Dental caries, the disease that causes tooth decay, is infectious, and the mutans streptococci bacteria have long been identified as the primary disease-causing agents. Thanks to numerous scientific advances, tooth decay is not as rampant as it once was, but it is still five times more common in children than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever. And about 25% of the population (in the United States) carries about 80% of the disease burden. So dental caries is still a serious problem, especially for those in the population who are very young, very old, economically disadvantaged, chronically ill, or institutionalized.
For decades, a dental vaccine has been the topic of mucosal immunology and infectious disease research. Host mucosal immunity in pre-clinical and clinical studies has indicated that this immune system can interfere with the processes causing dental caries.
In a symposium during the 82nd General Session of the International Association for Dental Research, five scientists will make a case for the scientific and moral imperative of a vaccine to prevent caries in disadvantaged populations, in the United States and other industrialized countries as well as in developing countries throughout the world. In disadvantaged populations especially, a vaccine is the most plausible and desirable method of preventing disease. Indeed, vaccination is a very significant method of combating an infectious disease whose importance has been recognized in a recent report by the Institute of Medicine.
Linda Hemphill | EurekAlert!
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Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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