How Nerves Fire

Whack! OUCH! Ever wonder how pain from a whacked hand gets to your brain so quickly? Also, what do people mean when they say we have electrical impulses inside our bodies? In this post, we’ll take a look at how nerves send messages throughout your body. Though, let’s not call it “firing nerves”, in biology we use the term “action potential”. Anatomy of a Neuron A neuron is a nerve cell. It resembles a smashed spider with a long, frayed tail. The spider part is analogous to the cell body, the long tail is the axon, and the frayed end…

Nanoparticles

Tiny UPS… or something You’ve learned about phage therapy, quorum sensing and quorum quenching, which means, hello PhD! I’m just kidding, no grad student has the time to jump from topic to topic like this. But for us curious nerds, the next topic in the fight against antibiotic resistant bacteria is nanoparticles. Specifically, using them to deliver drugs. Sometimes, antibiotics don’t reach the cell because of the biofilm, and this physical problem requires a physical solution: tiny delivery systems. Nanoparticles Nanoparticles are usually some sort of metal or carbon polymer. They have a positive charge so that they can interact…

sugar alcohols

Sugar Alcohols

=O to -OH While there are many types of sugar substitutes out there, this post will focus on the sugar alcohols. First, what are sugar alcohols? Molecularly, sugar alcohols are sugars (glucose, fructose, etc.) that have their double-bonded oxygen hydrogenated. If you can’t picture that, it’s okay, here’s what it looks like: =O becomes -OHNow, this may not seem like a significant change to us, but it makes quite a difference in the sweetness and the fermentability of the sugar. Sugar alcohols are less sweet and the bacteria in your mouth are incapable of fermenting them; plus, they also don’t…

molten-salt reactor

Molten-Salt Reactors

Written by Philippe WerrieEdited for Oralgrooves.com by Evie The Other Nuclear Reactor While proponents tout the carbon free nature of the nuclear reactor, ecologists condemn them for their risk and the nuclear waste they produce. Did you know that while there are hundreds of active nuclear power plants in the world, most of them use the same basic design? There’s actually a lot of potential ways to design a nuclear reactor. In this post, I want to introduce you to the molten-salt reactor. Components An actual nuclear power plant is a complicated machine but its basic mechanism is easy to…

Understanding Food Labels

Food Labels written by Shirley F. Edited for OralGrooves.com by Evie What’s Legit? When buying food, most people take food labels at face value. If the label on a carton of eggs says “cage free,” one imagines that the chickens were free to roam on a large space of land; however, it mostly means that the chickens were jammed into a small space with just enough room for them to be able to stand. Why? Because there is no USDA regulation for the term “cage-free”. Let’s take a look at some common food labels and their legal definitions. All Natural…