Friday, May 30, 2014

This Week's Sci-light!

I found myself in the dentist's chair not long ago, subjected to needles, drills and controlled jets of water.  I didn't use to be very concerned with my teeth, until somewhere in my twenties it really sunk in that I was stuck with the teeth I had and their health for the rest of my life!  This is when I decided to keep those 6 month cleaning checkups regularly.  But today's research may relieve me of my regret over not brushing my teeth more diligently as a child.  Curious?  Read on!

Chart detailing adult human tooth anatomy.
Credit: Bite Point Dental Blog
Since the 1960s, the medical laser has been a part of a doctor's medical repertoire. Low-level light therapy, or photobiomodulation has been used to trigger biologic processes including hair growth and skin rejuvenation. Oddly enough, that same therapy has been used to eradicate unwanted tissues such as laser hair removal. These contrasting results for the same therapy is partly due to a poorly characterized molecular mechanism. However, recent work published in Science Translational Medicine details a technique and mechanism for the use of photobiomodulation to stimulate the growth of a tooth tissue known as dentin.

A team of Harvard researchers, led by David J. Mooney, developed this noninvasive laser treatment to promot the regeneration of human dental cells. As summarized in the article by Kristen Kusek, Researchers use light to coax stem cells to repair teeth, Mooney's team of researchers took laboratory rodents, drilled holes in their molars, treated the vessel containing adult dental stem cells with a low-dose laser treatment, applied a temporary dental cap, and waited twelve weeks to assess the affect of the laser treatment. After the twelve week period, Mooney was able to confirm that the laser treatment stimulated greater dentin tissue formation.

Are you curious?  Wanting to understand more about how this takes place?  Read the article to learn about the key regulatory cell protein in this biologic signaling cascade! 

This is how you stay, "Sci-Curious!"

Written by Jacob Steenwyk & Cynthia Joseph
Edited by Cynthia Joseph

Friday, May 9, 2014

This Week's Sci-light!

With the United States experiencing a colder than normal winter, vicious tornadoes ripping throughout the South, drought conditions plaguing the West and South West, and the North East soaked with flooding downpours, the topic of climate change filled the airwaves this week as President Obama sat down with Al Roker of NBC News' TODAY.

While climate change affects the planet, this SACNAS (Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science) web page focuses on the research being done by indigenous and minority cultures to address the problems of climate change. 

Plug into the pod casts and electronic magazines at the SACNAS website and see what you can learn!