Chances are you know exactly what cheese you like on your grilled cheese sandwich. Maybe you enjoy a little stringy mozzarella, creamy american, or tangy sharp cheddar. Well, according to science, you’re wrong! The American Chemical Society has broken down the science behind the iconic melty sandwich – and it turns out it’s all about pH!
I was surprised to find out that acid levels dictate the ultimate ‘gooeyness’ of cheese. Cheeses with an acidity in the range of pH 5.3 to 5.5 — such as gouda, gruyére or manchego — are best for being heated up in a sandwich.
Too much acidity (or a very low pH), aka ‘sharper’ cheeses, can break down while melting leaving you with a clumpy texture. So, if you are trying to pick the right cheddar cheese, go with the more mild option.
The latest video from the YouTube series Reactions, hosted by the ACS, explains the chemistry of the perfect grilled cheese sandwich in-depth. You’ve got to check it out below! 😜
As for me? I’ll stick with american cheese and a whole lot of butter. It made me smile when I was 5 years old and it still makes me smile today.
A 59 year-old obese Maryland woman died over 20 years ago, but details of her anatomy will live on in the digital world. Scientists with The Visible Human Project (creepiest name ever) sliced her cadaver over 5,000 times in order to create a super detailed digital image of the human body.
High-resolution images showing cross-sections of the body – at just a third of a millimeter thick – were stitched together to create a digital version of the woman, referred to as the ‘human phantom.’
The Visible Human Project was created by the U.S. National Library of Medicine in 1986. Their goal is to provide digital subjects for medical education, but they also hope to provide a new way for researchers to conduct experiments deemed too dangerous to perform on living humans.
“They have ten times as much information as you’d get from an MRI scan,” Dr Fernando Bello, from Imperial College London, told New Scientist. “It means the team will have much more information about organs and their structuring.”
The unnamed woman was not the first to undergo this procedure. The project also digitally pieced together a man in the 1990’s, but the woman’s recreation is much more detailed due to the fact she was sliced thinner (yikes). The male cadaver was sectioned at 1 millimeter intervals; the woman at intervals of just a third of a millimeter.
Click here to learn more about the Visible Human Project. And watch the crazy video below showing 1,800 cross-section images of the male cadaver!
Human beings are not sterile organisms – we are made up of millions of living microbes. In fact, we shed up to a million particles an hour! That means over the course of a day you will ditch roughly 24 million biological particles (bacteria, viruses, spores and more) into the air around you, forming what scientists are calling a ‘microbe cloud.’ It looks like everyone has a little more in common with Pig-Pen from Peanuts than we thought. 😷
Adam Altrichter, a microbial ecologist at the University of Oregon, and his colleagues asked 11 individuals to spend varying amounts of time in a sanitized sample chamber. Then they sampled the surfaces and the air for microbes.
Researchers discovered that most people could be clearly detected by their airborne bacterial emissions alone, as well as settled particles found on surfaces. Bacterial clouds from the sample groups were statistically distinct! The results show for the first time that individuals release their own personalized microbial cloud. We each give off a slightly different cocktail of bacteria.
“Our results confirm that an occupied space is microbially distinct from an unoccupied one,” the authors wrote, “and reveal for the first time that individuals occupying a space can emit their own distinct personal microbial cloud.”
Our unique ‘microbe clouds’ could have an impact on epidemiology, environmental engineering, or criminal forensics. The findings were published Tuesday in the journal PeerJ.
We all know Coca-Cola is a guilt-filled sugar bomb, but did you know the impact it has on the human body – in just ONE hour!? The Renegade Pharmacist broke it down for us, and it isn’t pretty…
1) In The First 10 minutes: 10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system. (100% of your recommended daily intake.) You don’t immediately vomit from the overwhelming sweetness because phosphoric acid cuts the flavor allowing you to keep it down.
