Going under the knife for surgery is a scary enough prospect by itself. But throw in the risk of contracting a bacterial infection, and even a routine procedure can become a nightmare.
Now, keep in mind that surgical infections only affect fewer than 3 pe... more
Before I rammed my knee into the sharp edge of my desk a few weeks ago, I hadn’t had a scab in years — decades, even. Scabs are unsightly, but they are really important in protecting an open wound against infection, and they stop the wound from bleeding.... more
For many types of surgery or for a bad cut on the skin, stitches are just fine. They bring the tissues together and speed up the healing process. But for some types of surgeries, you really need something better—something that will form a leak-proof, tigh... more
The typical human brain weighs less than 3 pounds, is pinkish-beige in color and has the consistency of gelatin. It’s a crinkly thing, with lots of folds on its surface. Not that impressive. It’s actually kind of yucky-looking, come to think of it, and it... more
Plants are amazing chemical factories. They take sunlight and use it and carbon dioxide to make energy for themselves. They also make oxygen, which we breathe. But they also make substances that can help heal us. Traditional Chinese medicine, for instance... more
Aside from some molds growing on “stinky” cheeses, molds are generally not good for human consumption. For example, we all know to stay away from bread with tell-tale green spots or white cottony threads on the slices. And we need to take special measures... more
A substance in the sticky goo that mussels use to glom on to rocks and other surfaces could help ease tooth sensitivity. That’s welcome news to my ears — well, to my sensitive teeth!
Like 74 percent of the world’s population, I too have teeth that are sens... more
Scientists report that someday soon, celiac patients might not need to go down the special “gluten-free” aisle of the grocery store anymore. They are making progress toward a pill that could allow celiac patients to eat pastries, breads, cereals and other... more
People have chewed or smoked plants to achieve “highs” almost since time began. Sure, some people use psychoactive substances recreationally to escape the pressures of their lives. But they are also sometimes an important part of religious ceremonies, all... more
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) happens when there’s a bump or blow to the head, or when something (like a bullet) goes into the head. Every year, about 1.7 million people, including soldiers, auto accident victims and athletes sustain these injuries, which... more
The leaves have turned, and there’s a chill in the air. Summer is over and fall is well underway. Fewer people are outside tending to gardens and lawns, which means fewer incidences of poison ivy, oak or sumac exposure. That’s a huge relief for the more t... more
Few people like going to the hospital, whether it’s for major surgery or just to stitch up a cut. But a recent paper in ACS’ journal Langmuir reports a development that could make the post-operation recovery process less complicated.
In 2009 alone, surgeon... more
Sure, smoking can cause lung cancer, but until I saw this paper in ACS’ Journal of Proteome Research (JPR), I had no idea it also can weaken bones. Apparently, I’m late to the game, as it’s been almost 20 years since scientists first figured that out.
In a recent paper I saw in ACS’ Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, one research group is taking a very different and, might I add, clever approach to fighting off urinary tract infections, or UTIs. Surprisingly, it doesn’t involve the use of traditional anti... more
OK, this one sounds pretty gross at first, but using a substance found in pig mucus to ward off viruses in personal hygiene products, such as wound ointments and toothpastes, or even in baby formula really does make a lot of sense.
Mucus coats the inside o... more
When I stumbled upon a paper recently about stoves in the developing world in Environmental Science &Technology, I vaguely remembered having heard of fundraisers to supply developing regions with new types of stoves. I thought that these appliances would... more