Human sweat can reduce bacteria fighting capabilities


A new research has revealed that human sweat can diminish bacteria-fighting qualities of brass objects like door knobs and taps within an hour of contact.

While copper found in everyday brass items such as door handles and water taps has an antimicrobial effect on bacteria and is widely used to prevent the spread of disease, Dr John Bond OBE from the University of Leicester’s Department of Chemistry has discovered that peoples’ sweat can, within an hour of contact with the brass, produce sufficient corrosion to adversely affect its use to kill a range of microorganisms, such as those which might be encountered in a hospital and which can be easily transferred by touch or by a lack of hand hygiene.

The study also suggested that it is possible for sweat to produce an oxide layer on the metal within an hour of contact.

Dr Bond said that this is the first study to quantitatively analyse the temporal corrosion of copper alloys such as brass in the first few hours after contact between fingerprint sweat concentrations of salt and the metal.

He further suggested that for the short term it would be good to keep the brass in public environments free from corrosion through regular and thorough cleaning but for the longer term, using copper alloys with corrosion inhibitors included in the alloy would be a good choice.

The research ‘Electrochemical behaviour of brass in chloride solution concentrations found in eccrine fingerprint sweat’, is published in the journal Applied Surface Science

Source: yahoo news

Toothbrush can contain over 10 million bacteria


Your toothbrush looks innocent enough sitting on your bathroom sink. But before you put it in your mouth, consider this: the average toothbrush can contain 10 million bacteria or more—including E. coli and Staph, according to a study at the University of Manchester in England. Yuck.

What’s inside your mouth?
At any given time, there are 100-200 species of oral bacteria living in your mouth. “In an unbrushed mouth, there can be as many germs as a dirty bathroom floor,” says Ann Wei, DDS, a prosthodontist based in San Francisco. In addition, your toothbrush is a little bacteria magnet, attracting the little buggers from several sources: If you store your toothbrush on or next to the bathroom sink, it gets contaminated from splashing from washing hands — and whatever you are washing off your hands is getting splashed back as well.

The toilet and your toothbrush
If you really want to gag, think about what happens when you flush with the toilet lid open. Charles Gerba, Ph.D., Professor, Microbiology & Environmental Sciences, University of Arizona College of Public Health, points out that bacteria and viruses falling from toilet spray “remain airborne long enough to settle on surfaces throughout the bathroom.” An English study found that diarrhea-causing bacteria from a lidless flush flew as high as 10 inches above the toilet.

And if you drop your brush on the floor, does the five-second rule apply? Nope. It is coming into contact with toilet spray particulate that has settled there plus anything else that has been tracked in on people’s feet.

Don’t use plastic containers
Do you store your toothbrush in an airtight container? Don’t. The toothbrush can’t dry out between brushing, which encourages mold growth. Also, if you store all the family toothbrushes together in one container, the bacteria can spread from one to the other if the heads are touching. That’s an especially bad idea if one person is sick.
Along the same lines, it’s possible for germs to be transmitted from one brush to another by sharing toothpaste.

How to keep it clean Now that you are sufficiently revolted, are you ready to start treating your brush a little better? Here’s what to do to keep your toothbrush as bacteria-free as possible.

Get a new brush. Replace your brush every three to four months, or when the bristles get splayed and frayed, says Judith A. Jones, DDS, MPH, DScD, Professor and Chair, Department of General Dentistry Director, Boston University School of Dental Medicine. Replacement gets rid of germs and makes sure you are using effective brushes.

Use the right toothpaste. While most toothpastes do kill germs, some are better than others. Toothpastes with triclosan/copolymer are better than regular fluoride toothpastes at killing oral bacteria.

Don’t share. Don’t share brushes. Not matter how conscientious you are about cleaning, you will never remove all bacteria. If you want to be really safe, it’s better to have different tubes of toothpaste for family members. “If you are a family that shares, when you squeeze the toothpaste onto brushes, do not press the paste opening to the brushes. Instead, it’s better to lay the toothpaste over the brush without physically contacting the toothpaste opening,” says Dr. Wei.

