Archive | November, 2010

Bringing Teeth Back to Life

This post may sound a bit futuristic, but it is just one of the many ways nanotechnology can play a great role in impacting our lives. A study appearing in ACS Nano, describes a nano sized dental firm which could be used for bringing a diseased tooth back to life instead of leaving the tooth dead via a root canal. Nadia Benkirane-Jessel and colleagues state in the report that root canal procedures help prevent tooth loss in millions of people each year. During  a root canal a dentist removes the painful, inflamed pulp, the soft tissue inside the diseased or injured tooth that contains nerves and blood vessels. An area called regenerative endodontics in which the development and delivery of tissues to replace diseased or damaged dental pulp could become the future. The researchers have developed a multilayered, nano-sized film which contains a substance called alpha melanocyte stimulating hormone that could help regenerate dental pulp. The substance has anti-inflammatory properties and in the lab has been shown to fight  inflammation in dental pulp fibroblasts. This has the consequences of being able to  help revitalize damaged teeth and reduce the need for a root canal procedure which surely would please many. […]

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Bone Loss from Valproate

The drug valproate is commonly used to treat epilepsy, bipolar disorder, and other conditions. However, valproate appears to reduce the formation of two key proteins important for bone strength. This comes a recent news as before the reason for bone less in patients taking valproate was a mystery. Glenn Morris and his fellow researchers have demonstrated that the use of valproate has grown over the years to include other diseases/disorders.  Valproate now is prescribed for mood disorders, migraine headache, and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Many SMA patients will develop weak bones as a result SMA which of course makes additional bone loss not welcome. Now the molecular explanation for the bone loss side effect of valproate is known. Valproate reduces production of collagen, the key protein that gives bone its strength, and does so by around 60%. The drug also reduced levels of osteonectin, which binds calcium and helps maintain bone mass, and does so by around 28%. Any patient taking valproate should be aware of these recent findings and consider the side effects in their treatment options. Reference: Fuller et al. Valproate and Bone Loss: iTRAQ Proteomics Show that Valproate Reduces Collagens and Osteonectin in SMA Cells. Journal of […]

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Hair Samples Prove Stress Causes Heart Attacks

New research has used male hair samples to prove that chronic stress and lead to cardiovascular disease such as a heart attack. It has been known for some time now that stress such as that from a marriage, job problems, and/or financial problems can lead to an increased risk of heart attack. However, there was never really a way to directly measure this stress. Drs. Gideon Koren and Stan Van Uum from the University of Western Ontario have developed a method to measure cortisol levels in hair which can provide a measure of stress levels before a problem like a heart attack occurs. It is well known that cortisol is a stress hormone and more of it is released when someone is stressed out. Dr. Koren explains  “We know that on average, hair grows one centimetre (cm) a month, and so if we take a hair sample six cm long, we can determine stress levels for six months by measuring the cortisol level in the hair.” The researchers used three cm long hair samples from 56 adult males who were admitted to Meir Medical Centre in Kfar-Saba, Israel after suffering heart attacks. The researchers also used hair samples from 56 […]

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Large Amounts of Fluoride Consumed by Young Children Leads to Fluorosis

A recent study looked at the role of fluoride in young children. It was found that young children who consume large amounts of fluoride through fluoridated water and beverages mixed with flouridated water as well as by swallowing toothpaste with fluoride have an increased chance of developing mild enamel fluorosis. The study noted that all of the fluorosis in the young children seen was mild and that they feel that the oral health of these young children was not adversely affected in anyway. If a child has mild enamel fluorosis there will be barely noticeable faint white lines or streaks on tooth enamel. The researchers used mothers of newborns from eight Iowa hospital postpartum wards between 1992 and 1995 which is known as the Iowa Fluoride Study. A total of 630 children were used in the study and questionnaires were regularly sent to the parents in the study. The researchers did find that large amounts of fluoride consumption from beverages with fluoridated water by children between the ages of 3 to 9 months will increase a child’s risk of developing mild enamel fluorosis. In addition, large amounts of fluoride consumption from fluoridated water and from toothpaste with fluoride by children […]

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