Your Mouth Is Connected to Your Heart and Your Brain and the Rest of You…
Posted on Monday, September 29th, 2008
Some articles that ran while we were on our blog holiday that we want to be sure you didn’t miss:
New Data on Dental Health & Heart Disease (Wellness Resources)
The clear links between dental health and heart disease just got a lot stronger, which may now be a motivational factor for many people to improve oral hygiene. People with bleeding gums allow entry of up to 700 different types of bacteria directly into their circulation, increasing the risk for a heart attack. The new research was presented by several groups at the Society for General Microbiology’s autumn meeting being held at Trinity College, Dublin.
Osteoporosis-Treating Bisphosphonates Linked to Jawbone Damage (LA Times)
Bisphosphonates, marketed as Actonel, Actonel+Ca, Aredia, Boniva, Didronel, Fosamax, Fosamax Plus D, Reclast, Skelid and Zometa, are meant to increase bone density in the short run by reducing the bone-loss part of the bone life cycle. But some scientists think the drugs may eventually hurt the jaw’s ability to heal after, say, a tooth extraction or a dental implant.
The estimates on the number of people who might experience the jaw problem range from 1 in 2,000 to as many as 1 in 300 people who take the drugs for osteoporosis.
Denture Cream Tied to Neurological Problems (NewsInferno)
Using large amounts of denture cream could lead to serious neurological problems, researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas report. People with ill-fitting dentures are being advised to seek professional help, in order to avoid using excess denture cream.
In an article that appeared in the August issue of Neurology, the University of Texas research team reported on four patients who used excessive amounts of denture cream on a daily basis. The article noted that one tube of denture cream should last 3 to 10 weeks, but patients in the report were all using at least two tubes a week. Three had also lost their teeth at a relatively young age, meaning they had been used “extremely large amounts of denture adhesive daily for years.”
USC School of Dentistry Teaches Hypnosis as an Alternative to Novocaine (Medical News Today)
What if it were possible to undergo a root canal filling or tooth extraction without feeling the pinch of a needle or the after affects of general anesthesia? Hypnosis could uncover a new world for patients seeking dental care….
[Professor Peter] Stone says, “Dentists by nature, we don’t like to hurt people-we’re trained to bring them relief from pain. When a patient is relaxed and they are calm, the procedure goes more smoothly and more quickly.” Therefore, it seems, hypnosis could be a win-win for both patient and dentist. It’s a less-expensive alternative to general or conscious sedation-which can cost hundreds of dollars. “In the average patient, we can teach them to relax and control their fears 90 percent of the time-in a small group of patients hypnosis allows them to control pain, bleeding or salivation during a procedure or speed up recovery time,” Stone says.
Acupuncture Beats Drug to Treat Hot Flashes (Reuters)
Acupuncture was just as effective as Effexor, also called venlafaxine, in managing symptoms including hot flashes and night sweats, according to researchers led by Dr. Eleanor Walker of Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.
After 12 weeks of treatment, symptoms were reduced for 15 additional weeks for women who had undergone acupuncture, compared with two weeks for those who had taken Effexor, Walker said.
“It was a more durable effect,” Walker, whose findings were presented at an American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology meeting in Boston, said in a telephone interview.
Is Acupuncture Beneficial in Depression?: A Meta-Analysis of 8 Randomized Controlled Trials (abstract, Journal of Affective Disorders)
Although this meta-analysis might be discounted due to the low quality of individual trials, it supported that acupuncture was an effective treatment that could significantly reduce the severity of disease in the patients with depression.
Antidepressants May Harm Male Fertility (New Scientist)
Antidepressants taken by millions of men could be impairing their fertility by causing damage to the DNA in their sperm.
In 2006, Peter Schlegel and Cigdem Tanrikut of the Cornell Medical Center in New York City reported that two men had developed low counts of healthy sperm after taking two different selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), the most commonly prescribed class of antidepressant.
Now Schlegel’s team has given 35 healthy men doses of a third SSRI called paroxetine, sold as Seroxat or Paxil, over five weeks, and examined their sperm before treatment and four weeks in.
Superficially, the men’s sperm seemed healthy – amounts of sperm and semen, and the shape and motility of sperm, were all normal. But when the team looked at DNA fragmentation in the sperm, using the TUNEL method, a worrying picture emerged. On average, the proportion of sperm cells with fragmented DNA rose from 13.8 per cent before taking paroxetine to 30.3 per cent after just four weeks.
American Kids Most Medicated (Science Daily)
American children are approximately three times more likely to be prescribed psychotropic medication than children in Europe. A new study claims that the differences may be accounted for by regulatory practices and cultural beliefs about the role of medication in emotional and behavioural problems.
Note: Full text of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health study available here (PDF).
Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) should be treated with drugs such as Ritalin only in severe cases and never when they are younger than 5, under official health guidelines issued today.
Widespread concerns that medication is used too freely to calm hyperactive children have been recognised by two clinical practice watchdogs, which are now advising doctors not to prescribe drugs whenever possible.
Most children with ADHD should instead be offered psychological therapy to improve their behaviour, backed up by training to support their parents and teachers, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health (NCCMH) recommend.
“I haven’t published this yet. But I have spoken about it in public lectures. The big finding is that people with schizophrenia are losing brain tissue at a more rapid rate than healthy people of comparable age. Some are losing as much as 1 percent per year. That’s an awful lot over an 18-year period. And then we’re trying to figure out why. Another thing we’ve discovered is that the more drugs you’ve been given, the more brain tissue you lose.”
Suicide Risk Studied in Drugs for Physical Ills (AP via Yahoo)
Until now, the Food and Drug Administration’s attention to the suicide risks of medications has focused on psychiatric drugs, such as antidepressants prescribed to youngsters. But this year, officials unexpectedly broadened their concerns to include a medication for asthma, drugs for controlling seizures and even one for quitting smoking. Those are medical conditions not usually associated with psychiatric disorders.
Several independent experts say the safety alarms point to a gap in the FDA’s knowledge of how drugs affect the brain. Even if medications are intended for physical conditions, some drugs can have unforeseen consequences if they are able to enter the brain. A group at Columbia University has developed a method for assessing the suicide risks of drugs, possibly helping identify risks before a medication goes on the market. But the FDA only requires use of such assessments on a case-by-case basis.