MIT Technology Review, July/August 2010, by TR Editors¬† –¬† Patients who have asthma that is not controlled by drugs may benefit from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the Alair medical device. It uses a catheter with an expanding tip made of four electrodes. Inserted in a lung passageway by a medical professional, these electrodes deliver radio-frequency energy, destroying some of the smooth muscle tissue responsible for restricting the flow of air during an asthma attack.

Courtesy of Asthmatx

Product: Alair Bronchial Thermoplasty System

Cost: Not available

Availability: Now

Source: www.btforasthma.com

Company: Asthmatx

Scanning Electron Microscope Pictures of Grains of Pollen

Hay fever sufferers can now see the face of their invisible enemy – thanks to these Scanning Electron Microscope images of pollen grains. A Swiss scientists named Martin Oeggerli, who uses the name Micronaut for his art, uses a Scanning Electron Microscope in his cellar to capture images of pollen grains. This picture shows a grain of willow pollen wedged between flower petals

Picture: MICRONAUT / CATERS NEWS

Grains of pollen come in all shapes and sizes. The large object in the centre of this image is pumpkin pollen; the tiny speck just below and to the right of it is forget-me-not pollen

Picture: MICRONAUT / CATERS

The grey granules are pollen from Viburnum tinus, or the snowball plant. One of them has started growing a tube that transfers the sperm to the ovule of a receptive ovary. The yellow granules are pollen from other species of plant

Picture: MICRONAUT / CATERS NEWS

Grains of pollen on a geranium stigma

Picture: MICRONAUT / CATERS NEWS

The pollen of the silver leaf tree has a sticky coating, making it easier for animals to carry it around

Picture: MICRONAUT / CATERS NEWS

Pollen from a lily. Hay fever is caused by the immune system reacting to the pollen. Cells inside the nose and eyes release histamine and other chemicals when they come in contact with pollen, causing red eyes and a blocked nose Picture: MICRONAUT / CATERS NEWS

Pollen from a Pistia (also known as water lettuce or water cabbage)

Picture: MICRONAUT / CATERS NEWS

Pine pollen

Picture: MICRONAUT / CATERS NEWS

Pollen from an Albizia (also known as the silk tree)

Picture: MICRONAUT / CATERS NEWS

Pollen from a Venus flytrap

Picture: MICRONAUT / CATERS NEWS

Pollen from a forget-me-not. This flower has one of the smallest known grains of pollen; just five one-thousandths of a millimetre in diameter

Picture: MICRONAUT / CATERS NEWS

A higher magnification of forget-me-not pollen on a petal

Picture: MICRONAUT / CATERS NEWS

The pollen from a mallow flower. Its spines help it cling to birds’ feathers

Picture: MICRONAUT / CATERS NEWS

By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID , 07.08.10

WASHINGTON — Folks sweating out the heat wave battering parts of the country may just have to get used to it.

As global warming continues such heat waves will be increasingly common in the future, a Stanford University study concludes.

“In the next 30 years, we could see an increase in heat waves like the one now occurring in the eastern United States or the kind that swept across Europe in 2003 that caused tens of thousands of fatalities,” Noah Diffenbaugh, an assistant professor of environmental Earth system science at Stanford, said in a statement.

Diffenbaugh and Moetasim Ashfaq, a former Stanford postdoctoral fellow now at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, used a series of computer models of climate to calculate changes in the future with increased levels of carbon dioxide and other gases in the atmosphere. Their findings are reported in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

They calculate that within 30 years average temperature could be 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, or 2 Celsius, higher than in the mid-1800s.

That level of increase has been reported by others and most atmospheric scientists expect it to lead to warming and a change in a variety of weather and climate conditions.

Diffenbaugh and Ashfaq focus specifically on heat waves over the United States.

They reported that an intense heat wave equal to the longest on record from 1951 to 1999 is likely to occur as many as five times between 2020 and 2029 over areas of the western and central United States.

In addition, they said the 2030s are projected to be even hotter.

“Occurrence of the longest historical heat wave further intensifies in the 2030-2039 period, including greater than five occurrences per decade over much of the western U.S. and greater than three exceedences per decade over much of the eastern U.S.,” the researchers reported.

“I did not expect to see anything this large within the next three decades. This was definitely a surprise,” Diffenbaugh said.

The research was funded by the Energy Department and the National Science Foundation. The climate model simulations were generated and analyzed at Purdue University.