Viral Video: Dentists Can Now Visit Mars

Dentists Can Now Visit Mars (video)This week’s Friday random video for dentists features video of the descent to Mars by the Curiosity Mars rover, making this the first recording by a spacecraft of its landing on another planet.

As of August 20, all but a dozen 1600×1200 frames have been uploaded from the rover, and those missing were interpolated using thumbnail data.

The result was applied a heavy noise reduction, color balance, and sharpening for best visibility. (YouTube)

Curiosity is the largest rover ever sent to Mars. It is about the size of a small SUV — 10 feet long (not including the arm), 9 feet wide and 7 feet tall — (about 3 meters long (not including the arm), 2.7 meters wide, and 2.2 meters tall), or about the height of a basketball player. (NASA)

Enjoy your Friday random video —

What do you think of the Curiosity Rover’s expedition?

Friday Random Video for Dentists: View of Earth From Space Station

Friday Random Video for Dentists: View of Earth From Space StationToday’s Friday random video for dentists features stunning time-lapse photography from the International Space Station (ISS) as it flies over Earth.

The Space Station offers a unique vantage point to view cities at night, aurora borealis, and lightning as viewed from space.

According to the NASA website, the International Space Station marked its 10th anniversary of continuous human occupation on Nov. 2, 2010. Since Expedition 1, which launched Oct. 31, 2000, and docked Nov. 2, the space station has been visited by 204 individuals.

At the time of the anniversary, the station’s odometer read more than 1.5 billion statute miles (the equivalent of eight round trips to the Sun), over the course of 57,361 orbits around the Earth.

Enjoy your Friday random video —

Did you ever dream of being an astronaut?

Science Friday: Will Better Cavity Filling Technology Make Dental Implants Obsolete?

Will Better Cavity Filling Technology Make Dental Implants Obsolete?Will dental implants be a thing of the past with the help of new dental technologies?

The University of Maryland School of Dentistry has announced that scientists using nanotechology have created the first cavity-filling composite that kills harmful bacteria and regenerates tooth structure lost to bacterial decay, as reported by Newswire.

“Rather than just limiting tooth decay with conventional fillings, the new composite is a revolutionary dental weapon to control harmful bacteria, which co-exist in the natural colony of microorganisms in the mouth,” says professor Huakun (Hockin) Xu, PhD, MS.

“Tooth decay means that the mineral content in the tooth has been dissolved by the organic acids secreted by bacteria residing in biofilms or plaques on the tooth surface. These organisms convert carbohydrates to acids that decrease the minerals in the tooth structure,” says Xu, director of the Division of Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering in the School’s Department of Endodontics, Prosthodontics and Operative Dentistry.

After a dentist drills out a decayed tooth, the cavity still contains residual bacteria. Xu says it is not possible for a dentist to remove all the damaged tissue, so it’s important to neutralize the harmful effects of the bacteria, which is just what the new nanocomposites are able to do.

The researchers also have built antibacterial agents into primer used first by dentists to prepare a drilled-out cavity and into adhesives that dentists spread into the cavity to make a filling stick tight to the tissue of the tooth.

“The reason we want to get the antibacterial agents also into primers and adhesives is that these are the first things that cover the internal surfaces of the tooth cavity and flow into tiny dental tubules inside the tooth,” says Xu. The main reason for failures in tooth restorations and secondary caries or decay at the restoration margins. “Applying the new primer and adhesive will kill the residual bacteria,” he says.

Fillings made from the School of Dentistry’s new nanocomposite, with antibacterial primer and antibacterial adhesive, should last longer than the typical five to 10 years, though the scientists have not thoroughly tested longevity. Xu says a key component of the new nanocomposite and nano-structured adhesive is calcium phosphate nanoparticles that regenerate tooth minerals. The antibacterial component has a base of quaternary ammonium and silver nanoparticles along with a high pH.

The alkaline pH limits acid production by tooth bacteria.

“The bottom line is we are continuing to improve these materials and making them stronger in their antibacterial and remineralizing capacities as well as increasing their longevity,” Xu says.

The new dental products have been laboratory tested using biofilms from saliva of volunteers. The Xu team is planning to next test its products in animal teeth and in human volunteers in collaboration with the Federal University of Ceara in Brazil.

The University of Maryland has patents pending on the nanocomposite and the primer and adhesive technologies, according to Nancy Cowger, PhD, licensing officer with the University’s Office of Technology Transfer (OTT).

