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Plasma Device Kills Bacteria On Skin In Seconds

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the it's-a-dry-cold dept.

Medicine 237

Ponca City, We love you writes "In medicine, plasma, the fourth state of matter, is already used for sterilizing surgical instruments; plasma works at the atomic level and is able to reach all surfaces, even the interior of hollow needle ends. Now the BBC reports that researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics have demonstrated a plasma device that can rid hands, feet, or even underarms of bacteria, including the hospital superbug MRSA, by creating cold atmospheric plasma that produces a cocktail of chemicals that kills bacteria but is harmless to skin. 'The plasma produces a series of over 200 chemical reactions that involve the oxygen and nitrogen in air plus water vapor — there is a whole concoction of chemical species that can be lethal to bacteria,' says Gregor Morfill. 'It's actually similar to what our own immune system does.' The team says that an exposure to the plasma of only about 12 seconds reduces the incidence of bacteria, viruses, and fungi on hands by a factor of a million — a number that stands in sharp contrast to the several minutes hospital staff can take to wash using traditional soap and water. Morfill says that the approach can be used to kill the bacteria that lead to everything from gum disease to body odor and that the prototype is scalable to any size and can be produced in any shape."

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237 comments

Okay, I know this is off-topic... (2, Interesting)

garg0yle (208225) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247488)

But I find it interesting that according to ancient alchemy there were four "elements" (fire, water, earth, and air), and according to modern science there are four "states of matter" (plasma, liquid, solid, and gaseous).

Re:Okay, I know this is off-topic... (-1, Offtopic)

garg0yle (208225) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247658)

I already admitted it was likely off-topic, flagging it as such is disingenuous at best. But, hey, if you'd rather just flag crap than open a discussion about how maybe ancient tech wasn't quite as off-the-ball as we think, feel free!

Re:Okay, I know this is insightful... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30247696)

But STFU

Re:Okay, I know this is off-topic... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30247820)

I already admitted it was likely off-topic, flagging it as such is disingenuous at best. But, hey, if you'd rather just flag crap than open a discussion about how maybe ancient tech wasn't quite as off-the-ball as we think, feel free!

That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. "I've already said that I'm off-topic, so that means you aren't allowed to mod me off-topic!" You might as well make a post calling people fags and niggers and preface it with, "Ok, I know this is trolling, but...". Just don't be surprised when you get modded troll.

Re:Okay, I know this is off-topic... (5, Funny)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247736)

That's just coincidental. Besides there were FIVE elements; Fire, water, earth, air and orange haired Ukrainian chick.

Re:Okay, I know this is off-topic... (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247814)

No, the fifth element was gold, not Gauldi.

Re:Okay, I know this is off-topic... (4, Informative)

BarryJacobsen (526926) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247834)

That's just coincidental. Besides there were FIVE elements; Fire, water, earth, air and orange haired Ukrainian chick.

Everyone knows that the fifth element is Heart and is represented by a South American with a monkey. Source [wikipedia.org]

Re:Okay, I know this is off-topic... (1)

ironicsky (569792) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247852)

Man, was she hot in that movie... *wont be standing up for at least 90 seconds*

Re:Okay, I know this is off-topic... (4, Funny)

MadUndergrad (950779) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248040)

Ninety seconds? Look at who thinks he's a bigshot, Mr. "I'm not a minute-man anymore". Now to click "post anonymously" to protect myself from embarrassment.

Re:Okay, I know this is off-topic... (0)

DarrenBaker (322210) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247888)

Um, guys? The Fifth Element was LOVE? HELLOOOOOO?

Nerds... Jeez.

Re:Okay, I know this is off-topic... (2, Funny)

SteveFoerster (136027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248142)

Um, guys? The Fifth Element was LOVE? HELLOOOOOO?

What, and you don't consider "Milla Jovovich" and "love" to be interchangeable?

Re:Okay, I know this is off-topic... (1)

jbezorg (1263978) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248148)

All I care about are the stones...

Re:Okay, I know this is off-topic... (1)

Eudial (590661) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247788)

They do actually correspond pretty well, but that is only when you ignore the states of matter that occur at very low temperatures (superfluids, superconductors, Bose-Einstein condensates) and at very high temperatures (quark-gluon plasma).

