This Week in Perio
July 27, 2011

Periodontal disease emergency visits cost patients millions
Patients visiting hospital emergency departments in the U.S. because of periodontal conditions were charged about $33.3 million by the hospitals for treating these conditions on an emergency basis in 2006, according to a new study in the Journal of Periodontology. Patients with medical conditions and those who ignore regular dental care have a higher chance of visiting emergency departments, the study authors noted. However, little is known about nationwide estimates of hospital-based ED visits caused by periodontal conditions. They wanted to determine the frequency of ED visits related to periodontal conditions and identify the risk factors for hospitalization during those visits. (May require free registration to view article.)More

IADR/AADR publish study on use of Twitter for public health surveillance of dental pain
The microblogging service Twitter is a new means for the public to communicate health concerns and could afford health care professionals new ways to communicate with patients. With the growing ubiquity of user-generated online content via social networking websites such as Twitter, it is clear we are experiencing a revolution in communication and information sharing. In a study titled "Public Health Surveillance of Dental Pain via Twitter" published in the Journal of Dental Research, the official publication of the International and American Associations for Dental Research, researchers demonstrated that Twitter users are already extensively sharing their experiences of toothache and seeking advice from other users. Researchers Natalie Heaivilin, Barbara Gerbert, Jens Page and Jennifer Gibbs, all from the University of California-San Francisco's Preventive and Restorative Dental Sciences Department, authored this study.More

Epigenetic 'memory' key to nature versus nurture
Researchers at the John Innes Centre have made a discovery, reported in Nature, that explains how an organism can create a biological memory of some variable condition, such as quality of nutrition or temperature. The discovery explains the mechanism of this memory — a sort of biological switch — and how it can also be inherited by offspring. The work was led by professors Martin Howard and Caroline Dean at the center. "There are quite a few examples that we now know of where the activity of genes can be affected in the long term by environmental factors," Dean said. "And in some cases the environment of an individual can actually affect the biology or physiology of their offspring but there is no change to the genome sequence."More

Scientist: Ask your dentist about potential for cross-contamination
Fox News
It doesn't take a doctor to know that the medical field has more than it's fair share of germy situations, but some recent findings about germs at the dentist — in places you may not expect — could really gross you out and may even be dangerous. While sitting in the dentist chair, gloves, masks, eye wear and plastic-wrapped sterile packets are all common sights. But as careful as the staff at the office can be to make sure everything is clean, there are other places that are not so obvious when it comes to potentially dangerous germs, especially the chain clips that hold a patient's paper bib.More

Gum disease, anesthesia linked to mental decline
Idaho Statesman
You probably remember actor Peter Falk as the cigar-chomping TV detective Lt. Columbo, the cop who inevitably arrived at the scene of a high-society crime in a wheezing jalopy and a rumpled raincoat. But did you know that Falk, who had Alzheimer's and died recently at age 83, couldn't remember the role he made famous? And did you know that his mental decline has been linked to gum disease and general anesthesia? Columbo was famous for being relentless. He caught smooth criminals off-guard with his signature "Ahh, there's just one more thing." In this case, the "one more thing" Drs. Mehmet Oz and Mike Roizen want to stick with you is that general anesthesia can be risky for older brains — and for very young ones, too. Handle with the same care Columbo handled his beloved old car.More

Increasing the active surface of dental implants at nano level quickens healing
Researchers at the University of Gothenburg have conducted studies on the surface arrangement of dental implants both at the micro and nano level to enable speedy healing of patients. Johanna Löberg from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Gothenburg stated that by causing an increase of the active surface area at the nano scale and altering the implant's conductivity, the biomechanics of the body is influenced in such a way as to avoid discomfort and to speed up the healing process.More

Dr. Lee Sheldon: Periodontal disease must be treated
Florida Today
In 2010, 1.9 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed in people ages 20 and older. The health of your gums can influence your diabetes status. So if you're one of the 33 percent of people who are either diabetic or prediabetic, this applies to you. We've known for years if you're diabetic, you have a greater likelihood of periodontitis, a disease that causes bone loss around your teeth, which if uncontrolled, can result in tooth loss. The more severe the diabetes, the more the severe the periodontitis. In two studies of a diabetic population, periodontal bone loss was from three to 11 times greater in that group than in the nondiabetic group.More

'Trip to dentist' tops earliest memory poll
While many would consider their first childhood memories to be based around happy events, new research from a website specializing in creating bespoke photographic memorabilia has found that, for the average Briton, this may not be the case. In a new poll by, it has been revealed that a "trip to the dentist" has topped the charts as the most common first childhood memory, surpassing memories of "birthday parties" and "holidays" to the post.More

How testosterone protects against inflammation
It's all down to the testosterone: Men are usually more muscular than women, and they have deeper voices and more body hair. Men also are less susceptible to inflammatory diseases and allergies than women. This is thanks to the male sex hormones, as pharmacists at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena in Germany have shown in a recent study. "It is mostly women who are affected by diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis or asthma," Professor Dr. Oliver Werz from the Jena University explains. Although this is a fact known for some time, the reasons for these differences are largely unknown. As the Jena professor for pharmaceutical and medical chemistry and his team now have revealed, sexual hormones play an important role in this. The researchers report can be found in the current edition of FASEB Journal.More