Gingivitis Bacteria Manipulate Your Immune System

An interesting article appears in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology discussing how the bacteria known for causing gum disease–Porphyromonas gingivalis–can manipulate the immune system to disable normal processes that would otherwise destroy it.The article talks about how this bacteria causes the anti-inflammatory molecule Interleukin-10 (IL-10) which inhibits the function of T-cells which would otherwise help to fight off the bacteria. The researchers discuss how it is important to understand how gingivitis bacteria affect the immune system since more than 50% of adults over 50 in the U.S. develop periodontal disease. The researchers used cells from mice that were exposed to Porphyromonas gingivalis and had some of them treated with an inhibiting antibody against IL-10 and the other portion of cells was not treated. The cells were then tested for interferon gamma production. The researchers found that an increase of interferon gamma production was seen in the treated cells, however no increase was found in the untreated cells. This study illustrates the mechanism by which Porphyromonas gingivalis can establish a chronic infection in the form of periodontal disease and the progression of the disease. Researchers believe that early intervention can help eradicate the bacteria and is important for possible designed therapeutics or […]

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American Medical Association (AMA) To Shut Down Newsmagazine

I was upset today when I heard that the American Medical Association (AMA) is shutting down it’s newsmagazine. Crain’s Chicago Business has an article discussing this over at http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20130812/NEWS03/130819977/ama-to-close-news-magazine titled  “AMA to close news magazine,” written by Andrew L. Wang on August 12, 2013. Now not only is the AMA shutting down the print circulation, but it is also shutting down AmedNews.com which is the website for the publication. In recent years, I have enjoyed reading amednews.com and keeping up to date on the many informative articles published. I have always thought the domain name choice was a bit poor, but the current Alexa traffic rankings shows a 167,229 in the World and 46,097 in the United States which is quite good. The article by Chicago Business discusses that the print circulation has been going strong for 55 years and currently has 230,000 copies circulated. However, the article cites declining ad revenue from drug companies, increased competition from other news sources, and a migration of readers to the internet. The article describes the current path of the print circulation as unsustainable from a business standpoint. The publication will be shutdown on September 9, which is a few weeks away. In […]

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Can a Persistent Headache be Caused by Sinus Problems?

I came across an interesting article that appeared over a year ago in the Washington Post. The article is titled “A man’s persistent headache proves hard to diagnose and harder to treat,” by Sandra G. Boodman, and published on March 19, 2012. Article Link: http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-03-19/national/35448791_1_headache-sinus-pain-relievers The article discusses a 41 year old man who developed a constant headache in November of 2008. Over the course of many months the man consulted many neurologists, ear nose and throat doctors, ophthalmologist, and others but none could explain what was causing him the headache. The man is quoted as saying “I’d been chasing this for more than six months. No one could tell me what it was. I just remember thinking, ‘How am I going to be able to function if it never goes away?” Over the course of the treatment the man took antibiotics, corticosteroids, pain relievers, and had sinus surgery. It appears imaging studies were ordered and a CT scan showed a sinus infection which presumably led to the antibiotics and corticosteroids and later sinus surgery. The article describes how the man missed a significant amount of work and lost weight. He later saw another neurologist who gave him a diagnosis […]

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Electric Stimulation of Brain Releases Powerful Painkiller

Researchers have been exploring delivering electricity through sensors on the skulls of chronic migraine patients and have found a decrease in the intensity of pain of their headaches. A recent study published in Frontiers in Psychiatry has shown that when electricity is sent to certain regions in the brain of a patient with chronic, severe facial pain it releases an opiate-like substance and powerful painkiller. In the study, researchers administered a radiotracer that reached important brain areas in a patient with trigeminal neuropathic pain. They then applied electrodes and electrically stimulated the skull right above the motor cortex  for 20 minutes during a PET scan which is known as transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). The radiotracer was designed to measure the local brain release of mu-opioid, a natural substance that alters pain perception. The researchers argue that this is the main resource in the brain to reduce brain. The purpose is to target and activate directly the areas in the brain where opiates work but with decreasing opiate use. The tDCS protocol used in the study delievered 2 mA of electricity which is much less than the 200 to 1600 mA used in electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) used to treat depression. […]

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Controversy Surrounding Marijuana

I recently watched a very controversial documentary shown on Wealth TV (re-run had previously aired) titled Marijuana Miracle Cure 2 Wired for Weed. This came out a few months ago in 2013, and seems to be a follow up to their Marijuana Miracle Cure program from 2012. If you have not seen it, you may be able to catch another re-run on Wealth TV or you may be able to find the entire 1 hour program (including commercials) on YouTube. The documentary raises some interesting points about marijuana (aka cannabis) and it’s potentially medical properties. Now the first question, I have, is why does Wealth TV have a documentary on marijuana? It seems from the documentary that they are genuinely interested in the potential medical issues of marijuana. This is because of the focus and nature of the documentary, but there could be some other motive but this is hard to tell. The documentary does interview a medical doctor, several PhDs, and several patients who claim to have benefited from cannabis for medicinal purposes. Some of the history of marijuana is described including what led to it’s ban and what may prevent it from being labeled as having medicinal properties in […]

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