2) 20 minutes: Your blood sugar spikes, causing an insulin burst. Your liver responds to this by turning any sugar it can get its hands on into fat. (There’s plenty of that at this particular moment)
3) 40 minutes: Caffeine absorption is complete. Your pupils dilate, your blood pressure rises, as a response your livers dumps more sugar into your bloodstream. The adenosine receptors in your brain are now blocked preventing drowsiness.
4) 45 minutes: Your body ups your dopamine production stimulating the pleasure centers of your brain. This is physically the same way heroin works, by the way.
5) >60 minutes: The phosphoric acid binds calcium, magnesium and zinc in your lower intestine, providing a further boost in metabolism. This is compounded by high doses of sugar and artificial sweeteners also increasing the urinary excretion of calcium.
6) >60 Minutes: The caffeine’s diuretic properties come into play. (It makes you have to pee.) It is now assured that you’ll evacuate the bonded calcium, magnesium and zinc that was headed to your bones as well as sodium, electrolyte and water.
7) >60 minutes: As the rave inside of you dies down you’ll start to have a sugar crash. You may become irritable and/or sluggish. You’ve also now, literally, pissed away all the water that was in the Coke. But not before infusing it with valuable nutrients your body could have used for things like even having the ability to hydrate your system or build strong bones and teeth.
‘After seeing so many people suffering from obesity related diseases like heart disease, diabetes and the side effects of the medication they were taking, I was strongly motivated to research what actually causes people to become obese, it clearly was not just the fat they were eating!
I actually discovered that a trigger factor for many widespread diseases of the west such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes could be closely linked to the consumption of one particular substance found in many processed foods and drinks – fructose in the form of high fructose corn syrup.
Fructose is the form of high fructose corn syrup is found in pretty much all processed foods such as ready meals, fast foods, sweets and fizzy drinks and most people are totally unaware of its danger.‘
– Niraj Naik, former UK pharmacist and the mind behind The Renegade Pharmacist.
When we eat we have come to recognize a few basic tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and the newly recognized ‘umami.’ But, according to a new study from Purdue University, fat should be considered a sixth taste called ‘oleogustus’ – “oleo” being the Latin root word for oily or fatty, and “gustus” referring to taste.
Whatever you do, make sure you don’t confuse the taste of fat with the creamy, smooth feel of fat.
“Most of the fat we eat is in the form of triglycerides, which are molecules comprised of three fatty acids… Triglycerides often impart appealing textures to foods like creaminess. However, triglycerides are not a taste stimulus. Fatty acids that are cleaved off the triglyceride in the food or during chewing in the mouth stimulate the sensation of fat,” said Richard D. Mattes, distinguished professor of nutrition science.
Mattes says fat itself has a generally unpleasant flavor, but low concentrations of fatty acids in food may add to their appeal just like unpleasant bitter chemicals can enhance the pleasantness of foods like wine, coffee, and chocolate. This mouth-watering revelation could possibly lead to better tasting food!
“The taste component of fat is often described as bitter or sour because it is unpleasant, but new evidence reveals fatty acids evoke a unique sensation satisfying another element of the criteria for what constitutes a basic taste, just like sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami. By building a lexicon around fat and understanding its identity as a taste, it could help the food industry develop better tasting products and with more research help clinicians and public health educators better understand the health implications of oral fat exposure,” said Mattes, who studies the mechanisms and function of taste.
There are no familiar words to describe the taste of fat, which is why the 102 study participants monitored by Mattes had trouble placing it. They were given multiple cups of solutions each containing a compound that tasted salty, sweet, umami, bitter, sour, or fatty. They were then asked to sort the solutions into groups, often misplacing the fatty samples with the bitter group. Eventually, when asked to sort samples including bitter, umami, and fatty stimuli, panelists grouped the fatty acids together correctly.
Daniel Britton, a graphic designer in London, has created a typeface that looks like an alien language. It’s not from another planet, but it is designed to give the average reader an out of body experience. Britton has managed to recreate what its like to read with dyslexia.
