Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Morning Drill: April 26, 2012

"Happy" the hippo has his tusks filed by keeper Anthony Dorrian at Taronga Western Plains Zoo on April 20, 2012 in Dubbo, Australia. The popular 35 year old Dubbo zoo is set in 3 square km of bushland and is home to over 700 animals.  (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Good Thursday Morning!

On to today's dentistry and health headlines:

Picture Post: Dental hygiene at the Zoo

Dental hygiene is no laughing matter, whether you’re a human… or a hippopotamus. However, a sparkling smile – or a sparkling yawn – is often worth enduring a little discomfort under the dentist’s drill, or in this case, a 30cm file.

See the other photos here.

An app twice a day keeps the dentist away

Dentist Ben Underwood has developed a unique free toothbrush timer app called Brush DJ to make brushing less boring! The app plays 2 minutes of a song taken at random from the music library stored on the user’s device. This encourages people to brush for an effective length of time whilst rediscovering their music collection.

This short YouTube video gives an overview of the free Brush DJ app.

Brush DJ also allows users to set reminders to brush twice a day, floss, use a mouthrinse and when next to visit their dentist or hygienist.

A recent survey by the British Dental Health Foundation reported nearly 59% of women and 35% regularly skip brushing their teeth at bedtime. The government’s latest dental health survey found only 21% of people use dental floss and only 26% use an electric toothbrush. A US study reported that the average time spent brushing is 45 seconds- considerably shorter than the recommended 2 minutes.

Ben says he had the idea for Brush DJ after watching an episode of the BBCs Apprentice, where candidates were asked to design an app. He felt this would be an ideal tool to make people aware of the latest advice and encourage them to brush twice a day for the right length of time, to help reduce the risk of gum disease, decay and bad breath.

The Evolution of the Runner’s High

Ferrets don’t often figure in studies of exercise, perhaps because they don’t exercise much. They slink like fog through tunnels, sprint briefly over open ground and spend much of their time sleeping. They are, in biological terms, what’s called a noncursorial species, meaning that they are reluctant and lousy distance runners.

Which is why they were ideal subjects for a new experiment conducted at the University of Arizona in Tucson looking at whether humans and other species evolved to like running.

Many anthropologists and distance runners believe that running guided the evolution of early humans. We ran in search of dinner and away from predators.

But running is costly, metabolically. It incinerates energy. It can also cause injury. A twisted ankle would have removed your typical early human from the gene pool.

So why did our ancestors continue to run over the millennia “and not evolve other strategies for survival?” asks David A. Raichlen, a professor of anthropology at the University of Arizona, who led the study, which was published in The Journal of Experimental Biology. “We wondered if natural selection might have used neurobiological mechanisms to encourage exercise activity,” he continues.

No evidence that mobile phones harm health: study

There is no convincing evidence that the use of mobile phones damages human health, a "comprehensive" review of scientific evidence said on Thursday.

Studies have not demonstrated that the use of mobiles causes brain tumours or any other cancer, according to the review by the Health Protection Agency (HPA)'s independent advisory group on non-ionising radiation.

But it said it was important to monitor evidence as the use of mobile phones has become widespread only recently.

The HPA also recommends that excessive use of mobile phones by children be discouraged.

"Overall, the results of studies have not demonstrated that the use of mobile phones causes brain tumours or any other type of cancer," the group said.

"The evidence suggests that radio frequency field exposure below guideline levels does not cause symptoms in humans."

The group's report reviewed scientific studies on exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields produced by mobile phones and wireless devices, such as wi-fi, as well as television and radio transmitters.

It said the presence of radio frequency fields cannot be detected by people, including those who report being sensitive to them.

And it added that research on long-term effects was limited but there was no evidence as yet of negative health effects.

Enjoy your morning!

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