Here’s our latest pick of the most interesting and useful health and wellness stories from across the Internet.
It’s Time For Your Daily Root Canal
For the past decade a 38-year-old man in England wakes up every morning and prepares to get a root canal.
The man suffered memory loss due to a bad reaction to a local anesthetic he received while getting treatment at his dentist. He can no longer create new memories, and is only capable of remembering whatever happened in the last 90 minutes – with one exception: he awakes each day thinking that he has an appointment with his dentist.
Dr Gerald Burgess, a University of Leicester clinical psychologist, said that none of his team or their colleagues in neurology, psychiatry, and clinical neuropsychology “could explain this case, or had seen anything like it themselves before.” There is no evidence that the treatment he received at the dentist can be blamed for his condition.
Burgess has requested that any medical professionals who have treated similar cases, or people who have directly experienced the same sort of memory loss symptoms, contact him or his team. They hope to develop a treatment protocol for profound amnesia in brains with no visible structural damage. Meanwhile, the patent is doing reasonably well, managing his life with a digital diary and an elaborate system of electronic alerts and reminders.
Blueberries Fight Gum Disease
Gum disease is a common condition that, in severe cases, calls for antibiotics. Now, researchers are developing a treatment based on wild blueberry extract that could prevent the formation of dental plaque that leads to gum disease.
Many people experience some degree of gum inflammation resulting from a buildup of bacteria-laden dental plaque. If not addressed with regular professional cleanings and daily preventive care, this inflammation can cause persistent gum or periodontal disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of American adults aged 30 and over have some form of periodontal disease.
In severe cases, dentists may prescribe deep cleanings and antibiotics to fight the infection. But they may soon have a new tool in the fight against dental decay: Blueberries.
A new study documents a search for natural antibacterial compounds that fight gum disease. Blueberry polyphenols, which are known to protect plants against some diseases, have proven successful in stopping bacteria growth. Testing also revealed that he polyphenol-rich extract blocked a molecular pathway involved in inflammation.
The research team is now developing an oral device to use after deep cleanings. The device slowly releases blueberry extract to help treat gum disease.
Unhealthy gums have also been linked to a number of other diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, respiratory, infections, breast cancer and premature births.
Dry Mouth Relief
A new study shows that it may be possible to generate new salivary glands out of stem cells, with the help of silk fibers. If further testing supports the initial results, this could lead to the first effective treatment for dry mouth.
Medication use, radiation treatment, autoimmune diseases, diabetes and the process of aging can cause saliva glands to malfunction. Additionally, 4 million Americans have autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its own tear ducts and salivary glands (Sjögren’s syndrome).
A team from the University of Texas at San Antonio used silk fibers to create a 3D scaffold which successfully supported a matrix of salivary gland stem cells. The achievement is significant because salivary gland stem cells are some of the most difficult cells to grow in culture.
The team believes that within the next 10 years, we will be “repairing damaged salivary glands in patients by transfusing stem cells, or engineering artificial salivary gland tissue to replace damaged glands.” Call us at 1-800-238-5163 to find out about how dental savings plans can help make quality dental care affordable.