The image below is as disorienting as it is enlightening. See how you might process words if you were dyslexic.
Britton was diagnosed with dyslexia when he was 18 years old. He quickly realized he wasn’t alone. According to Dyslexia International, one in ten people are dyslexic, which equates to roughly 700,000,000 adults and children around the world.
“What this typeface does is break down the reading time of a non-dyslexic down to the speed of a dyslexic. I wanted to make non-Dyslexic people understand what it is like to read with the condition and to recreate the frustration and embarrassment of reading everyday text and then in turn to create a better understanding of the condition.” – Britton
Dyslexia is often greatly misunderstood. Britton hopes his typeface will help non-dyslexics empathize with those who struggle. And, if all goes to plan, his artwork will eventually lead to faster more effective treatment for dyslexia. That way, dyslexic students can learn at the same pace as their peers, giving them an equal chance to succeed! 👏
The Center for Science in the Public Interest surveyed the menus of more than 200 restaurant chains in search of high-calorie, high-fat gut bombs. They found the drinks, meals, sides, desserts, and ridiculous combos that are unbearably high in calories, sugar, saturated fat, and sodium. Nine items topped the list – view them below! I’m embarrassed proud to admit one of my top guilty pleasure treats (#2) made the list this year. Eat up 😉
The full list of “winners” was published in the June issue of CSPI’s flagship publication, Nutrition Action Healthletter.
Xtreme Eating 2015 Winners!
‘It’s not easy to win an Xtreme Eating award. For starters, most restaurant meals pack around 1,000 calories, so anything in that neighbor-hood is a yawner. To stand out in the crowd, you’ve got to hit around 2,000 calories—an entire day’s worth of food—even if it’s just dessert.
But our winners have what it takes…a total disregard for the obesity epidemic and the coming diabetes tsunami. Of course, you can’t blame restaurants for that. That would be so unfair.’
#10) Red Lobster’s Lobsterita (890 calories) A 24 oz. Traditional Lobsterita (with its 860 mg of sodium). IMAGE: Instagram – Red Lobster
9) IHOP’s Chorizo Fiesta Omelette (1,300 calories) IHOP’s Chorizo Fiesta Omelette, which is loaded with spicy chorizo sausage, roasted peppers, onions and pepper jack cheese, then topped with a citrus chili sauce and sour cream and served with a fresh grilled serrano pepper…will have you holding your stomach. A 1,300-calorie sausage omelette alone would strike many as a tad on the heavy side. But this one comes with three buttermilk pancakes (or hash browns, toast, or fruit) for MORE added calories! IMAGE: IHOP website
8) Steak ‘n Shake’s 7×7 Steakburger (1,330 calories) The 7X7 Steakburger ‘n Fries (available from midnight to 6 a.m. on the “Up All Night” menu) squeezes seven beef patties between its buns. The 1,330 calories in the burger make the 240 calories in the small side of fries seem puny. But what’s puny about the plate’s 47 grams of sat fat and 4,570 mg of sodium? IMAGE: Steak ‘n Shake website
7) Outback Steakhouse’s 16 oz. Herb Roasted Prime Rib (1,400 calories) The 16 oz. prime rib is 1,400 calories alone. For sides, let’s say you get the dressed baked potato and the classic blue cheese wedge (it’s a “premium side salad,” so it’ll cost you a buck), and that you eat just half the loaf of bread and use just a light schmear of butter. The tab: 2,400 calories, 71 grams of sat fat (31⁄2 days’ worth), and enough sodium (3,560 mg) for today and tomorrow. IMAGE: CSPI website
6) Uno’s 6” Chicago Classic Deep Dish Pizza (1,470 calories) A Chicago Classic Deep Dish Pizza (“a small plate version of their famous Chicago Classic Deep Dish with sausage, mozzarel- la, chunky tomato sauce and romano”). IMAGE: CSPI website
