what's the buzz .

what's the buzz .

Home dishclothes harbour stomach bugs

A survey has found that nine in ten home dishclothes harbour dangerous levels of stomach bugs.

Research by environmental health officers suggests that people are more at risk of catching food poisoning from their own cleaning clothes than when they eat out.
The Health Protection Agency checked restaurant dishclothes last year and found 56 per cent of them held food poisoning bugs, including E coli and listeria.

When the Chartered Institute of Environment Health tested 100 home dishclothes this year the level of unhealthy bacteria was even higher. Its report suggests more emphasis be put on tackling food poisoning in the home. It advises dishclothes be washed regularly and not left lying on the sink.

Writing assignments boost critical thinking skills

A new study has found that writing assignments boost critical thinking skills in students. Ann Marie VanDerZanden, a Iowa State University professor designed a curriculum that integrates reflective writing into a landscape design course and discovered that students’ quiz scores increased significantly after they completed the writing exercises.

“Providing opportunities for students to develop these skills is an essential part of their undergraduate education,” said VanDerZanden.

“Research suggests that reflective writing can be an effective teaching method in agriculture-related fields,” he said.

In the study, VanDerZanden evaluated the effectiveness of using reflective writing assignments in her Beginning Garden Composition class, a two-credit course at Iowa State that covers the basics of landscape design.

VanDerZanden noted that the use of reflective writing assignments can be incorporated into any technical course.

Mucus’ role in penetration of toxins into our cells

A study has found that mucus may play an active role in the penetration of hydrophobic substances, including toxins and carcinogens, into our cells.

The finding was revealed by Dr Michael Gozin of Tel Aviv University’s School of Chemistry at the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Faculty of Exact Sciences and Dr Dan Peer of TAU’s Laboratory of Nanomedicine in the department of cell research and immunology.

The thick substance lining those internal bodily organs that come into contact with the outer environment, such as the respiratory system, the digestive system, and the female reproductive system.

But encouragingly, the researchers believe that their discovery will one day prove useful in enabling non-water-soluble drugs to enter cells and treat diseases such as cancer.

Some of these dangerous substances, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, are present in petroleum products and also formed through the partial combustion of fossil fuels that are used to operate power stations, planes, cars, space heaters, and stoves.

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