7 letters (0, Offtopic)

LanMan04 (790429) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247812)

Lincoln and Kennedy both had 7 letters in their last names. Both were assassinated.

Coincidence? I THINK NOT!

Re:Okay, I know this is off-topic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30247854)

Traditionally there are only 3 states of matter. If you want to get more contemporary, there are actually 5 states of matter (plasma, gas, liquid, solid, bose-einstein condensate). If you want to get more technical there are a number of others (superfluids, degenerate, etc) that we could consider as well.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_of_matter

FYI. Sometimes a coincidence is just a coincidence.

Re:Okay, I know this is off-topic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248068)

And other times coincidence is ignorance.

Re:Okay, I know this is off-topic... (2, Interesting)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247952)

Actually, there were 5 elements according to Aristole: Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Aether. The fifth element only appears in the spheres beyond Earth. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristotle#The_five_elements [wikipedia.org] . Post Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo, when it became apparent that objects in space were likely made of the same substances as other elements Aether was dropped. This didn't last long, since the classical elemental theory was already in decline. Robert Boyle's work in The Sceptical Chymist published in 1661 effectively ended the idea of the then four element theory. So four elements was really only an idea with widespread appeal to scientists and thinkers for about 50 years.

On-Topic: Who is Gregor Morfill? (1)

reporter (666905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248018)

The person who lead the research in using plasma to disinfect the human body is Gregor Morfill. Who is Gregor Morfill?

The Max Planck Institute has a Web page [www.mpg.de] that tells us who he is. Below is a quote from his resume.

"Born on July 23, 1945 in Oberhausen. Study of physics, doctorate Imperial College of Science and Technology (1971), German Habilitation in physics Heidelberg Univ. (1977), Director and Scientific Member at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (since 1984)."

Below is a list of his awards.

Patten Prize of Indiana University
Science Award of the Donors' Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Humanites in Germany
Honorary Professor Univ. of Arizona, Tucson
Honorary Doctor Technical Univ. Berlin
Honorary Professor Univ. of Leeds, England
Foreign Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Dr. Morfill must be a brilliant scholar as the Russian Academy of Sciences rarely grants membership to scientists who are not Russian citizens.

Here is an interesting question. Why have Germans (like Dr. Morfill) accomplished so much in science and technology? Does culture, genetics, or a combination (of both) explain their scientific prowess? Note that Albert Einstein is a German (with a Jewish heritage).

Excessive cleanliness (4, Insightful)

the_one(2) (1117139) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247506)

Do you remember the article on /. about how excessive cleanliness isn't all that good for you? Yeah...

Re:Excessive cleanliness (4, Funny)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247554)

would that be next to excessive godliness? that doesn't sound too good either. I dated a girl in high school that had excessive godliness

Re:Excessive cleanliness (5, Funny)

Nathrael (1251426) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247896)

I dated a girl in high school that had excessive godliness

Considering you are posting on Slashdot...was her surname .png?

Re:Excessive cleanliness (0)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247980)

Ha! That was a good one. No, really. You should write sitcoms for Fox.

Besides, this was 15 years ago, it was still just JPGs.

Re:Excessive cleanliness (4, Insightful)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247558)

Don't know about you kid, but a doc sticking his hand into my insides is one of those situations where I'm willing to forego the 'benefit' of having my immune system stimulated by germs being introduced in the process and ask him to wash up.

gloves (0)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247772)

Don't know about you kid, but a doc sticking his hand into my insides is one of those situations where I'm willing to forego the 'benefit' of having my immune system stimulated by germs being introduced in the process and ask him to wash up.

A surgeon sticking his hand into your insides is wearing a sterile-packaged glove.

The OP has a valid concern- both because skin has bacteria on it normally which is beneficial, and because our immune systems needs exposure to baddies to keep working properly.

Fun related fact: infection control became MORE of a problem when gloves were introduced. Something about the doctor or nurse or surgeon really wanting to be clean after getting your bodily fluids all over their hands.

Re:gloves (1)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247870)

Or infection control was acknowledged as a more serious problem causing secondary infections due to more thorough analysis in the past century, accompanied by numerous other medical advances.

Or to put it differently;

Fun related fact: infection control became MORE of a problem when cars became common. Something about the emissions and blah blah blah.