Licensing opportunities are available, she says, and potential development partners are invited to contact the OTT at www.ord.umaryland.edu/ott

Source: Dental Fillings That Kill Bacteria and Re-Mineralize the Tooth

Science Friday: Dental Plaque Bacteria May Trigger Endocarditis

Science Friday: Dental Plaque Bacteria May Trigger EndocarditisIn the future dentists could be the first defence in the prevention of endocarditis.

The UK Society for General Microbiology is reporting that oral bacteria that escape into the bloodstream are able to cause blood clots and trigger life-threatening endocarditis.

Further research could lead to new drugs to tackle infective heart disease, according to the scientists who presented their work at the Society for General Microbiology’s Spring Conference in Dublin this week.

Streptococcus gordonii is a normal inhabitant of the mouth and contributes to plaque that forms on the surface of teeth. If these bacteria enter into the blood stream through bleeding gums they can start to wreak havoc by masquerading as human proteins.

Researchers from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and the University of Bristol have discovered that S. gordonii is able to produce a molecule on its surface that lets it mimic the human protein fibrinogen – a blood-clotting factor.

This activates the platelets, causing them to clump inside blood vessels. These unwanted blood clots encase the bacteria, protecting them from the immune system and from antibiotics that might be used to treat infection. Platelet clumping can lead to growths on the heart valves (endocarditis), or inflammation of blood vessels that can block the blood supply to the heart or brain.

Dr Helen Petersen who is presenting the work said that better understanding of the relationship between bacteria and platelets could ultimately lead to new treatments for infective endocarditis. “In the development of infective endocarditis, a crucial step is the bacteria sticking to the heart valve and then activating platelets to form a clot. We are now looking at the mechanism behind this sequence of events in the hope that we can develop new drugs which are needed to prevent blood clots and also infective endocarditis,” she said.

Infective endocarditis is treated with surgery or by strong antibiotics – which is becoming more difficult with growing antibiotic resistance.

“About 30% of people with infective endocarditis die and most will require surgery for replacement of the infected heart valve with a metal or animal valve,” said Dr Petersen. “Our team has now identified the critical components of the S. gordonii molecule that mimics fibrinogen, so we are getting closer to being able to design new compounds to inhibit it. This would prevent the stimulation of unwanted blood clots,” said Dr Steve Kerrigan from the RCSI.

The team are also looking more widely at other dental plaque bacteria that may have similar effects to S. gordonii. “We are also trying to determine how widespread this phenomenon is by studying other bacteria related to S. gordonii. What our work clearly shows is how important it is to keep your mouth healthy with regular dental care as in brushing and flossing, to keep these bacteria in check,” stressed Dr Petersen.

For more on this finding see: Dental Plaque Bacteria May Trigger Blood Clots

Science Friday: ResearchGate Wants to be Social Media for Scientists

Science Friday: ResearchGate Wants to be Social Media for ScientistsIt would seem like doctors, dentists and scientists alike would naturally see the value of social media.

Social media at its best is the sharing of information and knowledge, which is something the scientific and medial community have been doing for ages.

Science is, after all, about the sharing of information, and scientists often work together so solve problems.

But many would have to agree that social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus don’t exactly lend themselves to being platforms for scientists to share their findings and work together on projects.

According to Forbes.com, Dr. Ijad Madisch, the CEO and co-founder of the social network ResearchGate, hopes to change this.

Researchgate is intended to be a way for scientists to connect with researchers, make their work visible and stay current within their industry. The hope is that by connecting the scientific community through a scientific social network, they will be able to save time on projects and prevent duplicate efforts.

Researchgate was founded in 2008 on the principle that scientific progress always involves obstacles, and they want to provide a way for scientists to discuss their work and methodology, help others and find solutions together.

Dr. Madisch told Forbes.com, “Even more importantly, they can find out what doesn’t work so they can look for alternative solutions or techniques. The problem is that in journals, scientists only publish positive results – not negative ones.”

When asked by Forbes.com what he thinks of Researchgate, neuroscientist Bradley Voytek responded, “ResearchGate has not yet become a ‘checked daily’ site for me, but it does have many useful tools. It’s nice to see updates from colleagues about new papers published, for example.”

“ResearchGate has its work cut out for them,” Voytek added. That’s because, in his opinion, “researchers are quite conservative when it comes to adopting new technologies because time and attention are scarce commodities.” Additionally, he says that, “They need to figure out how to get older, more experienced scientists to use their service. That’s a difficult task.”

Madisch is confident he can do this and make the site popular among the scientific community.

What are your thoughts on having a social media site dedicated to the sharing of scientific research?

For more on this story see: ResearchGate Wants To Be Facebook For Scientists

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