We have all been there – banging on the end of the ketchup bottle, or desperately squeezing a shampoo bottle until your hand begins to cramp up – just to get the last bits out of the bottle. Seeing remnants of products around the sides and at the bottom of bottles really frustrates me – but luckily some brainiacs at MIT have developed a new super slippery coating for these bottles so that we can get out every last drop!
How does it work?
This technology, patented as ‘LiquiGlide’, is described as a ‘permanently wet, liquid-impregnated surface’. This means that the product inside the bottle will always be directly on top of a layer of liquid, this makes it really slippery – allowing the product to slip out of the bottle with ease. The liquid coating is held to the bottle by a porous solid and the water can cling to the gaps in the solid, you can this this in the diagram below.
You can see LiquiGlide in action here:
Perhaps one day all bottles will be coated with this- and the days of saying ‘stop, you’re not getting any more out of that, just open a new one!’ will be over! (Yes, that’s a direct quote from my Dad).
Today I learned that Chris Borland of the San Fran 49ers is retiring from the NFL at just 24 years of age, as he is concerned of the long term effects of the head injuries and concussions that are associated with the sport. Is this an over-reaction, or is Chris right? And if he is right, do we need to re-evaluate American Football as a whole over these safety concerns? I looked into this to see if there is any research to back-up Chris’ decision.
It is a fact that concussions are common in American Football, but did you know that 90% of all concussions don’t involve a knock-out? Which means these head injuries are even more common than we think.
Short term effects of football related head injuries are easier to measure. This was investigated in a cohort of college football players and revealed that the more head injuries a player had – the more changes there were in diffusivity in the white matter in several parts of the brain – which was also linked to poorer learning and memory scores.
There has been some research on the long term effects of these repeated concussions on the brain. A particular study measured changes to brain white matter upon helmet impact and if this change in white matter recovered. It was clear that there was no white matter recovery in time. This is a huge problem as white matter changes can build up upon further repeated head impacts. This would back up Chris’ decision as it shows that the sport has a long term detrimental effect on the brain, but the full extent of these long-term effects are yet to be fully researched – this is a big issue, not just in American football but in all other contact sports.
So is this research a game changer? (Pardon the pun..) Maybe to stop more young NFL athletes leaving the game so soon, and to protect those who continue to play we should change the game rules to make it safer? I get that this is a pretty wild idea given the scale and popularity of the sport, but we could perhaps make things safer by fully enforcing rules against rougher play. This idea was suggested by the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine who said that ‘fair play’ and proper rule enforcement could prevent these head injuries to an extent. They also suggested that designing helmets specifically to reduce the incidence and severity of concussions could help prevent these injuries, as current helmets are designed more with the prevention of impact injuries such as lacerations and fractures in mind.
I’m not sure I could give up a salary that good based on the research that has currently been done. There is a lot of support for his decision, but I feel like there is still a gap in the understanding of the long term effects of this sport. Chris is reported to be taking part in further research in this field, which is great news, we could do with more research on real people to inform and protect more players in the future.
The internet is full of people claiming that raspberry ketones have helped them to lose weight. On Instagram alone #raspberryketones has been tagged nearly 27,000 times. All this fuss surely can’t be based on nothing? I looked into the real evidence to see if the claims behind raspberry ketones live up to the hype.
How they work:
Raspberry ketones are the main aromatic compound present in raspberries
They are thought to cause weight loss by lipid metabolism and lipolysis (essentially – burning fat). They are also thought to increase weight loss by elevating the levels of adiponectin- which is a hormone that increases fatty acid breakdown.
What makes me sceptical about the claims of raspberry ketones is that the evidence is very limited. There are no human clinical trials providing back up for the thousands of anecdotal claims on the internet, and part of me thinks that some of the success reports are from people promoting the sale of these somewhat pricey supplements.
However, there are some interesting animal model studies that have shown raspberry ketones to increase lipolysis and alter lipid metabolism. The rodents in the studies that were fed raspberry ketones stored less fat and lost weight. This shows promise for its use in humans for weight loss, but a controlled trial on humans needs to be done to see the full effects this would have on people, particularly to see if the supplements work better than actual raspberries and if they have an effect only if combined with a particular diet.
Because there are no studies in humans, this means there isn’t much safety data. I can’t imagine them being dangerous because they are a natural substance, but like any supplement they can be addictive. I think everybody that decides to take raspberry ketones should do so with caution because nobody knows the correct dosage for safe long term use.
I think there really isn’t enough evidence for the claims that raspberry ketones make. Sure, eat some raspberries, that’s always a good shout, but there isn’t enough scientific backup for me to part with my cash for these supplements. As much as I would love to believe all the success stories on the internet, I think a lot of it is a big placebo effect and I’m afraid it could be just another fad!
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!