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Car exhaust fumes could cure heart disease?

London: Toxic car exhaust fumes in small amounts could cure heart disease, scientists experimenting on pig hearts have claimed.

British scientists are monitoring the impact of tiny quantities of toxic chemicals found in car exhaust fumes to cure heart disease in pig hearts, the `Daily Mail` reported.

Chemists at University of Highlands and Islands (UHI) are using toxic chemicals carbon monoxide and nitric oxide to widen blood vessels and prevent blood clots.

Professor Ian Megson, who is the team leader says releasing the normally poisonous toxins into the heart in minuscule amounts blocks the body`s ability to clot and relaxes arteries, making them wider and allowing more blood to pass through.

The treatment is hoped to benefit patients suffering from heart attacks and strokes and was developed by fine-tuning machines used to measure car exhaust emissions in garages.

"We are using chemical amounts one million times smaller than that released in car exhaust fumes, so very tiny quantities, which when delivered to a specific area can have a beneficial impact on the patient," Megson was quoted by the daily as saying.

"It is at a very early stage in development but has huge potential. There are a lot of heart patients out there who could benefit from this," he said.

A team of scientists at St Andrews will start by building pocket filled molecules called `metal-organic frameworks`.

The frameworks will then be filled with particles of carbon monoxide, nitric oxide and hydrogen sulphide, found in rotting food.

The experiments will be aimed at patients with on-going heart problems and stents, metal inserts that widen closed or blocked arteries.

Prof Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation said: "In large amounts these gases are harmful, but in small doses they actually have a beneficial effect."

The scientists have been granted 288,000 British pounds from the British Heart Foundation to fund three years` research.

PTI

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