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Starting with khella, a traditional remedy for asthma, Altounyan discovered in 1965 that khella’s active ingredient was khellin. He eventually produced a safer chemical based on khellin, sodium cromoglycate. This was later marketed as Intal by Fisons Pharmaceuticals, which was taken over by Rhone-Poulenc Rorer, who in turn were acquired into Aventisand sanofi-aventis. Prior to the RPR takeover, the R&D element of Fisons was sold to Astra, making it now part of AstraZeneca. Sodium cromoglycate was the first clinically utilised mast cell stabiliser. The mast cell plays a key role in allergic and asthmatic inflammation. Mast cells contain powerful inflammatory mediators which when released lead to inflammation and bronchoconstriction of the airway. Sodium cromoglycate stabilises the mast cell thereby preventing the release of the mediators.
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Stephen Stepanian (February 28, 1882 – October 1964) (Armenian: Ստիվեն Ստեփանեան) was an Armenian American inventor and owner of numerous patents including the Elevator and Conveyor, Compound Tool, and the Wrench. He is also accredited as the inventor of a self-discharging motorized transit mixer that was the predecessor of the concrete mixer truck. Stepanian is often called the “father of the ready-mix concrete industry.”
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Michel Matthew Ter-Pogossian (April 21, 1925 – June 19, 1996) was an Armenian-American nuclear physicist who is one of the fathers of positron emission tomography (PET),the first functional brain imaging technology. PET could effectively be used to evaluate what areas of the brain were active during various mental processes versus looking at the structure of the brain through conventional CT.
Ter-Pogossian was born in Berlin, the only child of Armenian parents who had settled in Germany after escaping the Armenian Genocide during World War I. The family moved to France when Michel was a young child. During World War II, he fought with the French resistance. He earned degrees in science from the University of Paris and from the Institute of Radium. In 1946, he emigrated to the United States to attend Washington University of St. Louis; he later joined the faculty of Washington University School of Medicine. He was married in 1966 to Ann Scott Dodson and had three children and six grandchildren.
PET scanning is one of the most promising techniques for cancer detection and has applications in monitoring heart disease.The development of new radioligands may allow more uses of positron emission tomography for other areas in medicine.
The technique uses the injection of ultrashort acting radioactive substances commonly bound to water or deoxyglucose. The deoxyglucose method directly measures brain metabolism whereas the radioactively labeled water is effective at measuring brain blood flow.
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