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Tuesday, 29 November 2011
One dental researcher thinks he's found a way to permanently stave off the cavity-causing bacteria that lead to expensive and costly trips to the dentist.
Wenyuan Shi of the University of California, Los Angeles, has led efforts to develop a mouthwash with technology that kills Streptococcus mutans, the bacteria responsible for cavities.
First, Shi and colleagues had to understand how these bacteria interact in biofilms, or the sticky colonies of microorganisms that build up as plaque on the teeth. Bacteria often latch on to the surfaces of teeth, breaking down food debris and nutrients into acids that can eat away at enamel and form caries (another word for cavities). These harmful plaque build-ups can lead to gum disease and even tooth loss.
NEWS: First Teeth Grew On Outside of Body
The technology, called "Specifically-Targeted Antimicrobial Peptides" (STAMPs), targets cavity-causing bacteria without interfering with other microbes in the mouth. This differs from most antibiotics that kill unwanted bacteria and do away with the good kind as well.
But after being exposed to Shi's technology, the good bacteria develop a type of protection that prevents bad bacteria from forming near them in the future.
In a small clinical trial of 12 participants, using the mouthwash once over a four-day period helped lower levels of S. mutans bacteria, lactic acid and demineralization.
It's not clear how much the mouthwash would cost if approved for use, and more research is needed to test the long-term effects of the rinse. One UCLA press release says Shi has received an investigation grant through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which would support more trials beginning in 2012.
But can the antimicrobial really rid us of the costly and painful experience of tooth decay in our lifetimes?
BLOG: How Mouth Bacteria End Up in the Heart
We'll have to wait until the mouthwash undergoes more trials before ditching our toothbrushes and floss. Since the rinse doesn't affect other bacteria, people who rely on the mouthwash may still feel the need to brush to remove excess plaque. Another general concern may be exerting selective pressures on the bad bacteria, which may have the potential to create bacteria resistant to treatments or antibiotics. It's unclear if cell signaling creates the same pressures as other antibiotics.
The American Dental Association has warned companies for claiming that products prevent gum disease when there's not much evidence to do so.
Time will tell if the technology will hit the medicine cabinet as cavities' No. 1 enemy. It's also worth mentioning that Shi gained financial support from Colgate-Palmolive and a company he helped establish in 2005.
Wednesday, 22 June 2011
Researchers claim to have produced sought-after quantum effect - (Read Full Story)
A team of physicists is claiming to have coaxed sparks from the vacuum of empty space1. If verified, the finding would be one of the most unusual experimental proofs of quantum mechanics in recent years and "a significant milestone", says John Pendry, a theoretical physicist at Imperial College London who was not involved in the study.
The researchers, based at the Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, will present their findings early next week at a workshop in Padua, Italy. They have already posted a paper on the popular pre-print server arXiv.org, but have declined to talk to reporters because the work has not yet been peer-reviewed. High-profile journals, including Nature, discourage researchers from talking to the press until their findings are ready for publication.
Nevertheless, scientists not directly connected with the group say that the result is impressive. "It is a major development," says Federico Capasso, an experimental physicist at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who has worked on similar quantum effects.
At the heart of the experiment is one of the weirdest, and most important, tenets of quantum mechanics: the principle that empty space is anything but. Quantum theory predicts that a vacuum is actually a writhing foam of particles flitting in and out of existence.
Friday, 15 April 2011
Quantum Leap: Bits of Light Teleported to Another Place - (Full Story)
Our world is getting closer to "Star Trek" every day, it seems. Scientists announced today (April 14) they've been able to teleport special bits of light from one place to another, a la "Beam me up, Scotty."
While the advance doesn't necessarily mean we'll ever be able to teleport people, it does represent some pretty nifty, mind-bending physics.
Teleportation requires taking advantage of a quirk of quantum physics called entanglement. Two particles can be bonded so that even when separated by large distances, they communicate instantly, and what happens to one affects the other. (It's a situation so bizarre Einstein called it "spooky action at a distance.")