5) The Cheesecake Factory’s Warm Apple Crisp (1,740 calories) Between the apples, “delicious crispy nutty topping,” two scoops of ice cream, small mountain of whipped cream, and caramel sauce, you’re looking at 1,740 calories—more than any cheesecake on the menu. In fact, you can eat TWO slices of the original cheesecake instead. Gross. IMAGE: Cheesecake Factory website
4) Dickey’s Barbecue Pit’s 3 Meat Plate (2,500 calories) With a whole 3 meat plate, including two sides, sweet tea, and a half cup of ice cream in a cone (and no re- fills), your meal comes to roughly 2,500 calories, 49 grams of sat fat and 4,700 mg of sodium (21⁄2 to 3 days’ worth of each), plus 29 teaspoons of (mostly added) sugar. It’s like having three Big Macs with five Vanilla Cones. IMAGE: Twitter – Dickeys
3) Sonic’s Large Pineapple Upside Down Master Blast (2,020 calories) “SONIC’s real, vanilla ice cream perfectly mixed with pineapple, salted caramel & pie crust pieces” comes in a 32 oz. cup topped with several inches of whipped cream. That’s for a large, which fires 2,020 calories at your midsection, and 61 grams (three days’ worth) of sat fat and 41⁄2 grams (two days’ worth) of trans fat (from the pie crust) at your arteries. And it comes with some 29 teaspoons of added sugar. One Master Blast has the calories of roughly four Dairy Queen Banana Splits. IMAGE: Sonic website
2) The Cheesecake Factory’s Louisiana Chicken Pasta (2,370 calories) The Louisiana Chicken Pasta, which weighs an impressive 1.5 pounds, comes topped with four slices of heavily breaded chicken. Add the New Orleans sauce (butter and heavy cream), and your plate is up to 2,370 calories (more than a day’s worth), plus 80 grams of saturated fat (a four-day supply) and 2,370 milligrams of sodium (11⁄2 days’ worth). IMAGE: Cheesecake Factory website
1) Red Lobster’s “Create Your Own Combination” (2,710 calories) For CSPI’s Create Your Own Combination at Red Lobster, they picked three shrimp dishes (Parrot Isle Jumbo Coconut, Walt’s Favorite, and Linguine Alfredo). With french fries as the side, Caesar as the salad, and just one Cheddar Bay Biscuit, the total came to 2,710 calories, 37 grams (two days’ worth) of sat fat, and 6,530 mg (a four day supply) of sodium. IMAGE: CSPI website
Beauty giant L’Oreal USA has announced a partnership with 3-D bioprinting company Organovo to develop 3-D printed skin tissue for product testing and other areas of advanced research.
L’Oreal is no stranger to the field of skin engineering. The company has spent decades exploring skin culture technologies that could take them away from forms of animal testing.
L’Oreal has roughly 60 scientists working on site, at a lab in Lyon, France, growing more than 100,000 skin samples annually. According to Bloomberg – In a year, their efforts produce a cowhide worth of human skin samples. The process yields nine different types of human skin samples, representing different ages and ethnicities, that can be used to test various products.
For this partnership, L’Oreal will provide skin expertise and all the initial funding, while Organovo, which is already working with such companies as Merck to print liver and kidney tissues, will provide the technology – with the hopes of automating the process.
What is the end game?
L’Oreal wins exclusive rights to the 3D printed skin developed with Organovo for uses related to non-prescription skin care products.
Organovo will retain rights to the tissue models for efficacy testing of prescription drugs, toxicity tests, and the development and testing of therapeutic or surgically transplanted tissues.
The end of animal testing?
The beauty industry has famously been at war with animal rights activists protesting the use of animals – with watchdogs like PETA creating lists of companies that are either ‘cruelty-free’ or ‘still testing’ on animals.
