Is Your Gum Keeping Your Mouth Clean?

chewing-gum-115162_640Some people find it distasteful to be around gum chompers…but that gum that they are chewing just might help them with their teeth. A study which appeared in the journal Plos One, and led by researchers from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, has found that gum can be effective in getting rid of bacteria in the mouth.

They discovered that the first thirty seconds of chewing were the most effective and that the gum worked only if it was sugar free. They used two types of un-named spearmint gum for their study. They gave it to the participants and asked them to chew their gum for ten minutes. They found that about 100 million bacteria were detected on just one piece of the chewed gum. Chewing one piece of gum can remove as much as 10% of the oral microbial load in saliva.

They did note, however, that “Continued chewing changes the structure of the gums, decreasing the hardness of the gum due to uptake of salivary components and release of water soluble components. This presumably affects the adhesion of bacteria to the gum, causing a release of initially trapped, more weakly adhering bacteria from the gum. Such a change in composition of trapped bacteria is supported by the observation that the diversity of species trapped in chewed gum increases with chewing time.”

Their research could be used for companies that want to develop gum that can selectively remove specific disease-related bacteria.


Never Lose Your Luggage Again…

luggage-356733_640Everyone knows the frustration of losing your luggage on the way to a great vacation. Now, Delsey has come to the rescue with the Pluggage that they showcased at the CES Innovation awards this month in the US. What makes this suitcase so different is that it can charge your mobile phone and let you know if your suitcase made it onto the flight with you.l

In addition, if you want to know if your luggage is overweight, you can synch your case with a smartphone app that can tell you how heavy the case is. Similarly, by synching with your app, you can get a notification if your suitcase has made it to the plane.

Other options are still up for discussion including an inside lighting system that will switch on when the suitcase opens, a fingerprint ID that protects you and more. They are also discussing a check lock facility that can tell you if the suitcase has been opened without your knowledge and an app weather forecast that tells you what type of weather to expect at your destination.

How Often Do YOU Wash Your Pajamas?


How often do you wash your pajamas? Interestingly, the memory-foam mattress company Ergoflex took a recent poll to see how people answer this question. They polled 2410 British couples between the ages of 18 and 30 to look at their habits.

And the results were startling. On average, men wear their pajamas for more than two weeks before washing them. Women wear one set for 17 days, on average.

Why do we change our pajamas so infrequently? According to the women, they alternate between pairs and forget how long it’s been since a pair has been washed. This was the top excuse for 54% of those polled. 51% explained that they only wear their pajamas for a few hours each night, so they didn’t want to wash them too often.

The men tended to point the finger at the women in the house, with 73% saying that they aren’t in charge of the wash. 61% of the men also said that they don’t have many pairs from which to choose.

Professor Sally Bloomfield of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine has looked into this issue and has been shocked by the results. She urges people to wash their pajamas at least once a week. As she said, “Washing should get rid of most microbes, but not all if you have worn them for two weeks. The clothes won’t be hygienically cleaned because the microbes will have built up. So they will be transferred to underwear and other clothing that comes into contact with the skin.

Creative Cures for Alcoholism?

bottles-555717_640Many people have the New Year’s resolution to quit drinking, or to quit drinking so much. But for many, this is not a resolution that they can so easily keep. This is why researchers at the National Institute of Health are looking at how a hormone named ghrelin, which sparks the desire for food and alcohol, works if blocked.

Alcohol use affects about 17 million Americans. NIH is looking for new medications that target the brain’s addiction cycle. As Dr. George Koob, director of NIH’s National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, says “Alcoholics come in many forms.”

Treatments can range from inpatient rehab to 12 step programs and behavioral therapy. Less than a third of people who actually need treatment get it, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Less than 10% receive medications.

In the NIH bar lab they are finding that there is an overlap between receptors that fuel overeating and alcohol craving in the brain’s reward system. The NIH team gave 45 heavy-drinking volunteers different doses of ghrelin this fall and found that the urge to drink rose as the level of hormone rose. Now, lead researcher Dr. Lorenzo Leggio is seeing if blocking ghrelin’s action also blocks the cravings. Volunteers are smelling a favorite drink and being monitored for the cravings they feel.

As Koob said, “Our hope is that down the line, we might be able to do a simple blood test that tells if you will be a naltrexone person, an acamprosate person, a ghrelin person,” Koob said.

Step Into the Void

Picture by Alexis Moro
Picture by Alexis Moro

This location is not for the faint of heart. If you love adventure, then you will want to get to the Aiguille du Midi in the MontBlanc range of France. This attraction was built next to the tallest peak in Europe – Mont Blanc. You can go up to the glass box which is 12,604 feet above ground and feel what it feels like to be on top of the world.

When standing in this box, you feel like there is nothing below you and you can feel the vast landscape of the Alps. It took three entire years to build the skywalk and it opened on December 21, 2013. It’s called the Step Into the Void.