To teleport light, researchers led by Noriyuki Lee of the University of Tokyo had to destroy it in one place, and re-create it in another. This mirrors the teleportation process on "Star Trek," where transporters scan a person, atom by atom, and dismantle him, only to rebuild the person by configuring a different set of atoms in exactly the same pattern in another place.
Lee and his team accomplished this by linking a packet of light to one half of a pair of entangled particles. They then destroyed the light and the particle it was linked to, leaving only the lone particle of the entangled pair. The remaining particle retains the link with its entangled partner, though, including information about the light, which enabled the researchers to rebuild the light in the exact configuration at the other location.
Monday, 14 March 2011
Laser scan for Stonehenge secrets
Stonehenge is being scanned using modern laser technology to search for hidden clues about how and why it was built.
All visible faces of the standing and fallen stones, many of which are obscured by lichen, will be surveyed.
Some ancient carvings have previously been found on the stones, including a famous Neolithic "dagger".
The survey is already in progress and is expected to finish by the end of March.
Thursday, 20 January 2011
Infectious moods: How bugs control your mind
FEELING happy? Down in the dumps? Or been behaving strangely lately? Besides the obvious reasons, whether or not you are happy or sad, or prone to depression or other mental illnesses, could be a consequence of an infection - or even down to the diseases that you didn't catch during childhood.
"It used to be thought that the immune system and the nervous system were worlds apart," says John Bienenstock of McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada. Now it seems the immune system, and infections that stimulate it, can influence our moods, memory and ability to learn. Some strange behaviours, such as obsessive compulsive disorder, may be triggered by infections, and the immune system may even shape our basic personalities, such as how anxious or impulsive we are. The good news is that understanding these links between the brain and immune system could lead to new ways of treating all kinds of disorders, from depression to Tourette's syndrome.
Thursday, 20 January 2011
Strange Claim: The Sun Rose 2 Days Early in Greenland
Residents of a town on the western coast of Greenland may have seen the sun peek over the horizon 48 hours earlier than its usual arrival on Jan. 13, sparking speculation, and disagreements, over possible causes.
The town of Ilulissat sits just above the Arctic Circle, meaning its residents had been without any sunlight for a good chunk of the winter, and traditionally they'd expect to see their "first sunrise" on Jan. 13.
Friday, 14 January 2011
Earth's magnetic pole shift unleashing poisonous space clouds linked to mysterious bird deaths
Following the unexplained deaths of several thousand birds over the last two weeks, events are now emerging that may offer a physics-based explanation for the mysterious deaths. It all begins on a runway in Tampa, where airport officials recently closed that runway in order to change the numeric designators painted there. Why are those numeric designators being changed? Because the Earth's magnetic poles are shifting and the numbers previously painted on the runway no longer match up with the magnetic measurements of sensitive airplane instruments (http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-01...).
As Physorg.com explains:
The primary runway at the airport is designated 18R/36L, which means the runway is aligned along 180 degrees from north (that is, due south) when approached from the north and 360 degrees from north when approached from the south. Now the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has requested the designation be changed to 19R/1L to account for the movement of the magnetic north pole.
Friday, 14 January 2011
Now 300 dead birds fall from the sky in Alabama (how much longer can scientists keep saying this is normal?)
Up to 300 dead birds have been found on the side of an Alabama highway in the latest mass animal death to be reported.
The bodies of the birds, identified as grackles, were found strewn along the I-65 highway.
Grackles have also been found dead in their hundreds recently in Arkansas, Louisiana and Kentucky.
It appears that the birds died of blunt force trauma - possibly from being hit by a truck, wildlife biologist Bill Gates told local news station WAFF.
He drew his conclusion from the feathers scattered across the snow, which was bloody in places.
A collision with a big rig is also believed to be responsible for the deaths of over 100 birds whose bodies were found at the side of a California highway last weekend.
Wednesday, 12 January 2011
The uncomfortable truth about mind control: Is free will simply a myth?
We have vain brains; we see ourselves as better than we really are. We like to think that we exercise free will, that put into a situation where we were challenged to do something we thought unacceptable then we'd refuse. But, if you believe that, then you are probably deluded.