Re:Excessive cleanliness (1)

cashX3r0 (1588469) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247596)

Now the BBC reports that researchers ... have demonstrated a plasma device that can rid hands, feet, or even underarms of bacteria ... but is harmless to skin.

i dont mind a little extra cleansing if i can use this on my chode.

Re:Excessive cleanliness (1)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247716)

hey hey hey, check out my new plasma balls!

Re:Excessive cleanliness (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247650)

Do you remember that not everything applies to every situation? Because it doesn't.

The article about excessive cleanliness was relating to raising children. Basically, our immune systems are like most things in us in that they need to be used to develop. As such children need to get sick to have a well functioning immune system as adults. You don't want to keep them in a sterile environment or they'll never develop defenses.

However this is for hospitals. There you do want things as clean as possible. You have people who are in weakened states, their ability to fight off disease is less than normal. Also, you are bypassing a lot of their defenses in many cases. Your body is much more difficult to infect via the nose and mouth than directly via an open incision in your chest. As such, maximal clean is desirable.

This is not an all or nothing thing. Being super clean is not always good or always bad, it depends on the situation. You wouldn't want to buy this for home and turn your house in to a sterile cleanroom from which you never let your kid out. They'd have no immune system and be very vulnerable in the world. However you do want this for hospitals to ensure that wounded and sick people aren't made further sick by an infection that they can't fight in a weakened state.

Re:Excessive cleanliness (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247860)

Exactly. I can remember the explanation, that our whole skin in 100% covered is a layer of bacteria. And that those good bacteria prevent the settling of bad bacterial. Which is an important part of what keeps us healthy.

It’s the same thing as in the stomach. No bacteria, no digestion! I once had a bad settlement of a very dominating helicobacter. Man, you’re fucked, if something bad comes along. That little shithead (not even an insult in this case ^^) not only wrecked my whole digestion, but created a massive amount of heartburn (is that the proper English word?) and loads of pain, which was so bad, that it ran into my lungs, and caused me to wake up at night with the inability to breathe, because of the acid in my bronchial tube! I had to breathe veeery calm and slowly, while I was literally already suffocating to begin with. (That’s why I woke up.) I thought I’d die!
It even wrecked my mood because of sleep deprivation, the pain, and because it’s known to tweak your mood.

I don’t know what can happen to your skin, if you wreck your protective perimeter, but I bet it’s something pretty nasty like putrescent moldy skin and rashes, or something like that. Yeah, very “clean”. ^^

Re:Excessive cleanliness (2, Informative)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248036)

These are not being suggested for in-home or preschool whole body sanitizing. They're suggested for doctors or nurses working on people with infectious diseases and potentially compromised immune systems. The problem of excessive clenliness isn't caused by washing up, it's caused by obsessively slathering your child in sanitizing gel whenever he might have (god forbid) touched something.

Re:Excessive cleanliness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248116)

I was told that ultrapure water that is de-mineralied, de-ionized, etc is not good for humans.
They were telling me that the purified water was being used to cool down elctronics since it
provided a low ohmic resistance which improved the heat condution of the water. However,they had
a person tap into the pipe that circulated the water and feed it to an automatic coffee machine.
When they found out about it, they asked if anyone in the room was haviing the shits. One person
said they were affected. Thus, they knew who tapped the pipe. They then told them that purified
or ultra-purified water is not good for humans since it makes you sick.

I wonder if the same situation occurs for anyone trying to use purfied water or heavy water from
atomic reactors? Would that water also affect humans regardless if it was or was not sent through
the reactor and absorbed some radiation, but not mixed with radioactive substances?
If so, then if humans go to the outer galaxies, find water and not knowing what organisms exist
in the water, they radiate it or ultra purify it and in the end get sick because it is to pure.
Thus, one would have to carry minerals or gator aid to make it drinkable by humans. Moreover,
instead of dragging along minerals from earth, that one only takes the good bacteria along which
can reproduce and generate the minerals humans need as by-products which are then added to the
water to allow humans to drink it. The other possibility is we drink the pure water and then
swallow a liquid/solid pill that contains the minerals we need from the bacteria mineral machine
and let our stomachs mix the two together. The third possiblity, is to genetically modify the
bood bacteria to produce the minerals we need, and then we swallow them before takeoff.
They would live in the humans stomachs so that when one drinks pure water, the bacteria is already
reproducing inside of us to create the minerals to be mixed with the pure water. Thus, no bacteria
mineral machine is needed to be carried to outer space - it is inside of us.

