Friday, April 20, 2012

The Morning Drill: April 20, 2012

Jairo Echavarria of Union City has been charged with practicing dentistry without a license, officials say

Good Friday morning!

On to today's dentistry and health headlines:

Union City man charged with practicing dentistry without a license, cops say

The dentist will see you now -- inside a jail cell.

A city man was arrested this morning for allegedly practicing dentistry without a valid New Jersey license inside his 17th Street home, police said.

Jairo Echavarria, 60, was charged with unlawful practice of dentistry, possession of a controlled dangerous substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia, officials said.

At 9:30 a.m., members of a task force comprised of Union City police officers and agents with the state Attorney General's Division of Consumer Affairs arrived at Echavarria's 17th Street residence and an undercover AG agent went inside pretending to be a patient, reports said.

The home had a waiting room and the office had a dentist's chair, overhead lighting, and a variety of other dentistry tools, authorities said.

As soon as Echavarria asked the undercover agent to open her mouth, she told him he was under arrest and processed him without incident, police said.

Maine law expands dental hygienists' scope

Gov. Paul LePage has signed into law a bill that could expand dental care in underserved parts of Maine.

The new law allows independent-practice dental hygienists to take X-rays and own radiograph equipment. Under the law, the X-rays must be read by a dentist within 21 days.

Republican Rep. Heather Sirocki of Scarborough, who co-sponsored LePage's bill, says Maine has a shortage of dental care. Sirocki, a registered dental hygienist, says the primary reason for visits to emergency departments is dental pain, costing millions of dollars every year.

Sirocki says the pilot project authorized by the new law will expand more affordable dental care to underserved parts of Maine, often in rural areas. Maine has about 40 independent practice dental hygienists and another 10 or so who have certifications pending.

Suspect's wife arrested in dental tools theft

San Antonio police arrested a woman in connection with a theft case that also involves her husband.

Melony Martinez Oatman, 39, was arrested Thursday and charged with theft.

Her husband, 42-year-old Ty Oatman, was arrested earlier this month after he was accused of selling stolen dental equipment.

According to an arrest affidavit, a television news report about Ty Oatman is what led police to also look at his wife.

The UT-Health Science Center Police Department conducted the investigation.

The affidavit stated they believe the couple was taking old dental equipment from the center and reselling it to other dentists.

Fighters' brains damaged long before symptoms emerge, study hints

A yearlong study of boxers' and mixed martial-arts fighters' brain activity has found those who fight for more than six years begin to experience damage and those who fight longer than 12 years expose themselves to an even greater decline each time they return to the ring.

"What we've found suggests changes and damage in the brain happens years before symptoms emerge," said Dr. Charles Bernick, author of the study. "It's what we see in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's patients."

Bernick has supervised MRIs and computerized and cognitive tests of an estimated 170 fighters at the Cleveland Clinic's Las Vegas center in the past year. He will present his findings to the American Academy of Neurology this week in New Orleans.

"If we're going to protect these athletes, we need to follow them earlier in their course," Bernick said.

Currently, fighters are required to undergo only one brain MRI test, which could be taken at the beginning of their career. State commissions can request an additional MRI if they're alarmed by a fighter's age, performance or behavior. But pinpointing when to stop a fight remains an undefined point of discretion.

Enjoy your morning!

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