Thursday, December 01, 2011

The Morning Drill: December 1, 2011

Ministers will say that there have been no reported transmissions in Britain, despite more than 25 cases in the last 12 years where a patient has been exposed to an HIV-infected doctor Photo: ALAMY

Good Morning!

Today is World AIDS Day, as is every December 1.

On to today's dentistry and health headlines:

Doctors, dentists and health workers with HIV could work in NHS
The Department of Health has launched a consultation into the issue with a view to lifting the ban that has been in place for 20 years.

As reported in the Daily Telegraph last week, ministers fear a backlash from patients, but hope that those concerns can be allayed when presented with the facts about possible dangers.

Some countries already permit HIV positive doctors and dentist to work, but despite evidence that any risk is ‘negligible’ the UK still has tough restrictions in place.

The issue is certain to cause controversy. Three years ago a London doctor, Allan Reid, sparked a health scare after treating thousands of patients without telling them he was HIV-positive.

A current court case, in which a dentist with HIV is bringing an action against the Department of Health claiming the current ban is discriminatory and unlawful, also explains why ministers are considering the change. Because of the case, the possibility of a judicial review is hanging over the Government.

Ministers will say that there have been no reported transmissions in Britain, despite more than 25 cases in the last 12 years where a patient has been exposed to an HIV-infected doctor, dentist or other health worker. More than 10,000 patients have been tested.

A working group has recommended that those with HIV should be allowed to undertake “exposure prone procedures” provided they are taking antiretroviral drugs and are being monitored.

A document, seen by the Daily Telegraph, concludes that evidence built up over a number of years shows that the risk of transmission from an infected doctor or dentist to a patient is “extremely low for the for the most invasive clinical procedures such as major surgical operations.”

For less invasive procedures such as normal dentistry the risk is described as “negligible.”
Dentists grinning as demand for new smiles soars
IT WAS once the essential beauty feature for celebrities obsessed with appearance. But that dazzling white smile has moved beyond the Hollywood hills and into the Australian suburbs.

Dentists are reporting a boom in cosmetic dentistry as some surgeries experience a 60 per cent increase in demand.

Middle-aged women are partly driving the trend, using their later-in-life disposable income to fix stained and crooked teeth, with some procedures costing upwards of $15,000.
Dentist who dabbles in opera-singing says patients can't criticize her crooning: lawsuit
A Manhattan dentist who moonlights as an opera singer can’t stand her patients booing her online about her work, a lawsuit charges.

Dr. Stacy Makhnevich, who bills herself as “the Classical Singer Dentist of New York,” is being accused in a Manhattan Federal Court lawsuit of trying to muzzle her patients’ criticism — even before it’s made.

Former patient Robert Lee claims Makhnevich forced him to sign an agreement not to bash her online before she worked on his sore tooth, according to the suit, filed Tuesday.

Lee claims the crooning tooth doctor then hit a sour note when he accused her on the website Yelp of overbilling him by $4,000.

“Avoid at all cost!” his Yelp posting read. “Scamming their customers!”

He said Makhnevich accused him of breaching the “Mutual Agreement to Maintain Privacy” that he signed.

Lee, who has since moved to Maryland, said the dentist began billing him $100 a day for every day his negative Yelp posting remained online.

“I have to wonder what this dentist’s other patients have said to make her feel it was necessary to go to this extreme,” Lee said Wednesday.

Makhnevich — who just released a CD of arias titled “European Opera” — did not return calls left Wednesday at her offices on the 69th floor of the Chrysler Building.

Lee’s lawyer, Paul Levy of the consumer protection group Public Citizen, said the agreement that Makhnevich makes her patients sign violates their constitutional right to free speech and breaches dental ethics.

“This is using these contracts to suppress the other side and deprives the consumer of valuable information,” Levy told the Daily News.
Completing the Circuit to Curb Obesity
Obesity is the most significant chronic healthcare crisis facing the United States, as well as other countries. Already 1 out of every 3 adults, and 1 out of every 6 children or adolescents, in the U.S. is obese! Leptin is a hormone that has received considerable attention since its discovery in 1994 for its role in regulating metabolism (like a thermostat, or adipostat) and implications for obesity. High leptin levels are associated with feeling satiated and an active metabolism. Though many overweight people have high levels of circulating leptin, it’s been found that their hypothalamic neurons do not receive the signal – a phenomenon known as “leptin resistance.” An animal model that mirrors this is db/db mice, which lack leptin receptors on the surface of they hypothalamic neurons and are therefore morbidly obese...
Enjoy your morning!

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