Since the year 2000, our lab has been involved in the development of a safe, effective, non-chemical treatment for head lice, Pediculus humanus. These pesky critters are a serious concern of parents and teachers alike. One in four K-6 kids in the United States gets head lice at some point, leading to missed school and work by parents who must stay home trying to deal with the problem. Head lice have become far more common in recent years because they have evolved resistance to many of the popular head lice shampoos. And the problem continues to grow exponentially.
In 2004, with funding from the Utah Centers of Excellence program, we established the Center for Alternate Strategies of Parasite Removal (CASPeR). The sole purpose of the center was to develop a device capable of controlling head lice with carefully controlled and directed warm air. This machine, which we named the LouseBuster, has proven to be a major success. It is currently being marketed by Larada Sciences Inc., a University of Utah spinoff company based in Salt Lake City.
In 2006 we published the results of our research in the journal Pediatrics. The article and accompanying news release sparked enormous interest from the international news media. It had the second highest level of coverage of any news release issued by the University of Utah during the year 2006:
Further details of the media coverage.