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How cranberry juice prevents tooth decay and man-made muscle allows stroke patients to blink

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Smile! Cranberry juice, pictured, prevents bacteria from sticking to teeth, a study shows
In other highlights from health news this week, new benefits of cranberry juice and how a 'man-made' muscle can give back stroke patients the function of their unhealthy eye.

  • Drinking cranberry juice to prevent tooth decay
    Cranberry juice may protect against cavities by preventing bacteria from clinging to teeth.Drinking the juice is already known to help prevent and treat bladder problems, by stopping bacteria sticking to the bladder wall.Now these anti-bacterial properties are being tested in dental care.Our mouths are full of bacteria, which feed off the sugars in food. They then excrete acids that cause dental decay.Laboratory studies have shown that cranberry juice acts like Teflon, preventing the bacteria sticking to teeth.The American researchers also found compounds in the juice stopped bacteria building up and forming plaque, which is a cause of gum disease.They are now planning to isolate the compounds that provide the protection. It's hoped they could then be added to toothpaste or mouthwash directly.
  • 'Man-made' muscle that allows stroke patients to blink
    An artificial muscle could help stroke patients left with a paralysed eyelid.These patients are unable to blink with their damaged eye.Now scientists have engineered an artificial muscle to do the job.The silicon muscle is implanted into the eyelid, connected to a tiny power pack buried in the skull and wired up to the healthy eyelid on the side of the face unaffected by the stroke.When the device detects muscle movement in the good eyelid, it triggers the artificial muscle to contract at the same time.Blinking is vital for eye health; an inability to blink can cause problems such as dry eyes or corneal damage.Current treatments involve muscle and nerve transplants, but this is not suitable for all patients. It is hoped the new muscle will provide an alternative.


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