Resistance? (2, Insightful)

Dwedit (232252) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247508)

So how long until we see bacteria resistant to this device?

Re:Resistance? (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247604)

Never. There is a difference between removing the easy bugs, and complete annihilation of all bacteria it come into contact with. Its like saying the if we had enough super novas humans would become resistant to them.

Resistance is Useless (1)

sanman2 (928866) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247660)

Resistance is useless - we will make your sun go nova...

Re:Resistance? (1)

cashX3r0 (1588469) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247690)

well, if you took only a small dose of a super nova, a lil bit every day...maybe then...

Re:Resistance? (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247694)

Actually, evolution is pretty clever. If it doesn't eradicate human skin (maybe just reduces the dead layer a bit?), then bacterias can survive too.

A more apt analogy would be to say that out of all the intelligent species in the universe, there is bound to be some that know how to evade or cope with a supernovae.

Re:Resistance? (2, Interesting)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248106)

It will denature any protein at all. It doesn't harm the surface of your skin only because that is already composed of dead cells. Bacteria are about as likely to evolve resistance to fire or concentrated nitric acid.

Re:Resistance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248052)

I think you are underestimating the adaptibility of bacteria and life in general. Yes, this almost certainly will eradicate all bacteria today found on human skin. My expectation is that some radically different bacteria (or something else entirely) would eventually take its place. If your skin itself is immune, a bacteria or fungus that discovers a way to exploit that immunity will benefit from any bacteria-fungi eliminating plasma.

Note to scientists...there are ALWAYS consequences. We cannot anticipate all of them, but you should make your best effort to ensure that you will ultimately do more good than harm when commercializing. We will not always get it right, but if we don't try, we WILL inflict great misery upon ourselves. Be responsible. A little research into consequences will pay far more dividends in the long run.

Re:Resistance? (5, Informative)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247642)

In order to grow resistance, you have to leave a few alive and they have to have been left alive due in some part to something in their makeup causing them to be less vulnerable to the 'weapon'.

In other words, something that lived only because it was never touched isn't going to evolve into the superbug.

This eradicates the germs, they aren't being poisoned or having their chemical processes blocked (which is what most antibiotics do), it's ripping the germs apart at the atomic level. You don't develop a resistance to that.

Re:Resistance? (3, Informative)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247840)

In order to grow resistance, you have to leave a few alive and they have to have been left alive due in some part to something in their makeup causing them to be less vulnerable to the 'weapon'.

In other words, something that lived only because it was never touched isn't going to evolve into the superbug.

Your first sentence is true, the second is false. Position _can_ be a genetic advantage. "Something that lived only because it was never touched" happens all the time in biology, where the positional behaviour can be driven by genetics.

Birds avoid high altitude, herds don't generally jump off cliffs, etc. The same happens on a more primitive level, too. People think about genetics and think it's like a human arms race or something, but all natural selection needs is surviving members of a species and it will encode _whatever_ information made them survive. Please remember, we're not talking about single instances of plasma sterilization processes, but basically waiting for a mutation to come along that happens to encode the information which in turn makes a significant contribution to the survival of the bacteria. It might not happen often, but if it happens a few times, then that strain will spread.

Re:Resistance? (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248122)

If all the harmful bacteria evolves to avoid the human body then the problem is solved!

biological parallel to "with a big enough hammer" (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247858)

This eradicates the germs, they aren't being poisoned or having their chemical processes blocked (which is what most antibiotics do), it's ripping the germs apart at the atomic level. You don't develop a resistance to that.

I'm sure similar thoughts were said about radiation, bleach, alcohol, and autoclaves. Turns out there are various critters resistant or immune to each.

However, if this manages to blow away prions (which aren't zapped by a number of things, including normal autoclaves), it'll be great news.

Re:biological parallel to "with a big enough hamme (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248132)

I'm sure similar thoughts were said about radiation, bleach, alcohol, and autoclaves. Turns out there are various critters resistant or immune to each.

None of which are harmful to us. They had to become so different in order to survive those things that our bodies no longer make a good habitat for them.

