Wednesday, May 23, 2018

FDA Stops Benzocaine in Products for Teething Pain

Like most people I know, I get lots of updates from various organizations, news agencies, etc. I also get daily and weekly science updates from different agencies and online sources. 

Today I received an update from the Food and Drug Administration that over-the-counter (OTC) teething products containing benzocaine are going to be taken off the market. The FDA news release builds on previous warnings about risks connected with benzocaine products for methemoglobinemia. This dangerous condition is the result of elevated levels of methemoglobin in the blood, which causes the amount of oxygen carried through the blood to be greatly reduced and lead to death. 

So spread the word! All those teething and throat pain products sold as gels, sprays, ointments, solutions and lozenges under the OTC brand names Anbesol, Baby Orajel, Cepacol, Chloraseptic, Hurricaine, Orabase, Orajel and Topex, as well as store brands and generics are out. Companies can voluntarily remove the products or they will be required by the FDA to stop producing them. 

To decrease gum pain from newly erupting teeth, parents are asked to go back to the basics of rubbing inflamed gums and offering cold teethers. Go science!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Just for Fun Science

Trivia and other knowledge-based activities have been around a long time. I enjoy testing myself with lots of different brain challenges. I am particularly addicted to word finds.  

So when I ran across the May 2018 crossword puzzle by The Scientist, I gave it a try. 

It covers a number of science topics including everything from a breed of dairy cow, biologically produced poison, and African blooms to Asa Gray's field, and #3 on the Periodic Table. 

It's just the thing for a Friday or to keep the brain thinking about science over the weekend. Do you have favorite science brain teasers? List them in the comments. Have a great weekend and go science!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

NASA Spinoffs

Some folks wonder if space exploration is "worth it." (Not me or anyone I know, but some.) I believe it's because for decades, NASA was not great at advertising its amazing technologies. Not exactly a strength (or even of interest) to most scientists and engineers.

When I worked at Johnson Space Center, I became aware of NASA accomplishments (besides launching rockets and building an international space station) through the annual NASA Spinoffs book that employees received.

You can read the online 2018 edition or download a copy here. It's amazing all the science and technology we take for granted that originated within the NASA space program. If you want a comprehensive look at NASA spinoffs, check out the NASA Spinoff Database which contains abstracts of all Spinoff articles published since 1976.

Next time you hear someone asking the question of what has NASA done for me, direct them to these resources. Go science!

Friday, March 9, 2018

Get Your Science (and STEM) On!

I believe that scientists and engineers are very creative people. There is logic involved in the scientific method, but that creative spark or "aha!" moment often sets someone down a path of amazing discovery and innovation. 

So, to honor my creative/science self and have a ton of fun too, I created an Amazon Merch account for STEM t-shirts. Amazon lets you search by  key words. Some of mine are: science, Semper Sci, engineering, Latin, Carpe ipsum, physics, nature, inventor, and earth. 

I also created a science t-shirt Pinterest board. If you are looking to celebrate science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), as well as famous scientists, inventors, Earth Day, the Physics of Love, and more, check it out!

For March, I created a St. Patrick's Day t-shirt celebrating, Samuel O'Reilly, Irish Inventor who created the first electric tattoo machine. Who knew?!  In the future, I hope to highlight inventors from lots of different countries around the world. Go science!