Got allergies? Tiny discovery nothing to sneeze at

Fullerenes are nanoparticles that could prevent allergic reactions.

I don't have an image to show you of fullerenes (gotta love that name), but they are small. Too tiny for my digital camera. Each fullerene is a nanoparticle also known as "buckyball" and it contains about 60 carbon atoms. Those are arranged to form tiny hollow cages.

Now nanotechnologists at the Virginia Commonwealth University have used fullerenes to stop allergic reactions--not just treat allergy symptoms but prevent them and leave you with a clear head, which is more than you ever hoped for. The little carbon cages interrupt the basic process of the mast cells. Those guys are all over your body and release histamines when in contact with some allergenic substance. The fullerenes will prevent the histamines from getting loose and causing the usual allergic havoc we all know too well.

No word on how soon we might get our first chance to inhale these little fullerenes. But I, for one, am holding my breath.

Tags:
Tech Culture
About the author

    Harry Fuller escaped from television work to be executive editor at CNET News.com.

     

    Join the discussion

    Conversation powered by Livefyre

    Show Comments Hide Comments
    Latest Galleries from CNET
    15 crazy old phones from a Korean museum (pictures)
    10 gloriously geeky highlights from 2014 (pictures)
    2015.5 Volvo XC60: updated tech, understated design
    Busted! CNET readers show us their broken devices (pictures)
    Take a closer look at the BlackBerry Classic (pictures)