Tag: skin

“Good” Bacteria is Secret to Avoiding Acne

By Gemma Tarlach | February 28, 2013 3:30 am

Zit happens.

Acne is an unwelcome reality for 80 percent of us at some point in our lives, but researchers have discovered the secret to clear skin may be the kind of bacteria that’s taken up residence there.

According to findings published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology today, certain strains of Propionibacterium acnes, a bacteria typically found in our pores, may actually protect skin from other strains of P. acnes that cause inflammation in the form of pimples.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: acne, bacteria, skin

New Skin? A Plastic That Heals Itself, Conducts Electricity, and is Sensitive To Touch

By Ashley P. Taylor | November 13, 2012 3:43 pm

self-healing plastic

Skin is a material with astonishing capabilities: the flexible, waterproof layer constantly regenerates itself, heals itself after scratches and cuts, and, through its nerves, conducts electricity, relaying the sense of touch to the brain. Engineers have long been trying to come up with a synthetic polymer that does all those things, and does them under standard conditions rather than the carefully calibrated set-up of a lab. Now engineers have created a polymer with a combination of skin’s most elusive attributes that no polymer had achieved before: This new material, reported in Nature Nanotechnology, can conduct electricity and, when it is sliced open with a razor, can heal itself at room temperature.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, Technology

Contaminated Tattoo Ink is Behind Mysterious Infections

By Veronique Greenwood | September 7, 2012 11:44 am

rash
One patient’s rash

In January of this year, a string of unusual patients began to trickle into dermatologist’s offices in Rochester, NY. They had red rashes on areas where they had recently had tattoos, and the usual treatments were not working.

The cases, 19 in all, were reported to the local department of public health. A team there learned that all the patients had developed the rash, which turned out to be a bacterial infection, within three weeks of getting a tattoo at a particular parlor. When they interviewed the tattoo artist, they learned that he had recently begun to use a new kind of grey ink. Such ink is often used to create shadow effects, and indeed, the patients’ rashes tended to be on the areas where the grey ink had been injected into their skin.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine

When Life Gives You Spider Silk, Make Artificial Skin

By Joseph Castro | August 11, 2011 3:46 pm

spacing is importantLeft: the silk mesh 1 day after being seeded with fibroblast cells. Right: 4 days after seeding.

What’s the News: People have long known that spider silk has many practical uses, even in the medical field; Ancient Greeks, for example, employed the strong, flexible fiber as bandages. But the clinical uses of spider silk may stretch beyond that: scientists may someday be able to use the silk to help create artificial skin, according to new research out of the Hannover Medical School in Germany. In the study, published recently in the journal PLoS One, researchers successfully grew tissue-like skin on a mesh frame of silk harvested from golden silk orb-weaver spiders.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, Top Posts

Study: Acne Drugs Aren't Linked to Suicide—Acne Is

By Andrew Moseman | November 12, 2010 1:37 pm

AcneSince its emergence in the early 1980s, the drug isotretinoin—used to treat severe acne and sold under a host of different brand names—has been subject to controversy over whether it increases the incidence of suicide attempts in those who take it. But sorting out whether the drug, the acne itself, or some other factor is driving increased suicide risk is quite difficult.

So for a study out in the British Medical Journal, a team of researchers in Sweden looked at a deluge of data for 5,756 people who took the drug. Their conclusion: Severe acne patients who took isotretinoin had an increased risk for suicide attempts both before and after taking it, so they can’t definitively link isotretinoin to suicide.

The drug, perhaps best known as the pharmaceutical company Roche’s Accutane, has been embraced by dermatologists and their suffering patients, but has also been dogged by controversy for its side effects.

While powerful at clearing acne, the drug has been linked to birth defects if taken during pregnancy and has also been suspected of causing mental side effects, although Roche has vigorously defended personal injury claims in this area. [Reuters]

Anders Sundstrom led the current research, which seems to support the theory that the pharmaceutical isn’t a threat to mental health. Said Sundstrom:

“The underlying condition of acne is a more important factor for suicide attempts. We are not certain the drug adds anything.” [BBC News]

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, Mind & Brain

Scientists Create "Artificial Electronic Skin" From Nanowire Mesh

By Andrew Moseman | September 13, 2010 9:54 am

eskinFrom “When the Robots Sing ‘Touch-A, Touch-A, Touch-Me,’ the E-Skin Is Working,” on the DISCOVER blog Science Not Fiction:

That’s right, e-skin. A group of scientists at UC-Berkeley devised a flexible mesh using nanowires to create a substance that reacts to pressure, and, as their paper in Nature Materials said, “effectively functions as an artificial electronic skin.” In the same issue, a team from Stanford University announced it had devised a kind of skin so sensitive, it can detect the weight of a bluebottle fly.  All of which means for one shining issue, a scientific journal was a skin mag.

Read the rest of this post (with video).

Related Content:
80beats: The Eyes Have It: Lab-Made Corneas Restore Vision
80beats: How to Turn a Frog Egg Into a Robot’s Artificial Nose
80beats: To the Brain, Tools Are Temporary Body Parts

Image: UC Berkeley

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology

Your Belly Button Is a Lush Oasis for Bacteria, and That's a Good Thing

By Eliza Strickland | May 28, 2009 5:19 pm

skin bacteriaResearchers are singing a song of praise for armpits, groins, and all the other moist parts of the body that polite society prefers not to contemplate.

On the microbial level, a person’s underarms are akin to lush rain forests brimming with diversity—and that’s a good thing—according to a new “topographic map” of human skin. Most of our skin is like an arid desert, said study co-author Julia Segre… “But as you walk through this desert you encounter an oasis, which is the inside of your nose,” she said. “You encounter a stream, which is a moist crease. [These] areas are like habitats rich in diversity” [National Geographic News]. In the new study, the researchers cataloged the bacteria distributed across human skin, and note that a better understanding of these native bacteria of the epidermis may help doctors promote skin health and fight skin diseases.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine
MORE ABOUT: bacteria, biodiversity, skin
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