the H1N1 vaccine shortage, is the fifth in a series of surveys of public views concerning the H1N1 flu outbreak undertaken by the Harvard Opinion Research Program at HSPH. The polling was done Oct. 30 to Nov. 1.

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Injection-only therapies for gut issues soon may become oral medicines

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN JOSE, Calif. New injection-only therapies may be available as oral medicines one day. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, including lead researcher Tejal Desai, are looking at ways to enhance the “oral availability” of drugs by designing new delivery devices that will help their absorption in the gut.

Desai plans to present her research at a meeting of the scientific society AVS here on Nov. 12. Working with a Bay-area biotechnology company, she is making devices that are sort of like spiny beads filled with drugs. The spines on these beads are silicon nanowires designed to form an adhesive interface with the tiny, hair-like cilia that cover the cells lining the gut. They are designed to stick like burrs to the cells lining the gut and slowly release their drugs there. Localized in one spot, the drugs have a better chance of diffusing into the bloodstream.

Of the many characteristic traits a drug can have, one of the most desirable is the ability for a drug to be swallowed and absorbed into the bloodstream through the gut. Some drugs, such as over-the-counter aspirin, lend themselves to this mode of delivery. Other drugs cannot be swallowed and must be administered instead through more complicated routes. Insulin, for instance, must be injected.

The reason why insulin and many other drugs cannot be swallowed is that they cannot survive the trip through the digestive tract — wherein they are first plunged into the acid bath of the stomach and then passed into the intestines, which are filled with enzymes designed to break down such molecules as insulin. Aspirin does fine in the gut because its active ingredient is a small chemical that doesn’t get broken down. Conversely, insulin is quickly degraded.

Desai currently is fine-tuning the geometry of the nanowires in order to optimize their adhesion. Her laboratory has done a number of toxicity studies with the beads, and their plan next is to look at how effectively they can deliver proteins, peptides and other macromolecules that are not usually taken orally.

One of the advantages of this approach, Desai said, is that it may be applicable for delivering drugs to other parts of the body as well, including such mucosal tissues as the insides of the nose, lungs or vagina, where the surface cells also are coated with such cilia.

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