Archive | August, 2013

The Social Stigma of Migraine Headaches

An interesting study has been conducted by researchers at Thomas Jefferson University looking at the social stigma of migraine headaches. The study appears in PLOS ONE, January 16, 2013. The study was led by William B. Young a neurologist and he is quoted at saying “When people treat my patients as if they are to blame because they have a severe, debilitating disease, they are contributing to the problem and making life harder for them.” The researchers find that high levels of social stigma for migraine suffers is due to the impact of a chronic migraine of their work lives. Dr. Young says “I don’t think people realize that it is not unusual for people with migraine to have severe headaches every day—to be so disabled that they are unable to work. This is what causes the stigma—the fact that people with severe migraine may not be able to work.” The researchers compared results from 123 episodic migraine patients, 123 chronic migraine patients, and 62 epilepsy patients using a 24 item stigma scale for chronic illness. The study showed that patients with chronic migraine had higher scores (54.0+/- 20.2) on the stigma scale than either episodic migraine (41.7 +/-14.8) or […]

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American Dental Association’s New Position on Dental Visits

A few months ago the ADA (American Dental Association) released a press release regarding the frequency that patients should be seeing a dentist. This is located over at I meant to comment on this earlier, but didn’t get a chance. In a previous blog post earlier this year, located over at mentioned an article by retired dentist Jay W. Friedman, DDS, MPH. I also provide a quote from the article where he says that semiannual cleanings are unnecessary in some patients. In the risks of keeping wisdom teeth page, when updated in 2011, I added a section discussing dental examination intervals. This was because I had reviewed National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (note NICE was renamed in early 2013), policy over at which states “The actual interval should be a clinical decision by the dentist based on the patient’s needs.” Now the new information provided by the ADA states “…the frequency of their regular dental visits should be tailored by their dentists to accommodate for their current oral health status and health history.” The press release by the ADA mentions a study at the University of Michigan where “…researchers speculate that high-risk patients would likely […]

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Does the Menstrual Cycle Effect the Possibility of Developing a Dry Socket After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

An interesting study is described exploring the possibility of the menstrual cycle affecting the possibility of developing a dry socket after wisdom teeth removal. This study is presented in the article titled ” Effect of Menstrual Cycle on Frequency of Alveolar Osteitis in Women Undergoing Surgical Removal of Mandibular Third Molar: A Single-Blind Randomized Clinical Trial,” by Majid Eshghpour, Naser Mohammadzadeh Rezaei, and AmirHossein Nejat, appearing in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (vol. 71, pp. 1484-1489, 2013). The article explores the association of between the menstrual cycle and the frequency of dry socket (alveolar osteitis). The authors report that various studies have shown a chance ranging from 5-30% of the possibility of developing a dry socket (alveolar osteitis) after wisdom teeth removal. (See the complications page of this website to see more on dry sockets In the study the authors point out that the risk factors of developing a dry socket include the experience of the surgeon the amount of trauma during surgery the difficulty of the surgery the age of the patient smoking habits inappropriate irrigation during surgery pre-operative infection use of local anesthetics use of oral contraceptives It is also mentioned that gender has shown […]

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Do Oral Surgeons Prescribe Too Many Narcotics for use after Wisdom Teeth Removal?

A new article published in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is titled ” Narcotic Prescribing Habits and Other Methods of Pain Control by Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons After Impacted Third Molar Removal,” by Ibrahim Mutlu, A. Omar Abubaker, and Daniel M. Laskin (vol. 71, pp. 1500-1503, 2013). The article explores the issue of whether or not oral surgeons regularly prescribe more than an adequate amount of narcotic pain killers to young adults after their wisdom teeth extraction. It has been believed by some that the narcotics given by oral surgeons for wisdom teeth removal can be a source of using narcotics for non-medical uses. In this article a 8 question survey was sent to 100 randomly selected oral and maxillofacial surgeon members of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon (AAOMS). The questions were related to whether narcotics were typically prescribed to patients who had impacted wisdom teeth removed, the dosage prescribed, and number of tablets prescribed. In addition, the oral surgeons were asked about non-narcotics prescribed to patients. In all 600 questionnaires were sent to oral surgeons and 384 of them were completed and returned. The most commonly prescribed narcotic was found to be hydrocodone with […]

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Loneliness can tax the Immune System

Interesting research has been conducted by investigators from the Ohio State University. The research links loneliness to a number of dysfunctional immune responses which suggests loneliness may adversely affect overall health. The results were based on a series of studies on two different groups: 1) a healthy group of overweight middle-aged adults and 2) a group of breast cancer survivors with an average age of 51. Loneliness was measured using the UCLA Loneliness Scale. The researchers measured presence of antibodies against Epstein-Barr virus and cytomegalovirus in the breast cancer survivor group with 200 participants. Lonelier participants were found to have higher levels of antibodies against cytomegalovirus compared to less lonely participants. Further, those higher antibody levels were related to more depression, pain, and fatigue symptoms. No difference was f0und for Epstein-Barr virus antibody levels. Previous research has shown that stress can result in reactivation of these viruses and the researchers suggest that loneliness can be thought of as a chronic stressor. The researchers also looked at proinflammatory proteins known as cytokines. For this study 144 women from breast cancer survivor group were used and a group of 134 overweight middle-aged adults were also used. The researchers took baseline blood samples […]

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