Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Covering the debate over expanded use of dental therapists [news release]

Reminds me of my sister who is a pharmacist. She goes on yearly medical missions to Haiti. The folks working in the pharmacy at the clinic there have only a high school education. My sister is a stickler when it comes to pharmacy practice/licensing in the US. But very much in awe with her Haitian colleagues and what they know and are able to do.

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From the 10 March 2016 item at Covering Health:Monitoring the Pulse of Health Care Journalism

Excerpts

A recent news package in The Seattle Times by reporter Will Drabold took a look at how the controversy over dental therapists is unfolding in the state of Washington.

Drabold examined the challenges faced by poor Medicaid patients in seeking dental care. He spoke with health care advocates who believe that technically-trained mid-level providers could bring much-needed care to poor and isolated communities. He also interviewed tribal leader Brian Cladoosby, whose Swinomish tribe had just defied state restrictions to hire a dental therapist. And he spoke with state dental association officials, who made it clear that they – ­like the American Dental Association – believe dental therapists lack the training to perform these expanded duties.

Dental therapists, who often are compared to nurse practitioners, are trained to deliver a range of services including screenings, cleanings, preventive care, fillings and extractions. While the therapists do work under the supervision of dentists, dental groups often contend that dentists alone have the training to perform what they consider irreversible surgical procedures, such as drilling and extracting teeth.

In spite of resistance from organized dentistry, variations of the therapist model already are being used in Alaska’s tribal lands and in the state of Minnesota. Dental therapists have been approved in Maine and are being considered in a number of other states.

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March 11, 2016 Posted by | health care | , , , , | Leave a comment

[News article] Vapor from e-cigarettes triggers changes to cells in lab study

From the 27 January 2015 article at Covering Health – Monitoring the Pulse of Health Journalism by Mary Otto

https://i0.wp.com/healthjournalism.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/vaping.jpg

Photo: Jonny Williams via Flickr
This image is released under Creative Commons. If used, please attribute to http://www.ecigclick.co.uk

Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes are growing in popularity among American adults, and while some states restrict their use by minors, nearly 1.8 million American middle and high school students reported using them one recent year, a federal study found.


Manufacturers promote e-cigarettes as safer alternatives to conventional cigarettes and as tools for smoking cessation. Yet researchers point out that there is a dearth of scientific evidence regarding the effects of e-cigarette vapors on the lungs.

A laboratory study published in September suggests vapor from e-cigarettes may cause damage and raise the risk for respiratory infections among young people. In the lab, the vapor triggered a strong immune response in the epithelial cells of tissue samples donated by deceased children and the exposed cells appeared to be more vulnerable to infection by cold-causing rhinovirus, according to the research article, published in PLOS One. According to the study, even nicotine-free vapor increased the risk of infection.

HealthDay News reporter Dennis Thompson, who has been following the research on e-cigarette safety, took a look at the findings this month in a story posted on WebMD.

“Epithelial cells are the first line of defense in our airways,” the study’s lead author, Qun Wu, a lung disease researcher at National Jewish Health in Denver explains in Thompson’s article.

“They protect our bodies from anything dangerous we might inhale. Even without nicotine, this liquid can hurt your epithelial defense system and you will be more likely to get sick.”

Wu and his team placed the human cells in a sterile container in one end of a machine with an e-cigarette at the other end, Thompson notes. “The vapor spurred the release of IL-6, a signalling protein that promotes inflammation and an immune system response. This occurred whether or not the vapor contained nicotine, although nicotine appeared to slightly enhance the release of IL-6, the researchers said.”

An industry group representing e-cigarette manufacturers is stressing the limits of the study, pointing out that the tests involved cells in a lab, not actual e-cigarette users.

“Many in public health agree that the risks of vaping must always be considered in the context of the risks of cigarette smoking and traditional stop-smoking therapies,” Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association observes in Thompson’s article.

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January 28, 2015 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are Dentists Overtreating Your Teeth?

An NHS dentist performing an examination

An NHS dentist performing an examination (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the 28 November New York Times article

By TARA PARKER-POPE

Have you had a rash of fillings after years of healthy teeth? The culprit may be “microcavities,” and not every dentist thinks they need to be treated, reports today’s Science Times.

With increasingly sophisticated detection technology, dentists are finding — and treating — tooth abnormalities that may or may not develop into cavities. While some describe their efforts as a proactive strategy to protect patients from harm, critics say the procedures are unnecessary and painful, and are driving up the costs of care.

“A better approach is watchful waiting,” said Dr. James Bader, a research professor at the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry. “Examine it again in six months.”

To learn more about microcavities, read the full article, “A Closer Look at Teeth May Mean More Filling,” and then please join the discussion below.

Related Resources

  • Dental Health (MedlinePlus) has links to great resources with overviews and information on treatments, prevention/screening, specific conditions, and more
  • WebMD Oral Health includes news, resources, guides, and information on treatments

December 22, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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