I make this claim, based partly on the work of psychologist Stanley Milgram. Milgram devised and carried out ingenious experiments that exposed the frailty and self-delusion that are central to our lives. He showed how easy it is to make ordinary people do terrible things, that "evil" often happens for the most mundane of reasons.
I first read about Milgram's work when I was a banker in the Seventies, working in the City. I was so fascinated by his ideas that I re-trained as a doctor, with the intention of becoming a psychiatrist. Instead I became a science journalist. Recently I got the chance to make The Brain: A Secret History, a television series which reveals how much we have learnt about ourselves through the work of some of the 20th century's most influential, and deeply flawed, psychologists.
Tuesday, 11 January 2011
Invisible tanks could be on battlefield within five years
Armoured vehicles will use a new technology known as "e-camouflage" which deploys a form "electronic ink" to render a vehicle "invisible".
Highly sophisticated electronic sensors attached to the tank's hull will project images of the surrounding environment back onto the outside of the vehicle enabling it to merge into the landscape and evade attack.
The electronic camouflage will enable the vehicle to blend into the surrounding countryside in much the same way that a squid uses ink to help as a disguise.
Unlike conventional forms of camouflage, the images on the hull would change in concert with the changing environment always insuring that the vehicle remains disguised.
Friday, 07 January 2011
God was behind Big Bang, universe no accident: Pope
God's mind was behind complex scientific theories such as the Big Bang, and Christians should reject the idea that the universe came into being by accident, Pope Benedict said on Thursday.
"The universe is not the result of chance, as some would want to make us believe," Benedict said on the day Christians mark the Epiphany, the day the Bible says the three kings reached the site where Jesus was born by following a star.
Friday, 07 January 2011
Mystery of mass animal death epidemic deepens after 8,000 turtle doves fall dead in Italy with strange blue stain on their beaks
Blue stain believed to be sign of poisoning or hypoxia - lack of oxygen that is precursor to altitude sickness
Cold weather and overbreeding blamed for deaths of two 2million fish in Chesapeake Bay.
Disease behind deaths of 100,000 fish in Arkansas River.
At least nine incidents of mass animal deaths across the globe.
Hundreds of confused birds plummeted to their deaths in multiple locations in the U.S.
Friday, 07 January 2011
Shift of Earth's magnetic north pole affects Tampa airport
Scientists say the magnetic north pole is moving toward Russia and the fallout has reached -- of all places -- Tampa International Airport.
The airport has closed its primary runway until Jan. 13 to repaint the numeric designators at each end and change taxiway signage to account for the shift in location of the Earth's magnetic north pole.
The closure of the west parallel runway will result in more activity on the east parallel runway and more noise for residential areas of South Tampa
Monday, 20 December 2010
Beam Me Up: 'Teleportation' Is Year's Biggest Breakthrough
Thanks to physics, and the truly bizarre quirks of quarks, those Star Trek style teleporters may be more than fiction.
A strange discovery by quantum physicists at the University of California Santa Barbara means that an object you can see in front of you may exist simultaneously in a parallel universe -- a multi-state condition that has scientists theorizing that teleportation or even time travel may be much more than just the plaything of science fiction writers.
Until this year, all human-made objects have moved according to the laws of classical mechanics, the rules governing ordinary objects. Toss a ball in the air and it falls back to Earth. Drop a coin from your roof and it falls into your yard. But back in March, a group of researchers designed a gadget that moves in ways that can only be described by quantum mechanics -- the set of rules that governs the behavior of tiny things like molecules, atoms, and subatomic particles.
Tuesday, 14 December 2010
Morality is modified in the lab
They identified a region of the brain just above and behind the right ear which appears to control morality.
And by using magnetic pulses to block cell activity they impaired volunteers' notion of right and wrong. The small Massachusetts Institute of Technology study appears in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Friday, 03 December 2010
Eye of the storm: The jaw-dropping image of an enormous 'supercell' cloud
It looks like something from the film Independence Day. But although it may seem like an alien mothership, this incredible picture is actually an impressive thunderstorm cloud known as a supercell. Windswept dust and rain dominate the storm's centre while rings of jagged clouds surround the edge. A flimsy tree in the foreground looks like a toy next to the magnificent natural phenomenon.