Re:Resistance? (1)

DarrenBaker (322210) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247928)

Hence why the alcohol hand washes don't create superbugs either - it just kills them wholesale, and developing an immunity to it is highly unlikely.

Now, if they could just do something like this that would kill viruses. We all know someone using Purel like it's going out of fashion because they think it's protecting them against H1N1... What if we actually had something that could (aside from hand-washing, of course)?

Re:Resistance? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247956)

I wonder why nobody came up with the idea of selling proper bacterial cultures to apply to the skin after killing everything there. or to eat after antibiotics. That would be a gigantic business!!

Perhaps because it already exists, and is called yogurt (with living cultures), or a proper and fresh sour-dough starter culture (as opposed to the cultures/starters that have gone bad for years, but still are used by bakeries). :)

But hmm... if I just search around for really nice starter cultures, and let a microbiologist check them for the proper combination.
That could heal many diseases caused by the inability to get rid of bad cultures. (E.g. because every time you apply antibiotics, the bad ones get there first.)

Also: Why use such a high-tech device, wen you can just apply a iodine solution to your skin? Kills everything. bacterial, viruses, funguses, parasites. Of course you can never put it in your mouth or something, because it can just as well kill you (or at least make you very sick). But for the skin, what reasons are there not to use it?

Re:Resistance? (2, Informative)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247926)

So how long until we see bacteria resistant to this device?

      About 20 years after we see bacteria resistant to current gamma ray and UV sterilization techniques. Don't hold your breath. Sterilize means no bacteria or spores survive. Do you think they chose 12 seconds "at random" or because "it sounds cool"? No, 12 seconds is the time (with a probably safety margin built in) at which cultures have shown repeatedly that all bacteria are dead.

Re:Resistance? (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248160)

You can't become resistant to some things. An example would be, if you burned people to a degree that 90% of them died, and kept breeding the survivors, you would still not be able to breed a human that was fire resistant.

"chemical species" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30247514)

Good one.

sweet (2, Funny)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247524)

I want a plasma bathtub

Re:sweet (1)

garg0yle (208225) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247588)

For some reason I read that as plasma hot tub.

The mind boggles.

Re:sweet (3, Insightful)

weav (158099) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247698)

A plasma bathtub would be good but what *I* really want is a plasma TOOTHBRUSH...

Re:sweet (1)

DarrenBaker (322210) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247938)

I want plasma bog roll.

Alas... (1)

mim (535591) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247526)

...bacteria, I knew thee well...

Re:Alas... (1)

rhino777 (96243) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247712)

that's what _she_ said.....

Re:Alas... (1)

mim (535591) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247770)

while she was swallowing your...., um, beverage...yeah...

Kick-ass for hospitals (2, Interesting)

Aggrajag (716041) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247538)

As a nurse I would welcome this as I have to wash and disinfect my hands several times a day.

Re:Kick-ass for hospitals (2, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247620)

Wouldn't you still need to wash hands to remove the larger bit of stuff stuck to your hands? Bacteria is the primary reason why you need to wash your hands all the time, but not the only one.

Re:Kick-ass for hospitals (2, Informative)

jpmorgan (517966) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247972)

Removing bulk material is comparatively easy, when needed. Washing to decontaminate, as is required frequently in hospitals, is a much more arduous task.

as a nurse, you should know better (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247794)

As a nurse I would welcome this as I have to wash and disinfect my hands several times a day.

As a nurse, I'd hope you would remember the same lecture on hand-washing I got when I started working for a hospital. Namely, that your nails are equally if not more important. What does this do for dirt under nails? Uh huh.

Re:as a nurse, you should know better (2)

RemyBR (1158435) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248090)

If it can clean the hollow tip of a needle, I'd think that dirt under your nails wouldn't be a problem. One of the posters above is right though, this is not going to eliminate the need to wash your hands to remove the "bulk" dirt.

Re:as a nurse, you should know better (2)

Aggrajag (716041) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248104)

This would mean using less disinfectant, the alcohol dries my hands.

Re:Kick-ass for hospitals (0, Flamebait)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247876)

I doubt the hospital is going to spring for an x million dollar machine at every nurse's station just so that most nurses can pretend to use it, like most of them pretend to wash their hands nowadays. Don't throw out the soap just yet.

