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FDA reconsiders regulation of soap ingredients

January 7, 2014 | Blog

In society's never ending quest to rid itself of pesky germs, are we trading off our long-term health and the health of our planet? Recently, the Food and Drug Administration has revisited the issue regarding the safety of some of the most common antibacterial household products, such as the active ingredients in soaps and toothpaste.   The FDA said that it was requiring soap manufacturers to demonstrate that the substances were safe or to take them out of the products...

Gut research gains national attention

December 11, 2013 | Blog

Should we blame it on our microbes? Along with a likely middle-aged paunch, the average 40-year old packs on a few extra pounds just from the trillions of bacteria that hitch a ride by growing deep inside the human gut. It's estimated that a 1,000 species of bacteria may take up a permanent gut residence to help humans digest food and make essential nutrients.   Now, in a new article, Washington Post writer Marlene Cimons took a closer look at these microbes, asking whether or not...

Zombies for science education

December 6, 2013 | Blog

Let’s face it. Zombies rule the world!   A movie movement that began with George Romero’s classic Night of the Living Dead a generation ago has more recently spawned a spate of zombie-themed Hollywood and pop culture domination: Shaun of the Dead, 28 Hours Later, Zombieland (my personal favorite, always remember Zombieland rule #2: the double tap!), World War Z, and the hit TV seriesThe Walking Dead, to name a few.    Now,...

Promoting innovation in the age of longer life spans

November 14, 2013 | Blog

Can old dogs learn new tricks? How about old societies? In the face of plummeting fertility rates and rapid population aging throughout the developed world, the answer is yes, writesMichael Birt, director of the Center for Sustainable Health at ASU’s Biodesign Institute, in a Future Tense article for Slate magazine. Birt argues that aging societies like Japan, China and the United States have an opportunity to take bold action and use their “graying” populations as a...

Chicken run in rural Africa

November 7, 2013 | Blog

What on earth is a Kuroiler? Kuroilers are a very special kind of chicken. For farmers in rural Africa, they can help provide a transition from cycles of poverty to self-sufficiency and increased economic opportunity. Highly adaptable to local environs, Kuroilers are hybrid creatures, almost twice the weight of their indigenous counterparts, providing much more meat. They are prodigious egg-layers, supplying families with roughly ten times as many eggs per year as average...

New approaches target aggressive breast cancers

October 31, 2013 | Blog

As National Breast Cancer Awareness Month draws to a close, pink ribbons and pink products slowly disappear from stores and businesses. But the disease remains at the forefront for patients who live with cancer and researchers working to eliminate it. Here we share some of the ways scientists at ASU are working to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. MaryEllen Sheppard remembers going to her annual physical and hearing the doctor call her the “poster woman of...

A golden homecoming: sparking interest in science

October 29, 2013 | Blog

One of the joys of ASU Homecoming weekend is having an opportunity to engage young minds in science, with the potential to dazzle them with our science and make a lasting impact. This past Saturday, Oct. 18, more than 30,000 folks had a blast in the pre-game block party festivities before the Sun Devils take down of Univ. of Washington (a 53-24 stomping).  Biodesign was well-represented with our own science-themed tent, drawing in more than 1,000 inquistive spectators on their way to...

For new antibacterials, rub a little dirt in it

October 29, 2013 | Blog

Clay may hold the secret to beautiful skin, and now, microbiologists at ASU's Biodesign Institute say it may have another secret: an ability to treat skin infections. "It can be used for wound healing or to potentially fight infections that occur on the surface of the skin,” said microbiologist Shelley Haydel. Researchers have found that some clay can kill powerful bacteria like e-coli and even Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, which can be resistant to many...

The government shutdown makes no sense for 300 million Americans

October 16, 2013 | Blog

by Ray DuBois, Executive Director of Biodesign at ASU We are now 14 days into the federal government shutdown. While some are feeling the pain more than others -- such as those who depend on social services, the national parks system, or early childhood education -- the collateral damage caused by this failure of our legislators to govern is reverberating throughout the country. Love it or hate it, the law creating the Affordable Health Care Act passed, just like every other law that the...

Back to the start

October 15, 2013 | Blog

If DNA is the blueprint of life on Earth, what originally made DNA? Biodesign professor John Chaput has been fascinated with this question, exploring the world of exotic molecules that could function as genetic precursors to DNA. His research team made major headlines with a designer molecule called TNA. And when the Discovery Channel came knocking on our doors to make a feature segment for their 'Through the Wormhole' series, hosted and narrated by 'the voice,' Morgan Freeman, well, we...