Moving Towards a Clearer Diagnosis of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

A group of researchers have recently used functional PET imaging to show that levels of neuroinflammation is higher in patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis also commonly referred to as chronic fatigue syndrome than in healthy patients. Myalgic encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome is a debilitating condition which is mostly characterized by chronic and disabling fatigue. Some patients feel that chronic fatigue syndrome trivializes the condition and prefer a name change. In a study in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine researchers found that levels of neuroinflammation markers are elevated in myalgic encephalomyelitis patients when compared to healthy patients. It had been suspected that neuroinflammation is the cause of the condition. In the study the researchers performed PET scans on nine people diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis and ten people who were healthy. The patients were all asked to describe their pain, depression, cognitive impairment, and level of fatigue. They used a protein expressed by microglia and astrocyte cells known to be active in neuroinflammation. The researchers found that inflammation in certain areas of the brain such as the hippocampus, amygdala, thalamus, midbrain, cingulate cortex, and pons were all elevated in a way that correlated with the symptoms. For example, patients who reported problems with […]

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Reducing Migraines with Cosmetic Eyelid Surgery

An interesting article titled “Non-Endoscopic Deactivation of Nerve Triggers in Migraine Headache Patients,” appears in the 2014 issue of the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery written by Lisa Gfrerer and et. al. The article describes a method to screen and select patients for a surgical migraine treatment technique used by plastic and reconstructive surgeons. The surgery decompresses nerves that trigger migraines. The surgery used is stated to be an alternative to an endoscopic approach used which works down from the scalp under the skin as the other approach is not always suitable. The surgery discussed involves incisions through the upper eyelid and the study demonstrated that this approach was equally as effective for the deactivation of nerves involved in migraine headaches. In the study migraine headaches were completely eliminated in roughly 51% of the patients while around 20% of the patients experiencing an 80% reduction in their migraine symptoms. Close to 33% of all patients had between 50% and 80% all of their migraine symptoms resolved. A total of 35 patients were included in this study and all suffered from chronic nerve compressed migraine headaches. In order to confirm that all the patients did in fact have chronic nerve compressed migraine […]

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Will Health Care Reform Result in More Dental Visits

An interesting article titled “Health care reform brings new opportunities,” appears in the April 2014 edition of JADA written by Marko Vujicic (vol. 145, no. 4, pp. 381-382). The article discusses how health care reform in the U.S., specifically the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may help bring about new opportunities for dentists. The article opens by discussing how the U.S. spends more money on health care than any other developed country and there is little measurable benefit in terms of health outcomes, patient satisfaction, and access to care. The author discusses how ACA is expected to bring access to dental care to an additional 8.7 million children by 2018. The author discusses how the focus is on implementing new health care delivery models and payment mechanisms that focus on value and not volume of care. The author believes that due to the health reform developments, dentists should expect to have more collaboration with other health care professionals. This is because of the changing payment mechanisms which will push hospital groups to engage with many different health care professionals. As such dentists can be expected to play a bigger role in the screening and management of chronic diseases. The author states “What […]

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What to Do about Patients Who Call After Hours Wanting Prescription Drugs

An interesting article titled “Addressing after-hours requests for prescription drugs,” appears in the April, 2014, issue of  JADA written by G. J Muller II (vol. 145, no. 4, pp. 389-390). The article discusses how the oral and maxillofacial surgeon has had several instances of after hours or weekend phone calls from people claiming to be current or past patients who have had a sudden onset of a toothache and want narcotic pain medication. The surgeon says that the people always agree to be seen in his office the next day or following Monday if it is a weekend. However, often the person will not follow up with the surgeon and not show up for the appointment after having received the medication. The surgeon says occasionally he checks if the person is a patient of record and sometimes the person is not, other times it may have been someone who was last seen a long time ago. The surgeon is considered that many of these people who call are drug seekers and are not legitimate. In the article, tips to handle such a situation are discussed. The first thing to determine is if the person has an emergency. This is easy to […]

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The Cost of Health Care in the U.S. compared to Other Countries

An interesting article titled “How affordable is health care in the United States and other countries,” appears in the May 2014, issue of JADA written by Dr. Marko Vujicic (vol. 145, no. 5, pp. 482-483). The article discusses how the cost of medical and dental care stacks up against 10 other countries. The article opens by addressing how the U.S. spends more on health care than any other country but that the by measures of access, efficiency, and satisfaction of health care the U.S. ranks below lower spending countries. This is believe to be partially due to wasteful spending which the Affordable Care Act may help reduce. The article discusses data from the Commonwealth Fund which presents data for 11 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries showing the percentage of adults who can not obtain medical or dental care due to cost. This shows that in the U.S. the percentage of adults who do not obtain both medical and dental care is higher than all the 10 other countries (New Zealand, Australia, Norway, Canada, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, United Kingdom). It also shows that the financial barriers to dental care are much higher than for medical care in most […]

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