Re:Kick-ass for hospitals (1)

Aggrajag (716041) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248118)

I seriously doubt that nurse over where ever you live "pretend" to wash their hands. Proper hand hygiene is among the first things nurses learn at least in my country it is.

Re:Kick-ass for hospitals (1)

rev_sanchez (691443) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247958)

I'd like to think that before I die the idea of shooting one's self in the ass and/or groin with plasma after using the restroom is not only common but encouraged in the interest of cleanliness and good manners.

Gets rid of body odor? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247544)

When does it come in gift size?

Re:Gets rid of body odor? (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247668)

They're expensive; don't give them away. Just holster one on your belt and blast any smelly coworkers with your plasma gun.

technology is great.... (1)

Ingcuervo (1349561) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247560)

some used to say that plasma TV were awesome, now wait for the plasma shower!!!!! bravia of course will charge twice as everyother else.

Pizza Analogy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30247568)

It's like if someone made an inappropriate pizza analogy and got horribly meme-ed.

Good bacteria? (2, Insightful)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247580)

I thought a lot of the bacteria in and on humans were good ones, which are required to be fit and healthy and function properly. What happens to those?

Re:Good bacteria? (5, Funny)

Cedric Tsui (890887) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247600)

The same thing that happens to them when you wash with antibacterial soap.

Re:Good bacteria? (3, Informative)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247842)

The same thing that happens to them when you wash with antibacterial soap.

      One of the most overrated products in the world. Everyone thinks they're getting "anti-bacterial" protection.

      If you want "clean hands" while washing with antibacterial soap, make sure you do like we surgeons and wash each hand for 15 minutes. Even then you'll have critters living in your sweat glands... but your bacterial count will be very very low. For the regular "less time than it takes to sing the the birthday song" hand washing, anti-bacterial soap offers virtually no advantage over regular soap.

      Now hands up who spends 30 mins washing their hands every time they touch something.

Re:Good bacteria? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30247714)

RTFS, this isn't something you're using to wash your hands off after you take a shit. It wouldn't even help with that anyway, as afaik you'd still have shit on your hands, just, the bacteria would be dead.

Re:Good bacteria? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30247904)

if it was deep shit would plasma still kill ALL the germs?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Re:Good bacteria? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248012)

I use toilet paper...

Re:Good bacteria? (1)

deprecated (86120) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247864)

They die.

Re:Good bacteria? (1)

RJFerret (1279530) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247924)

More importantly, how to replenish your good bacteria?

The same problem exists with antibacterial soap, after using it and making yourself more vulnerable to harmful bacteria, how do you replace the good defensive bacteria you had in the first place that keeps you healthy? (Since you've just created an environment ripe for harmful bacteria to flourish.)

Obviously this new process also affects viruses and fungi, although it makes no mention of any impact to fungal spores in TFA.

Re:Good bacteria? (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247978)

Plasma knows neither good nor evil, it kills them all the same. Further, these plasmas probably destroy a good deal of the oils in your skin as well. Which probably means that if you sterilized your hands too much using non-equilibrium plasma you are more likely to have dry, rough skin.

Mechanism (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247582)

plasma works at the atomic level

Whereas an autoclave, which sterilizes using heat, only works on the proton, quark, and meringue pie levels?

Re:Mechanism (1)

Stewie241 (1035724) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247996)

No, but wouldn't regular anti-bacterial soap work on the molecular level?

If you could get all health-care workers to regularly put their hands in an autoclave, then maybe that would be a better solution.

Babylon 5 showed something like ths (3, Interesting)

Painted (1343347) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247598)

There was a scene on Babylon 5 where Sheridan and Garibaldi are killing time in a public restroom waiting for someone to leave (yeah, a Sci-Fi show that admits people go to the bathroom!), and Sheridan is shown "washing" his hands under what appears to be a disinfecting device...

Funny how you can often find references in fiction to things that later become reality...

Surface only, though? (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247626)

Washing hands is partly about physical scrubbing, which loosens things on the surface. How is this plasma going to replace that?

Re:Surface only, though? (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247732)

If it's germ free and not large enough to be visible, does it matter?

Re:Surface only, though? (4, Interesting)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247810)

If it's germ free and not large enough to be visible, does it matter?

