Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Morning Drill: July 27, 2011

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

Study offers clues to emotional eating
Anyone who's sought solace in pizza or a pint of ice cream knows that food can be comforting. But experts still don't know exactly why we gravitate toward fatty or sugary foods when we're feeling down, or how those foods affect our emotions.

Taste and the pleasant memories associated with junk foods surely play a role, but that may be only part of the story. According to a small new study, hormones in our stomachs appear to communicate directly with our brains, independent of any feelings we have about a particular food.

Most research on food and emotion has looked at the overall experience of eating -- the tastes, smells, and textures, in addition to nutrients. In this study, however, the researchers took that subjective experience off the table by "feeding" the volunteers through an unmarked stomach tube. Is emotional eating the trick to staying slim?

Even in this artificial environment, saturated fat appeared to fend off negative emotions. The study volunteers were more upbeat after listening to sad music and seeing sad faces if their bellies were full of saturated fat versus a simple saline solution, which suggests that emotional eating operates on a biological as well as psychological level, researchers say.

The study is among the first to show that the effect of food on mood is "really independent of pleasant stimuli," says Giovanni Cizza, M.D., an obesity and neuroendocrinology researcher at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, in Bethesda, Maryland, who was not involved in the study. "It is even more rooted in our biology."
Amalgam repairs as effective as replacements
There's a pervasive problem in restorative dentistry, according to a new study in the Journal of the American Dental Association (July 2011, Vol. 142:7, pp. 842-849): Too many dentists are replacing amalgam restorations when a repair may suffice, and therefor practices have patients spending more money while limiting the life span of their teeth.
The seven-year clinical study, conducted at the University of Florida College of Dentistry, found that repairing amalgam restorations can be less costly and equally effective as replacements. These results could impact a pattern of overtreatment occurring in dentistry today, the lead author told

"The presence of defective restorations is one of the most frequent problems encountered by general practitioners today, and, too often, dentists replace restorations that could have been treated differently," said Valeria Gordan, DDS, MS, a principal investigator at the College of Dentistry and lead author of the prospective longitudinal cohort study. "The repair treatment remained stable over a seven-year observation period. Just the longevity result alone makes a strong argument to consider this option as a routine treatment."

Amalgam replacement also results in a significant loss of tooth structure, which has a long-term impact on the tooth, she added.

"There are several reports in the literature that refers to the ‘rerestoration cycle' or ‘cycle of rerestoration,' which means that the tooth has a lifetime that starts with the first restoration, and, depending on when that first restoration takes place, it's going to dictate more or less the end of this tooth," Dr. Gordan explained.

Possible options for treating defective amalgam restorations include repairing, sealing, refinishing, and replacement, Dr. Gordan and her colleagues noted. Repairing involves removal of the part of the restoration that is defective, as well as any affected tissue adjacent to the defective restoration. Sealing consists of applying a resin-based sealant on the defective site or margin. Refinishing consists of using finishing burs to remove surface defects or excess amalgam from restorations. Replacement entails removal of the entire restoration and placement of a new restoration.
Calorie labels change some diners' habits: study
New York City's requirement that fast-food restaurants post calorie counts on menus led one in six customers to notice the information and buy foods with fewer calories, according to new research released on Tuesday.

While overall calorie consumption for the thousands of people tracked did not change, customers of McDonald's, Au Bon Pain and Yum Brands Inc's KFC were shown to make significant modifications, according to the study funded by the city of New York and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The report, published in the British Medical Journal, is one of the first to show a 2008 New York City law, requiring restaurant chains to prominently post calorie information, changed customer buying habits.

Advocates of the law see it as an important measure to help Americans lose weight, as more than two-thirds of the country's citizens are overweight or obese, conditions linked to health problems like high blood pressure and diabetes.
Heart Attacks, Not Strokes, Run in Families
Genetic connections between parents and siblings confer more of a risk for heart attack than stroke, researchers found in a population-based study.

Siblings with one parent who experienced a myocardial infarction (MI) had a 48% chance of having one as well (OR 1.48, CI 1.04 to 2.10; P=0.03), while those with two affected parents had a nearly sixfold increase of having an MI themselves (OR 5.97, CI 3.23 to 11.03; P<0.0001), reported Peter M. Rothwell, MD, PhD, of the University of Oxford, England, and colleagues.

The link between siblings for stroke risk was substantially weaker and a parent's stroke didn't correlate with the chance of stroke in a sibling, the group reported online in Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics.

These findings might have implications for risk prediction tools, which currently lump together family history of events, they suggested.

"The use of composite measures of family history of vascular disease in risk scores and in screening may not be optimal since the heritability of stroke is much less than that of MI," Rothwell's group wrote in the paper.
Enjoy your morning!

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