Clean your bristles. Occasionally soak yours in hydrogen peroxide or mouthwashes with antibacterial agents, especially if you’ve dropped it on the floor, advises Dr. Wei. And you should clean after every brush by rinsing your toothbrush in tap water or even washing with antibacterial soap. Make sure to rinse well so you don’t get residual soapy taste. “I occasionally put mine through the dishwasher,” says Dr. Jones, a spokesperson for the American Dental Association. If you are going to put your electric toothbrush through the dishwasher, make sure you only put in the bristle end, not that electric charger.

Close the lid. Always flush your toilet with the lid down! Enough said.
Expose it to air. Don’t store in an airtight container. If you keep yours in the medicine cabinet – generally, a good idea – you can tell if enough air is getting in if your brush dries out between cleanings. And If you store toothbrushes together, make sure the heads don’t touch.

Source: Grand parents

Skin care: 5 easy ways to keep pimples at bay


Acne is amongst the most common skin problems that people of all age groups, especially teenagers face. There can be many reasons that attribute to the cause of acne like stress, puberty, hormonal changes, menopause etc.

Here are a few acne defense tips:

  • -Wash your face properly. It is recommended to clean your face twice a day and not more than that as it can leave your skin more oily.
  • -Always remember to wear sunblock as the sun has UVA and UVB rays which initially may worsen those pimples.
  • -Don’t use make-up all the time or if required switch to water based make-up.
  • -Caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea are a strict no-no as they harm the skin a lot and further aggravate acne problem.
  • -Avoid using soaps as they damage skin by making it drier, rougher and more permeable to bacteria.

Source: Zee news

Study to Test If Chocolate Pills Can Prevent Heart Attacks

For those who believe in the power of chocolate comes the start of a new study. Researchers will look into whether certain ingredients in dark chocolate can help prevent heart attacks and strokes.

But before you start digging into your stash of chocolate, know that researchers won’t be handing out thousands of candy bars to participants.

The study, which will include 18,000 men and women, will focus on bio-active nutrients found in the cocoa bean, without all the extra ingredients such as sugar, found in chocolate candies.

Testers will be given dark chocolate pills that contain 750 milligrams of cocoa flavanols, naturally occurring plant-based nutrients found in chocolate. And unfortunately for them, the pills won’t actually taste like candy.

According to Dr. JoAnn Manson, one of the study’s lead researchers, in previous studies, cocoa flavanols have been shown to reduce blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels.

Participants at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research in Seattle will be given two capsules a day of the cocoa flavanols or dummy pills for four years.

The study is sponsored by Mars Inc., the company behind M&M’s and Milkyway bars and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Mars Inc. has been researching cocoa flavanols for the past 20 years and already sells CocoaVia cocoa extract capsules containing 250 mg of flavanols.

The company claims that to get the same amount of CocoaVia flavanols, you’d have to eat one and a half bars of dark chocolate containing 300 calories, 22 grams of fat and 24 grams of sugar.

Source: Los Angeles times

Simple tips to prevent Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

A urinary tract infection (UTI) can be defined as an infection involving the kidneys, ureters, bladder, or urethra. While not all urinary tract infections (UTIs) can be prevented, experts suggest one can still reduce the risk by taking certain steps and precautions.

Fluids intake: Drink plenty of water and other liquids, but cut back on caffeine and alcohol, which can irritate the bladder. This will make you urinate frequently, which flushes bacteria from your urinary tract. If the urine appears darker than the usual very pale yellow colour, you should increase the fluid intake.

Cranberry juice has been shown to help prevent urinary tract infections.

Toilet hygiene: Do not hold your urine for a long time, urinate when you have the urge. When you’re done, always wipe from front to back to prevent bacteria from the anus entering the urethra.

Constipation: Try to avoid constipation as it has been linked to increase the chances of getting a UTI. Steps like increasing the amount of fibre in your diets, drinking plenty of water and other natural fluids can help relieve constipation.

Sexual intercourse: Take special precaution when you engage in sexual activity since it may also increase the risk as it can bring bacteria into the bladder area. Practice good hygiene by washing your genitals every day using a mild detergent and before having sex. Make sure that the bladder is emptied after intercourse by drinking plenty of water and other fluids.

