Dentists may soon be getting a potent new weapons with which to wage the global fight against cavities. The University of Maryland has developed a novel new nanocomposite material that can be used not only as filling for cavities, but that will also kill any remaining bacteria in the tooth and regenerate the actual structure lost to decay.
The nanocomposite is made up of silver nanoparticles and calcium phosphate nanoparticles, both of which are piped into the tooth as filler for a cavity. The silver nanoparticles along with a few other ingredients in the material kill off whatever bacteria is still lingering inside the tooth, paving the way for the calcium phosphate to regenerate tooth minerals. Over time, the tooth strengthens again.
But as IEEE Spectrum notes, the silver nanoparticles could prove to be problematic, and this is probably why this treatment is offered as a cavity filling rather than a toothpaste or mouthwash. Silver nanoparticles aren’t totally understood, and there have been some concerns voiced about the potential risks and perils associated with ingesting the stuff. The nanocomposite is currently undergoing both human and animal testing right now, hopefully with an eye toward clarifying and alleviating any health concerns. If the composite can pass muster, dentists everywhere can get down to the business of rolling back the clock on cavities. Read More
Greater Purpose in Life May Protect Against Harmful Changes in the Brain Associated With Alzheimer’s Disease
“Our study showed that people who reported greater purpose in life exhibited better cognition than those with less purpose in life even as plaques and tangles accumulated in their brains,” said Patricia A. Boyle, PhD.
“These findings suggest that purpose in life protects against the harmful effects of plaques and tangles on memory and other thinking abilities. This is encouraging and suggests that engaging in meaningful and purposeful activities promotes cognitive health in old age.”
Boyle and her colleagues from the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center studied 246 participants from the Rush Memory and Aging Project who did not have dementia and who subsequently died and underwent brain autopsy. Participants received an annual clinical evaluation for up to approximately 10 years, which included detailed cognitive testing and neurological exams.
Participants also answered questions about purpose in life, the degree to which one derives meaning from life’s experiences and is focused and intentional. Brain plaques and tangles were quantified after death. The authors then examined whether purpose in life slowed the rate of cognitive decline even as older persons accumulated plaques and tangles.
While plaques and tangles are very common among persons who develop Alzheimer’s dementia (characterized by prominent memory loss and changes in other thinking abilities), recent data suggest that plaques and tangles accumulate in most older persons, even those without dementia. Plaques and tangles disrupt memory and other cognitive functions.
Boyle and colleagues note that much of the Alzheimer’s research that is ongoing seeks to identify ways to prevent or limit the accumulation of plaques and tangles in the brain, a task that has proven quite difficult. Studies such as the current one are needed because, until effective preventive therapies are discovered, strategies that minimize the impact of plaques and tangles on cognition are urgently needed. Read More
Mice with a form of dementia have had the condition reversed by a process that involves ‘rebooting’ brain cells otherwise destined to die.
The process that kills the cells could be common to all dementias, so blocking it in the same way might hold promise for Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease – although more research is needed to explore this further.
“This is potentially a common pathway in all these diseases,” says Giovanna Mallucci at the University of Leicester, UK. “The key thing is that we’ve moved away from a disease-specific mechanism to a more generic cause of cell death,” she says.
Mallucci and colleagues treated mice that were bred to develop a form of prion disease similar to mad cow disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Misfolded prion proteins accumulate in cells, forming dense plaques that clog up the brain and kill brain cells in the process. Read More
If you’re planning a trip to the dentist, it might not be the wisest decision to make your appointment with the person with whom you just broke up.
A Polish woman is facing three years in prison after she removed all of her ex-boyfriend’s teeth during dental surgery just days after their breakup.
“I tried to be professional and detach myself from my emotions,” Anna Mackowiak, 34, told the Austrian Times. “But when I saw him lying there I just thought, ‘What a bastard’ and decided to take all his teeth out.”
Marek Olszewski, 45, reportedly showed up at Mackowiak’s dental office complaining of toothache just days after he broke up with her. She then allegedly gave him a “heavy dose” of anesthetic, locked the door and began removing all of his teeth one at a time.
“I knew something was wrong because when I woke up I couldn’t feel any teeth and my jaw was strapped up with bandages,” Olszewski said.
“She told me my mouth was numb and I wouldn’t be able to feel anything for a while and that the bandage was there to protect the gums, but that I would need to see a specialist,” he said.
“I didn’t have any reason to doubt her, I mean I thought she was a professional.” Read More