A Russian Scientist Injected Himself With 3.5-Million-Year-Old Bacteria
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People have been hunting down the legendary fountain of youth since antiquity. Does it exist? Could it ever, even theoretically, exist? A Russian scientist named Dr. Anatoli Brouchkov believes it's out there, and he thinks he found it in 3.5-million-year-old bacteria. So what does Dr. Brouchkov do next? Inject himself with it, of course. The bacteria, Bacillus F, was discovered in Siberia in 2009. The bacteria was at once impressive because, despite being roughly 3.5 million years old, it was alive in Siberian permafrost. Brouchkov believes there is a mechanism in this bacteria that allowed it to stay alive in the frost for millions of years. Hey, if bacteria can do it, so can we, right? Who knows, but Dr. Brouchkov was eager enough to experiment with that thought to inject himself with the stuff. Though it's hard to say if the bacteria "worked" to make the scientist immortal, Dr. Brouchkov claimed in 2015 that he's feeling better than ever. Only time will tell the rest of his story... Hear more about the unbelievable tale in the video below.
Stop Cleaning Cuts With Hydrogen Peroxide
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Every kid knows the painful yet satisfying sensation of hydrogen peroxide fizzing in a wound. That fizzing occurs as a result of a chemical reaction between the hydrogen peroxide and bacteria—specifically, an enzyme in bacteria called catalase. Unfortunately, hydrogen peroxide targets the catalase in all cells, not just that of the bacteria you're trying to kill. That means it will destroy your body's healthy cells, too. At the least, this reaction slows down the healing process. However, there have been instances where the oxygen bubbles created in a hydrogen-peroxide reaction actually enter blood vessels and cause what's known as an oxygen embolism, which blocks the flow of blood. So what should you use when you get a minor cut or scrape? Experts recommend bypassing the antiseptics and simply cleaning it with soap and water. Hear more medical myths in the videos below.
Why Mayonnaise Probably Won't Give You Food Poisoning
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Everybody knows not to eat potato salad left out after a picnic or a mayo-slathered sandwich that's been in a lunch bag too long. And while these foods certainly have the potential to make you sick, the mayonnaise they contain is almost guaranteed not to be the reason. At its most basic, mayonnaise is a combination of oil, egg yolks, and vinegar or lemon juice. Those last two ingredients are the key to why claims that mayo causes food poisoning are almost entirely unfounded: the condiment's high acid content protects it against spoiling. Indeed, multiple studies in the Journal of Food Protection have found that mayonnaise actually decreases the growth of bacteria like salmonella and staphyloccus, which means adding mayonnaise to food will in fact reduce the risk that the other ingredients could make you sick. Bust this and other food myths with the videos below.
The Grand Prismatic Spring Is A Rainbow Of Heat-Loving Bacteria
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The largest hot spring in Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Prismatic Spring reaches temperatures of up to 189º F at its center—far too hot to sustain most life. But like a freshly baked muffin, it's cooler near the edges. Every band of slightly cooler water provides a chance for a different species of thermophilic, or heat-loving, bacteria to set up camp. Just outside the deep blue, bacteria-sparse center is a band of Synechococcus bacteria, which glow a bright yellow instead of their usual green due to the stresses of high water temperatures, and also to protect themselves from the harsh UV light. Beyond that band, Synechococcus is joined by a population of chloroflexi bacteria, which appear orange for the same sun-protection purposes. The coolest ring, closest to the water's edge, is home to a wide variety of bacteria, and the mix of their individual hues creates a deep red-brown color. The result is a spectacular display of rainbow hues. Discover other rainbows in unexpected natural places below.
The Stinkiest Bacteria In Your Mouth Don't Live On Your Teeth
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In the 1970s, Joseph Tonzetich of the University of British Columbia analyzed human breath for the first time using a gas chromatograph, which separates gases into their individual chemical ingredients. Since then, researchers have found around 150 different compounds in our breath -- some (but not all) of them stinky. The smell of your breath comes mostly from waste produced by bacteria, who dine on the leftover food particles and dead skin in your mouth. The bacteria that live on your teeth are "gram-positive": that is, bacteria with simple cell walls. Gram-positive bacteria are often responsible for wearing down enamel, but don't emit many noxious odors. It's the gram-negative bacteria -- those with impenetrable cell walls -- that live mostly below the gum line and on the tongue which spew the smelliest scents. Bacteria such as Treponema denticola, Bacteroides intermedius, and Porphyromonas endodontalis are the heaviest producers of hydrogen sulfide, which smells like rotten eggs, and some also produce methyl mercaptan, which smells like rotting cabbage. Though other compounds have been detected, it's those two that most studies find to be the cause of the worst morning breath. That means that in order to get fresher breath, you should brush more than just your teeth. We've collected some awesome videos on this topic. Watch them now to learn more.
Key Facts to Know
Mouth bacteria aren't all bad. Some cause cavities and gum disease, but others can protect against more dangerous bacteria. 0:27
Your saliva usually keeps bacterial colonies under control, but at night, you don't produce as much saliva. 0:39
Bacteria produce odor-causing compounds as waste products, including hydrogen sulfide, methanthiol, isovaleric acid, and cadaverine. 1:02