First electric dental drill: Jan. 26, 1875
Dentistry takes a leap forward when George Green, a dentist in Kalamazoo, MI, receives a patent for a drill that’s powered by an electromagnetic motor. For most of the 19th century, dentists had relied on foot pedals to drive their drills, instruments that allowed them to try to save teeth instead of just yanking them. In 1868, Green himself had created a pneumatic version of a drill run by a pedal-powered bellows. But his electric model is considered a turning point in modern dentistry.
Still, by today’s standards, it’s a crude device attached to what looks like a primitive vacuum cleaner on wheels. It’s heavy and expensive. Not to mention that few dentists at the time have electricity in their offices to charge the motor’s battery.
It will be another 30 years before most dentists make the switch from pedal-driven drills to electric ones. And it won’t be until the 1950s before the invention of air-turbine dental drills, which are what is used today.
A point of comparison: Modern dental drills can reach speeds of 800,000 revolutions per minute; the early ones, powered by pedals, spun at a rate of 15 revolutions per minute.
Aging brains work harder to multitask
Recent studies have found that keeping up on exercise and performing cognitive activities may be beneficial in keeping the brain strong throughout aging. It is said that these activities can help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, both associated with the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which controls mood, planning and complex cognitive activity. However, researchers have now found that, even with healthy brains, older people’s minds have to work harder to perform multitasking operations.
The research, published in BMC Neuroscience, compared brain activity on single and dual tasks for young people (aged 21 to 25) and older people (over 65). The study used near infared spectroscopy measurements to track blood flow and the amount of oxygen being delivered to the brain while performing these tasks. For both the young and older groups, calculations increased the blood flowing to the brain, while physical tasks did not show the same effect.
The difference came when performing mental and physical tasks at the same time, as older people showed a more dramatic prefrontal cortex response than the younger people.
Sourced from: Medical News Today, Multi Tasking And Age Related Changes To The Brain
Loneliness taxing on the immune system
Loneliness can take an emotional toll on a person, and can lead to depression, anxiety or a variety of other mental health issues. Now research from Ohio State University has found that loneliness may also have an impact on overall health by creating a dysfunctional immune response.
The researchers determined that people who identified themselves as lonely produced more inflammation-related proteins, which signal the presence of inflammation and are associated with heart disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease, among other conditions. The research also showed that people who were more lonely showed signs of elevated latent herpes virus reactivation, which is often associated with stress, indicating that loneliness may have a similar impact on overall health as stress.
As doctors gain a better understanding of the ways in which a person’s mental and physical health are linked, the more potential there is for preventing and treating a wide range of health problems.
Sourced from: Science Daily, Loneliness, Like Chronic Stress, Taxes the Immune System, Researchers Find
Could Viagra help fight obesity?
With more than 500 million people overweight worldwide, obesity has become a global problem. Researchers from University of Bonn in Germany have found a drug that could potentially help in the battle against obesity: Viagra, the well-known erectile dysfunction drug. Based on their research, the scientists believe it could be useful in melting away the “spare tire” around men’s waistlines.
Mice who took Viagra were resistant to obesity even when fed a high-fat diet. The study found that Viagra has the ability to melt away the undesirable white fat cells that pack around a man’s waist, constituting the classic “gut.” These white fat cells were converted to beige fat cells, which the body uses to burn for heat and energy, rather than just serving as padding around the abdomen. By eliminating the number of white cells, the researchers hope that inflammation can be better controlled in the body, thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes, among other conditions.
The researchers warned that this is far from a short-term fix – popping a Viagra will not work as a weight-loss pill – and that research has been performed only on mice at this point.
Sourced from: Medical News Today, Basic Research Reveals Mice On Viagra Resistant To Obesity