Friday, July 01, 2011

The Morning Drill: July 1, 2011

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

Medicare Reform Plan Would Freeze Physician Pay for 3 Years
Physicians would dodge a nearly 30% Medicare pay cut next January and see their rates frozen for 3 years under an ambitious proposal from 2 US senators to slow the growth of Medicare spending and save the government healthcare program for seniors.

However, seniors would get hit squarely with fiscal pain. The reform plan issued yesterday by Sen. Tom Coburn, MD (R-OK), and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) would gradually raise the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 years by 2025, require wealthier seniors to pay more for their share of the Part B medical program and the Part D drug program, and increase Part B premiums for all enrollees. These and other features of the plan that have not yet been submitted as legislation would supposedly save more than $600 billion over 10 years.
Sugary Drinks Increase Cardiovascular Risk
A small study of men younger than 50 years found that even moderate consumption of soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) produces an increase in markers of cardiovascular risk.

After just 3 weeks of sugary drinks, healthy, normal weight (body mass index range, 19 - 25 kg/m) men between the ages of 20 and 50 years saw harmful effects to low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particles, fasting glucose, and C-reactive protein, according to the study published online June 15 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The researchers, led by Isabelle Aeberli, PhD, from the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Clinical Nutrition, University Hospital Zurich, and the Human Nutrition Laboratory, Institute of Food, Nutrition, and Health, ETH Zurich, Switzerland, launched the study because it is known that sugary drinks interfere with glucose and lipid metabolism in obese people. However, the effect of lower doses of SSBs in people of normal weight "is less clear."

One of the goals of the study was to measure the effect of sugar dosages similar to the amount found in commercially available sodas and sweetened drinks, "thereby allowing us to draw clinically relevant conclusions."
Texting Smokers Doubles Quit Rates
Sending motivational text messages vs "placebo" texts to smokers doubles quit rates, a large randomized trial shows.

The study findings show that biochemically verified continuous abstinence was significantly increased in the active intervention group vs the placebo group at 6 months with rates of 10.7% and 4.9%, respectively.

"Text messages are a very convenient way for smokers to receive support to quit. People described txt2stop as like having a "friend" encouraging them or an "angel on their shoulder." It helped people resist the temptation to smoke, principal investigator, Caroline Free, PhD, Clinical Trials Research Unit, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom, said in a statement.

The study is published online June 30 in The Lancet.
NJDA to appeal ruling in lawsuit against tanning salon
Teeth-whitening services offered by nondentists at mall kiosks and beauty salons is a contentious issue across the U.S. While many states are moving to ban the practice, others are pushing nondental businesses to shut down voluntarily.

Now a legal battle between the New Jersey Dental Association (NJDA) and a New Jersey tanning salon that offers teeth whitening has taken an interesting turn, following a judge's ruling in favor of the tanning salon.

The NJDA filed a lawsuit late last year against Beach Bum Tanning, an East Coast chain with 17 locations in New Jersey that has been offering its clients teeth whitening as well as tanning services.

The key issue in this and similar cases is whether offering teeth whitening in mall kiosks or beauty salons constitutes the practice of dentistry. The Connecticut State Dental Commission recently ruled that teeth whitening is dentistry and can no longer be performed at spas, salons, and shopping malls unless it is done under the supervision of a licensed dentist, and the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners has been embroiled in a debate over whether its efforts to keep nondentists from performing teeth-whitening services constitutes anticompetitive conspiracy.

In its lawsuit, the NJDA alleged unfair competition on behalf of its members and accused Beach Bum salons of practicing dentistry without a license.
Enjoy your morning drill!

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