      It does if you're a surgeon. There's something called the foreign body response [wikipedia.org] , and we've seen it happen even with particles of the STERILE talc they line some surgical gloves with to make them easier to put on. Problems aren't only caused by bacteria. Depending on the person's immune response, virtually anything can cause a life-threatening reaction to normally "inert" things like nylon suture or titanium rods/sutures. Things like dirt and human hair are more likely to provoke a reaction.

Re:Surface only, though? (1)

adonoman (624929) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248034)

Yeah, I never wash my hands after spilling bleach on them.. It's germ free, and just a quick wipe with a paper towel and it's not visible anymore. Off to lunch I go...

Of course... (1)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247654)

The big question is, how soon can we turn this into some sort of weapon?

Re:Of course... (2, Insightful)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247748)

It wont. There are way more effective ways if using the same amount of energy on a weapon.

Re:Of course... (1)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247756)

The big question is, how soon can we turn this into some sort of weapon?

The device does look like an oven...

You know who else loved ovens?

I'll bite (3, Funny)

xigxag (167441) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247844)

Rachael Ray [freakingnews.com] ?

Re:I'll bite (1)

locallyunscene (1000523) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247934)

Rachael Ray [freakingnews.com] ?

So you're proposing we call the weaponized form of this device a Rachael Ray? ;-)

Re:Of course... (1)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247880)

and the winner for "Most Subtle Godwining of the Week" goes to...

Re:Of course... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248002)

Holly Hobbie!

So, what did I win?!

a true "wtf" (1, Interesting)

cinnamon colbert (732724) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247722)

this belongs on the science equivalent of www.thedailywtf.com
plasma = uncontrolled mix of highly reactive chemicals
highly reactive chemicals = damage to skin at some level
thus we have that old item, the therapeutic index roughy ratio of harm to good
however,
highly reactive chemcials = bugs getting resistant
how ? learning to live deeper in the skin (bad for you)
learning to make enzymes that deto the highly reactive chemicals (radical quenchers like SOD)
learning to elaborte low molecular weight or high molecular weight (biofilm) molecules that sop up the highly reactive chemicals, so it takes a much higher conc of plasma

PS: MRSA is actually a :"feeble" bug - we know this because there have been many, very carefull studies that compare patients with MRSA to patients with MSSA (methicillin sensitive S Aureus)
The finding is that petients who get MRSA infections are sicker then patients who get MSSA infections.
To my mind, this means that the genetic changes that make S aureus resistant also make the bug less healthy in general, so it has a difficult time getting established in th blood or in the joints or urinary tract.
And this is consistant with what is known (alot) about the gene mecA and how it acts.

also, there are new antibiotics approved in canada and switzerland that are active against mrsa - ceftobiprole

Is harmless to skin? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247774)

So was phenol, for that matter. If it kills bacteria in 12 seconds, it's "not nice stuff". Oh yeah maybe the keratin on your skin will prevent it from penetrating. What if it gets in your sweat glands. What if your skin has a lesion, and the keratin is interrupted...

This one gets filed in the "call me when we've been using it safely for 20 years" category. Until then I will stick to soap and water.

Re:Is harmless to skin? (1)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247916)

What if your skin has a lesion, and the keratin is interrupted...

then your hands melt

What? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247780)

Plasma Device Kills ... Skin In Seconds

Sorry, but I always read it as this. And TFS is just a big bunch of white noise after this...

Amorphous wanst the 4th state of matter ? (0)

ciganito (1682168) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247966)

I am not sure, but I always thought as "amorphous" was the 4th state of the matter. Despite I don't have an academic/scientific paper on hand to solidify this, it's at least something to look at. Amorphous matherials, window glass (as an example) are not exactly solid... Anyways... worst than science only religion.

Old news! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248006)

Enterprise crew were removing bacteria, skin, and everything else in seconds with plasma (phasers) in 1966!

Sonic Showers anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248020)

Oh yes, I went there.

I predict a new gizmo to treat acne (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248044)

zap that zit away

Plama device (1)

brianc (11901) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248108)

BBC reports that researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics have demonstrated a plasma device that can rid hands, feet, or even underarms of bacteria, including the hospital superbug MRSA

Don't taz me Bro!!!

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