Clothing: Avoid wearing tight-fitting undergarments, which is made of non-breathing materials. Instead opt for loose-fitting and cotton materials, which allows a woman’s private part to remain dry preventing from bacteria growth.

Source: Zee news

Early `water breaking` linked to premature births

A high presence of bacteria at the site where fetal membranes rupture may be the key to understanding why some pregnant women experience their “water breaking” prematurely, researchers at Duke Medicine report.

bacterial presence is associated with thinning of the fetal membranes. More research is needed to understand whether bacterial presence is a cause or consequence of fetal membrane weakening.

“Complications of preterm births can have long-term health effects for both mothers and children,” said study author Amy P. Murtha, M.D., associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Duke University School of Medicine. “Our research focuses on why the fetal membranes, or water sac, break early in some women, with the overall goal of better understanding the mechanisms of preterm membrane rupture.”

Composed of two fetal cell layers, the amnion and chorion, fetal membranes play an important role in maintaining pregnancy through gestation. Nearly one-third of all early deliveries are associated with the water breaking in what’s known as preterm premature rupture of membranes, or PPROM.

Previous research from Murtha and her colleagues demonstrated that the chorion has more cell death when infection is present, and that this cell layer may be thinner in women who experience PPROM. Among PPROM patients with infection in the fetal membranes (chorioamnionitis), the cell death within the chorion layer was highest, suggesting that infection may play a role in causing PPROM.

In the current study, the researchers prospectively examined chorion membrane samples to identify a pattern of bacterial presence and association with chorion thinning. They collected membrane samples from a total of 48 women—including PPROM, preterm and term patients—after they gave birth. The researchers measured chorion thinning and bacterial presence in membrane samples collected from both near and far from the rupture site.

In all women, the chorion membrane was thinner at the rupture site than at the distant site. However, chorion thinning was greatest among PPROM patients and was not isolated to the rupture site, as the researchers observed a global chorion thinning even distant from where the membrane ruptured.

The researchers then looked to see if bacteria were present in the membranes and whether bacteria levels correlated with the thinning of the cell layers in the membranes. Interestingly, bacteria were present in all fetal membranes, refuting the traditional understanding that fetal membranes are sterile environments. The amount of bacteria present at the rupture site was higher, which the researchers were not surprised to find.

Among PPROM subjects, bacteria counts were highest compared to all other groups at both the rupture site and distant from the rupture site. Among all subjects, bacterial counts were inversely correlated with chorion thinning: the more bacteria present, the thinner the chorion.

It is unknown if this is a causal relationship, but the link between high bacterial presence at the membrane rupture site provides insight into possible mechanisms behind PPROM.

“We still know little about changes occurring within the fetal membrane in the presence of bacteria, but our data suggest the chorion and its thinning may be the battleground for these changes,” Murtha said.

The researchers are now working to identify the bacteria to determine if specific bacteria are found in PPROM patients. By identifying specific bacteria, the researchers can learn more about the role of bacterial presence, which could eventually lead to preventive treatments.

“For instance, if we think that certain bacteria are associated with premature rupturing of the membranes, we can screen for this bacteria early in pregnancy. We then might be able to treat affected women with antibiotics and reduce their risk for PPROM,” Murtha said. “Our research is several steps away from this, but it gives us opportunities to explore potential targeted therapeutic interventions, which we lack in obstetrics.”

Source: Medical Express

Holy water may harm health more than heal


Holy water, which is known for its purported cleansing properties, could actually be more harmful for your health than healing, a new study has revealed.

Researchers at the Institute of Hygiene and Applied Immunology at the Medical University of Vienna tested water from 21 springs in Austria and 18 fonts in Vienna and found samples contained up to 62 million bacteria per milliliter of water, which is not safe to drink, an English news website reported.

Researchers found that 86 percent of the holy water, commonly used in baptism ceremonies and to wet congregants’ lips, was infected with common bacteria found in fecal matter such as E. coli, enterococci and Campylobacter.

The water contaminated with these bacteria can lead to diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, and fever.

It was found that the water also contained nitrates, commonly found in fertilizer from farms.

The research also suggested that while all church and hospital chapel fonts contained bacteria, the busier the church, the higher the bacterial count.

The study is published in the Journal of Water and Health.