In 2013, the European Union banned the import and sale of cosmetics containing ingredients tested on animals. L’Oreal, which is based in France, was one of the first beauty companies to respond. L’Oreal said it would respect the ban and “no longer sell in Europe any finished product with an ingredient that was tested on animals.”
L’Oreal’s current stance on animal testing as posted on their website: The Group no longer tests on animal, anywhere in the world, and does not delegate this task to others.
3-D printed skin tissue will not only protect animals from unnecessary product testing, it will also greatly impact the fields of medicine and cosmetic surgery.
What does L’Oreal have to say about the new partnership?
Guive Balooch -VP of L’Oreal’s global Technology Incubator- said the potential for this new field of technology is ‘boundless.’
Balooch told The Washington Post, “Some of the biggest potential advantages are the speed of production as well as the level of precision that 3-D printing can achieve… L’Oreal’s focus right now is not to increase the quantity of skin we produce but instead to continue to build on the accuracy and consistent replication of the skin engineering process.”
Organovo Holdings, Inc & Bioprinting
Organovo is one of the first companies to offer commercially available 3D-printed human organs. This deal with L’Oreal is their first foray into cosmetics.
Last year they launched their first product, the exVive3D human liver, for use in toxicology and other preclinical drug testing. They struck a deal with Merck & Co. last month to use this liver system for testing as a supplement to in vitro and animal testing.
Click below to watch Organovo’s video explaining the bioprinting process
It looks and feels human. It’s even made of salt, water, and fiber – just like you and me. But, this incredible replica of the human body isn’t human; it’s SynDaver Lab’s synthetic human patient.
Human cadavers can cost up to $10,000, and that doesn’t take into account transportation and disposal fees, as well as the need for specialized storage facilities and trained staff. Plus, you can only use them once! The SynDaver ultra-realistic human is meant to be educational and reusable.
According to their official website, The SynDaver Synthetic Human is ‘the most elaborate and sophisticated full-body surgical simulator ever devised. An exquisite 3D jigsaw puzzle; every muscle, bone, vascular component and organ is removable and replaceable.’
This synthetic human can be used in the medical industry to replace live animals, human cadavers, and even human patients – mainly for trauma training, sugerical training, and medical device development.
‘It is obviously good not only for ethical reasons, but also because avoiding animal use saves a great deal of time and money,’ said SynDaver Labs founder Dr Sakezles. ‘So, I started designing synthetic organs to test devices and over time they became very elaborate.’
How much does all of this cost?
The SynDaver Anatomy “base model,” which has all of the organs, muscles and bones a human cadaver has, sells for $25,000 and is used worldwide at hospitals with simulators and at universities and community colleges teaching anatomy.
The SynDaver Patient is the newest addition to the SynDaver Synthetic Human (SSH) product line. In addition to all of the existing features that have made the Synthetic Human world-famous, the SynDaver Patient also includes an open-source physiology engine that controls body motions and all aspects of synthetic biology.
The SynDaver Patient can be used for practicing ultrasound, fluoroscopy, X-ray and CT imaging, along with surgical procedures involving tools such as lasers, plasma knives and sonic blades. According to GizMag, it’s available now, for $85,000.
Later this year, the company should be releasing a Basic version of its existing Synthetic Human – the latter model not only features full human anatomy, but also functioning circulatory and respiratory systems – along with Preemie and Newborn models. All three should be priced at about $15,000.
Even the ‘Product Description’ on the website gave me chills!
SynDaver synthetic tissues have been validated over the last two decade to simulate the mechanical and physico-chemical properties of live tissue. With this technology, our products have created an entirely new field known as live tissue replacement. The SSH is capable of standing in for a human cadaver in medical procedure training but unlike a cadaver, the SSH can last forever.
The model pumps heated synthetic blood (pulsed flow away from the heart and drainage toward the heart) and can be used to simulate procedures with ventilation, insufflation and intubation.
