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Louse Bustin’

November 20, 2006

Lice are unlikely to evolve resistence to a new technology for exterminating them.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
Killing lice with air. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

[Sound of LouseBuster]

HIRSHON:
This is a preview of what you’ll hear if you’re ever treated with the LouseBuster, a new device that kills head lice by drying them out with air. Its inventor Dale Clayton is an evolutionary biologist at the University of Utah. He says one of the major problems with available shampoo treatments is that lice quickly evolve resistance to the chemicals.

DALE CLAYTON (University of Utah):
But how would you evolve the ability to, you know, greatly reduce the need for water? That would be very complicated. And I’ve talked to a lot of my insect physiologist colleagues and they basically say, ‘no way.’

HIRSHON:
Sadly, simply using a hairdryer doesn’t work, and the LouseBuster isn’t yet available. So for now, nit combs and special shampoos are the only effective solution. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.