Friday, 03 December 2010
Unmanned US spacecraft returns after 7-month trip
The U.S. Air Force's secrecy-shrouded X-37B unmanned spaceplane returned to Earth early Friday after more than seven months in orbit on a classified mission, officials said.
However, the ultimate purpose of the X-37B and details about the craft have longed remained a mystery, though experts said the spacecraft was intended to speed up development of combat-support systems and weapons systems.
The voyage culminated the project's long and expensive journey from NASA to the Pentagon's research and development arm and then on to the secretive Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on the X-37 program, but the current total hasn't been released.
Thursday, 02 December 2010
NASA announcement on arsenic based life?
The discovery could prove the theory of "shadow" creatures which exist in tandem with our own and in hostile environments previously thought uninhabitable.
The "life as we don't know it" could even survive on hostile planets and develop into intelligent creatures such as humans if and when conditions improve.
In a press conference scheduled for tomorrow evening, researchers will unveil the discovery of a microbe that can live in an environment previously thought too poisonous for any life-form to survive.
Friday, 01 October 2010
Western surge in obesity may have been caused by a virus
The obesity explosion that has swept the Western world over the past 30 years may have been caused by a virus, scientists have said.
Researchers have discovered new evidence for an illness they have called "infectobesity" - obesity that is transmitted from person to person, much like an infection. The agent thought to be responsible is a strain of adenovirus, versions of which cause the common cold. It has already been labelled the "fat bug".
Wednesday, 29 September 2010
Fountain of youth pill 'is just two years away from shop shelves'
It may sound like science fiction but researchers believe they have discovered the 'Holy Grail' - an anti-ageing pill that will add decades to our lives.
Furthermore its creator Professor Vladimir Skulachev said it should be available to the public within two years.
Friday, 24 September 2010
U.S. warned of threat worse than Katrina, plague, WWII
Her 410 days of solitary confinement in an Iranian prison were mostly cramped quarters and endless monotony, but Sarah Shourd chooses to savor the few moments of joy: a proposal from her boyfriend and a birthday celebration complete with a chocolate cake.
Shourd, her boyfriend Shane Bauer and their friend Josh Fattal were captured in 2009 while hiking near the Iran-Iraq border. Shourd talked about her experiences Thursday with The Associated Press in one of her first interviews since her release on Sept. 14 after officials in Oman mediated bail.
Friday, 24 September 2010
Warning over malicious computer worm
A piece of highly sophisticated malicious software that has infected an unknown number of power plants, pipelines and factories over the past year is the first program designed to cause serious damage in the physical world, security experts are warning.
The Stuxnet computer worm spreads through previously unknown holes in Microsoft's Windows operating system and then looks for a type of software made by Siemens and used to control industrial components, including valves and brakes.
Monday, 02 August 2010
Philistine Temple Ruins Uncovered in Goliath's Hometown
Bar Ilan University archaeologists have uncovered the ruins of a Philistine temple in the ancient city of Gath, home of the Biblical Goliath, buried in one of the largest tels (ancient ruin mounds) in Israel.
The temple and a number of ritual items dating back to the 10th century BCE were discovered at Tel Tsafit (Tell es-Safit/Gath) by Professor Aren Maeir of BIU's Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology and his international team. The tel is located about halfway between Ashkelon and Jerusalem, near Kiryat Gat along the southern coastal plain.
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
NASA's Deep Space Camera Locates Host of Earths
Scientists celebrated Sunday after finding more than 700 suspected new planets -- including up to 140 similar in size to Earth -- in just six weeks of using a powerful new space observatory.
Early results from NASA's Kepler Mission, a small satellite observing deep space, suggested planets like Earth were far more common than previously thought.
Thursday, 22 July 2010
Superfast Star Shot Out of Milky Way
A super-hot blue star hurtling through space has been shot completely out of the Milky Way, new Hubble Space Telescope photos reveal.
The star is streaking across space at a blistering speed of 1.6 million mph (2.5 million kph) - three times faster than our sun's orbital velocity in the Milky Way. Hubble observations confirm that the stellar speedster hails from the Milky Way's core, settling some confusion over where it originally called home...