Anatomical attributes include:
Skin with fat and fascia planes (Optional)
Every bone, muscle, tendon and ligament
Fully articulating joints
Functioning respiratory system
Complete digestive and urinary tracts
Visceral and reproductive organs
Muscles, bones, organs and vasculature are all removable and replaceable to allow onsite servicing and upgrades.
A variety of pathologies and injuries are available based on patient images, CAD drawings or simple descriptions. Client may also select gender and skin tone.
Onsite installation and training, one full year of anatomy and tissue upgrades and a three-year warranty. Annual service contracts covering every aspect of the body are also available.
Compatible with all known imaging techniques including MRI, CT, fluoroscopy and ultrasound.
System is compatible with all known surgical devices including lasers, RF ablation, plasma knives, sonic blades and cryocatheters as well as bipolar, monopolar and harmonic devices.
Full body with storage and display container, stainless-steel table, deluxe battery-powered heart pump and all required plumbing. The model may be skinless or covered with either the standard SynDaver synthetic human skin (pure wet chemistry) or our new organosilicate-synthetic human hybrid skin (polymer outer – wet inner).
Shark Tank Let Down
SynDaver Labs was awarded a $3 million dollar deal on ABC’s Shark Tank, but unfortunately the deal fell through.
Dr. Christopher Sakezles accepted the deal last week from investor Robert Herjavec in an episode of the hit show. The agreement would have given Herjavec 25 percent equity and equal board representation.
Erin McLean, vice president of marketing for the Herjavec Group, said she could not comment on a deal that hadn’t closed. “We were not able to progress through our due diligence process,” she said, “but we wish them well.”
Dr. Sakezles views this not as a setback, but as an opportunity. “With the exposure that we’ve recently received, we’re looking at much more lucrative opportunities with other investors,” he said.
Click below to see the full video of SynDaver Labs on Shark Tank.
8 MAY 2015 | GENEVA – WHO called on scientists, national authorities and the media to follow best practices in naming new human infectious diseases to minimize unnecessary negative effects on nations, economies and people.
The concern is that diseases are often given common names by people who work outside of the scientific community, and once these names are established on the Internet and in print, they are very hard to change. So, WHO argues that it is important that whoever FIRST reports on a newly identified human disease uses a ‘scientifically sound’ and ‘socially acceptable’ name.
“In recent years, several new human infectious diseases have emerged. The use of names such as ‘swine flu’ and ‘Middle East Respiratory Syndrome’ has had unintended negative impacts by stigmatizing certain communities or economic sectors,” says Dr Keiji Fukuda, Assistant Director-General for Health Security, WHO.
Dr Fukuda went on to explain that, while this may sound trivial to some people, disease names can have serious consequences for those directly affected. We have experienced certain backlash against members of religious or ethnic communities, and witnessed unjustified barriers to travel, commerce, and trade. Worst of all, some of these names have triggered the needless slaughter of food animals 😦
If you need an example of how WHO thinks new human diseases should be handled you can look to the Swine flu epidemic in 2009, which WHO asked we call A(H1N1)pdm09.
So, what does WHO consider to be ‘inappropriate’?
Terms that should be avoided in disease names include geographic locations (e.g. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, Spanish Flu, Rift Valley fever), people’s names (e.g. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Chagas disease), species of animal or food (e.g. swine flu, bird flu, monkey pox), cultural, population, industry or occupational references (e.g. legionnaires), and terms that incite undue fear (e.g. unknown, fatal, epidemic).
Interesting Fact: The final name of any new human disease is assigned by the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), which is managed by WHO. Doctors, nurses, researchers, coders, policymakers, insurers, and patient organizations around the world use the ICD to classify diseases in a standardized way.
As a member of the media, and a lover of the science/tech/health community, I see both sides of this issue. But, I don’t see this plea having much of an impact on publications that push eye-catching, SEO driven, headlines. That being said, I will try to use WHO approved disease names moving forward! 😉