Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Morning Drill: June 30, 2011

A collection of dentistry and health related links/comments to start your day.

Obesity a Major Cause of Early Death in Women: Study
Obesity is a major risk factor for death among obese women who don't smoke, particularly low-income women, a new study finds.

It included more than 3,600 women aged 45 to 64 in Scotland who never smoked and were followed for 28 years. During that time, half the women died, including 916 (51 percent) from cardiovascular disease and 487 (27 percent) from cancer.

Researchers found that low-income women were more likely to be severely obese than women who were better off financially.

The study also found that those who were severely obese had the highest death rates, while non-smoking women who were not obese have relatively low death rates regardless of their socioeconomic status, according to the study, published June 28 online in the British Medical Journal.

Though women with low-income jobs were more likely than those with higher paying jobs to die of cardiovascular disease, the same didn't hold true for cancer.

Researchers also found that women who never smoked were much more likely to be overweight or obese than those who smoked. This suggests that high smoking rates a few decades ago may have obscured the extent of obesity in non-smoking women, and that recent declines in smoking rates may have contributed to the increase in overweight and obesity, the researchers said in a journal news release.

Despite the risks posed by obesity, "it is important not to forget that smoking is a much stronger risk factor for (death) than most other risk factors, including obesity," Professor Johan Mackenbach, of Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam in the Netherlands, wrote in an accompanying editorial.
Europe's E. coli outbreaks linked to Egyptian seeds
Imported fenugreek seeds from Egypt may be the source of highly toxic E. coli outbreaks in Germany and France that have killed at least 48 people, according to initial investigations by European scientists.

More than 4,000 people across Europe and in North America have been infected in the deadliest outbreak of E. coli so far recorded, which started in early May. Almost all of those sickened lived in Germany or had recently travelled there.

The German outbreak and a smaller cluster of E. coli centered around the French city of Bordeaux have both been linked to sprouted seeds.

Experts from the Sweden-based European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the Italy-based European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said initial investigations suggested that "the consumption of sprouts is the suspected vehicle of infection in both the French cluster and the German outbreak.

"The tracing back is progressing and has thus far shown that fenugreek seeds imported from Egypt either in 2009 and/or 2010 are implicated in both outbreaks," they said in a joint statement posted on the ECDC's website late on Wednesday.
Wrong-Site Surgery Occurs 40 Times a Week
Despite intense efforts to prevent wrong-site surgery in recent years, the adverse event "that should never happen" occurs about 40 times a week nationwide, the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare said today.

The center announced the preliminary results of a project with 8 hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. The facilities found that problems with scheduling and preoperative/holding processes, as well as ineffective communication and distractions in the operating room, contributed to increasing the risk for wrong-site surgery. A "time out" without full participation by all key people in the operating room was identified as another contributing factor that increased risk.

"The 8 hospitals and [ambulatory surgery centers] identified where errors can creep into the process and took steps to correct them," Mark R. Chassin, MD, FACP, MPP, MPH, president of the commission, said during a news conference today. "We hope to use their experience as a roadmap to measure risks.

"All facilities and physicians who perform invasive procedures are at some degree of risk," he said. "The magnitude of this risk is often unknown or undefined. Providers who ignore this fact, or rely on the absence of such events in the past as a guarantee of future safety, do so at their peril. Unless an organization has taken a systematic approach to studying its own processes, it is flying blind."

Because wrong-site surgeries are relatively rare events, they are difficult to study. Research has shown that there is usually no single root cause of failure. Instead, such events are frequently the result of a cascade of small errors. "There's no silver bullet or easy answer," Dr. Chassin said.
Wrong-site surgery includes invasive procedures on the wrong patient in addition to wrong-procedure, wrong-site, and wrong-side surgeries. In 2010, it was the third most common sentinel event reported, Dr. Chassin added.
MetLife Selected As Provider For TRICARE Dental Program
MetLife, which has been administering oral health benefits for U.S. workers and their families for nearly 50 years, has been chosen by TRICARE Management Activity to be the provider of comprehensive dental coverage to family members of uniformed services active duty personnel, as well as members of the selected reserve and individual ready reserve and their eligible family members around the world.

"MetLife is looking forward to the opportunity to provide quality dental coverage and oral health educational programs to the more than two million TRICARE Dental Program (TDP) beneficiaries," said William J. Mullaney, president, MetLife U.S. Business. "We believe that our program provides TDP beneficiaries with great value and flexibility, including lower premiums and access to a dental provider network that is significantly larger than the current network."
Enjoy your morning drill!

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