:DentalPlans Weekly Dental and Healthcare News Roundup


Are you cybersick?

A peculiar side effect of the 21st century is something called digital motion sickness or cybersickness. The symptoms are a dull headache, dizziness or general nausea, and it’s becoming an increasingly common “natural response to an unnatural environment.”

Cybersickness, officially dubbed “visually induced motion sickness,” happens when your sensory inputs get confused about what they are experiencing. Assorted medical studies indicate it can affect 50 percent to 80 percent of people, depending on the visual quality of the digital content and how it is presented. Women are more inclined to experience it than men, as are those with a history of migraines or concussion.

In its story on the syndrome the NY Times notes that “… researchers say that people with traits associated with the “Type A” personality — such as perfectionism or ambition — also seem to be more vulnerable. Nobody knows exactly why this might be, but one theory is that people with these traits may also have a tendency to be more alert and reactive to sensory inputs, similar to people who get migraines.”

What to do? If just looking at basic digital content like your operating system’s interface icons makes you queasy, you might want to disable animations and other eye candy on your computers and devices.  If some movies make you feel ill, check the ratings at MovieHurl.com to see which content is likely to make your head spin. Gamers can even Google a particular game to review advice on avoiding cybersickness while playing.

Or go old school. As Thomas Stoffregen, professor of kinesiology at the University of Minnesota, who has done research on digital motion sickness, told the NY Times “No one ever got sick playing Pac-Man.”

Diabetes and Dental Health

The American Diabetes Association has teamed up with comedian Joey Fatone @RealJoeyFatone, and Colgate Total to help raise awareness of the potential link between oral health and diabetes.

Rather than issuing the usual gloomy health warnings, the companies have opted for humor. The new “30 Days of Laughter” campaign (#30DaysofLOL) will be live through December 11, 2015, and features videos, social media posts, apps and more – all intended to make the diabetes community laugh, all while building awareness of the importance of maintaining the health of the teeth and gums behinds those smiles.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with diabetes are two times more likely to develop gum disease.

“When my father was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, our family was shocked,” says Fattone. “ But we’re a big, loving group and we all help him together every day. I know that humor in the face of challenges is vital and I’m excited to share that with other families touched by diabetes.”

Colgate Total has also teamed up with mySugr, the leading digital diabetes company that aims to “make diabetes suck less.” Together, they will launch the Monster Selfie app to help create moments of laughter that are captured on camera and can be instantly shared with friends. The Monster Selfie app is available for download for iOS and Android.

You can find and share funny tips, stories and images and more by searching with #30DaysofLOL across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. More information is available at OralHealthandDiabetes.com and diabetes.org.

Don’t Feed The Superbugs

People around the world are confused about how antibiotics work and the right way to take them. And this lack of knowledge is fueling the rise of drug-resistant superbugs, according the World Health Organization said on Monday.

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan told reporters in a telebriefing that antibiotic-resistant bacteria is reaching dangerously high levels in all parts of the world and could lead to “the end of modern medicine as we know it”.

The United Nations health agency conducted a test to gauge people’s understanding of antibiotics. The world failed.

  • 64 percent of those asked believed that antibiotics can treat colds and flu
  • A third of people surveyed believed they should stop taking antibiotics as soon as they feel better, rather than completing the prescription.
  • Three-quarters of respondents think antibiotic resistance means the body is resistant to the drugs
  • 66 percent believe individuals are not at risk of a drug-resistant infection if they take antibiotics as prescribed.
  • Nearly half of those surveyed think drug resistance is only a problem in people who take antibiotics often.

The facts: Antibiotic resistance happens when bacteria develop – typically through mutation – an immunity to the antibiotics used to treat bacterial infections. The more exposure bacteria have to antibiotics, the more likely they are to develop survival techniques that make them less vulnerable to antibiotics. Resistant strains of bacteria, sometimes called “superbugs,” include multi-drug-resistant typhoid, tuberculosis and gonorrhea which kill hundreds of thousands of people a year.

What can you do? Follow your treatment plan – if you take only some of your antibiotics the bacteria will learn how the drugs work and live to infect again. And if your doctor prescribes antibiotics often, ask what his or her take on the superbug situation is. WHO is hoping that doctors start treating antibiotics like a precious commodity.


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