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Scientists Have Developed a Gel That Replicates Tooth Enamel Regrowth

The gel mimics tooth enamel but does NOT “regrow” it.

Elias Marat

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Gel Tooth Decay
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UPDATE: This article has been fact-checked by Africa Check and rated partly false. The previous title—”Scientists Have Developed a Gel That Can Actually Regrow Tooth Enamel”—was misleading and has been updated for accuracy.

The new gel mimics tooth enamel but does NOT “regrow” it. We updated the article on February 3rd to reflect this.

(TMU) — It’s long been a basic matter of life that humans have only two sets of teeth in a lifetime: our baby teeth and our permanent “adult” teeth.

And while our teeth are the hardest bones in our body, billions of people throughout the world face the perpetual loss of tooth enamel—the mineralized substance protecting the surface of our teeth—thanks to tooth decay and various acids found in our foods and drinks.

And unlike tissue such as bone, muscle, and skin, once enamel is generated the cells that produce it immediately die—meaning that when enamel erodes, breaks, or chips, it can never regenerate itself again.

A team of scientists in China have now developed a liquid solution that helps recover the tough external surface of damaged tooth enamel through the use of a material that mimics the natural mineralization process of our teeth’s protective outer layer.

The method, published in the journal Science Advances this week, replicates the biomineralization process whereby cells known as ameloblasts secrete proteins that eventually become enamel.

Electron microscope images of human tooth enamel that has been repaired for six, 12 and 48 hours. The blue area is the native enamel; the green is the repaired enamel. Photograph: Zhejiang University/Science Advances

The team of researchers from Zhejiang University School of Medicine in China mixed the two minerals found in enamel—calcium and phosphate ions—into an alcoholic solution with the organic compound trimethylamine, before applying it to samples of damaged teeth.

Scientists were able to create a new layer of enamel roughly 3 micrometers thick over the course of 48 hours using the gel they created.

The breakthrough technique, billed as a world-first, is remarkable because past attempts have failed due to the complex, crystalline nature of enamel and the impossibility of replicating it in a lab.

The researchers wrote in their study:

“We herein reveal that a rationally designed material composed of calcium phosphate ion clusters can be used to produce a precursor layer to induce the epitaxial crystal growth of enamel apatite, which mimics the biomineralization crystalline-amorphous frontier of hard tissue development in nature.”

The team hopes to launch clinical trials in the next one to two years after testing their technique within the human mouth.

Biomimetics and material scientist Zhaoming Liu, a co-author of the study, told Sky News:

“Our newly regenerated enamel has the same structure and similar mechanical properties as native enamel.

We hope to realize tooth enamel regrowth without using fillings which contain totally different materials and we hope, if all goes smoothly, to start trials in people within one to two years.”

Various products that prevent the erosion and decay of enamel are already available for retail, but this new method could potentially repair decayed teeth and prevent tooth decay for good.

Chen Haifeng, an associate professor at Peking University’s biomedical engineering department, warns that we should still be careful about our dental health while the new material undergoes tests.

Chen noted:

“Prevention is the best approach. We should never wait until the damage is done. Our teeth are a miracle of nature. Artificial replacement will never do the job as well.”

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

Animals

Rare Creature Photographed Alive In The Wild For The First Time Ever

Elias Marat

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Advances in the methods used by researchers to watch wildlife have allowed for the photographing of a rare creature whose image had never been captured in the wild before.

Researchers in the West African nation of Togo were able to spot the rare Walter’s duiker, a rare species of petite African antelope, for the first time in the wild thanks to camera traps equipped with motion sensors.

In addition to the Walter’s duiker, the camera traps were also able to discover rare species of aardvarks and a mongoose, reports Gizmodo.

At a time when the extinction of entire species is becoming more common worldwide, such devices should help conservationists not only preserve creatures sought by bushmeat hunters but also spot rare animals whose presence is elusive for human observers. In the past, biologists were forced to rely on the same hunters for information.

“Camera traps are a game changer when it comes to biodiversity survey fieldwork,” said University of Oxford wildlife biologist Neil D’Cruze.

“I’ve spent weeks roughing it in tropical forests seemingly devoid of any large mammal species,” D’Cruze continued. “Yet when you fire up the laptop and stick in the memory card from camera traps that have been sitting there patiently during the entire trip—and see species that were there with you the entire time —it’s like being given a glimpse into a parallel world.”

The Walter’s duiker was discovered in 2010 when specimens of bushmeat were compared to other duiker specimens. The new images of the creature are the first to have been seen.

Rare species like Walter’s duiker are often not listed as “endangered” by groups like the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to a lack of data.

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Formerly Homeless Man Enjoys New Life In First 3D-Printed Home In US

Elias Marat

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A formerly homeless man is now enjoying his advanced years in a comfortable, entirely 3D-printed tiny home – the very first of its kind in the entire U.S.

Tim Shea, 70, has struggled for much of his life with substance abuse, addiction, and homelessness.

However, the previously unhoused man is now the first person to live in a 3D-printed tiny home, which is now being touted as a model of engineering and sustainability, reports Green Matters.

The 400-square-foot 3D-printed tiny home was printed by nonprofit New Story and construction technology company ICON in the Austin, Texas, area in March 2018 before Shea moved into the location in September.

In 2019, New Story and ICON have also printed a similar community of tiny homes in Mexico, hoping to make good on the use of the technology as a tool to provide homes to the extremely poor.

According to Shea, his new domicile has made all the difference in the world.

“When I found out I’d be the first person in America to move into a 3D-printed home, I thought it was pretty awesome,” Shea told NY Post. “The very people I used to run away from, I’m running to. If you’ve been on both sides of the fence, you know some people just need a little encouragement and support.”

From start to finish, the process of printing and assembling these homes takes only 48 hours and relies on only 70 to 80 percent of the raw building material that conventional housing requires.

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Company Will Pay $2,400 to Those Willing to Go On a ‘Digital Detox’ for 24 Hours

Elias Marat

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The ongoing pandemic has left many of us staring at a screen for far too long, be it a television screen, smartphone, or computer monitor.

However, one company is seeking to find out whether we can make it through a full day without looking at a screen – and volunteers could receive a reward of $2,400 if they accept the challenge.

Reviews.org is hosting a new “24-Hour Digital Detox Challenge” that will allow participants to take the ultimate test of their ability to abstain from staring into the black mirror and report back the results.

“Are you burnt out from doom scrolling on your phone, re-watching old sitcoms, and trying to maintain your sanity during the pandemic?” the Salt Lake City, Utah-based company recently announced. “Have you always wanted to win reality competitions like American Ninja Warrior, but you’ve been too busy trying to beat Mario Kart and Mortal Kombat instead?”

The challenge is open to anyone 18 or older who is eligible to work in the United States, and the participants will be announced on March 29 on the company’s YouTube channel.

Upon being chosen, participants will be able to accept or decline the challenge after two weeks before picking a day that fits into their schedule. They can spend their day however they please, but they must agree to abstain for a full 24 hours from mobile devices, gaming devices, smartwatches, TVs, computers and other wearables as well as smart home devices. The digital display of your alarm clock, microwave, or other home appliances won’t count.

“Detox challengers” will also receive a safe to store their devices in, as well as a $200 gift card to purchase a tech-free survival kit that can consist of writing stationery, books, board games and other decidedly analog devices.

“We have a feeling someone out there needs a break,” the company wrote in its announcement, noting that since the start of the pandemic people have been staring at screens at an unprecedented rate. 

Those interested can fill out a short application for the challenge here, but do it quickly! Applications close on March 26. 

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