Monday, September 19, 2011

The Morning Drill: September 19, 2011

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

Study: Whole fruits as harmful to enamel as fruit juice
When it comes to snacking, a common belief is that whole fruits are less harmful to tooth enamel than fruit juice. But what does the evidence say?

Noting that the effects of sugars present in a free (extrinsic) or other (intrinsic) form on enamel demineralization have never been studied, researchers from Leeds Dental Institute and the University of Liverpool compared the enamel demineralization effects in situ of both whole and juiced fruits and vegetables (Caries Research, August 26, 2011).

"There is very little experimental evidence that sugars consumed in an intrinsic form are less cariogenic compared with those consumed in an extrinsic form," they wrote.

Their small study, which was supported by a project grant from the U.K. Sugar Bureau and the Biscuit, Cake, Chocolate, and Confectionery group, involved 10 individuals (four female, six male; average age, 37 years) who consumed test foods and corresponding juices from the same supplier and same batch.
Removal of Online Malpractice Data Sparks Outcry
Journalists and consumer groups are calling on a federal agency to reverse its decision to remove a public data file on payments in medical malpractice cases and clinician disciplinary actions from the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) Web site.

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which operates the NPDB, removed the file from the Web site on September 1 after news organizations such as the Kansas City Star managed to use it to identify physicians frequently accused of malpractice who went undisciplined by state medical boards. The NPDB data does not include physician names or addresses, but journalists have traced the data to individuals by piecing it together with other data sources.

"Federal law mandates that information about individual physicians remains confidential," HRSA spokesperson Martin Kramer told Medscape Medical News. "We have a responsibility to make sure federal law is being followed."

Individual researchers can still access the malpractice data by contacting the NPDB, and HRSA may post it online again after the agency figures out how to prevent clinicians, patients, and healthcare organizations from being outed. That deliberation will take at least 6 months, according to HRSA.

In the meantime, a group called Investigative Reporters & Editors has posted a copy of the file — downloaded from the NPDB Web site in August — on its own Web site.

The IRE along with the Society of Professional Journalists and the Association of Health Care Journalists sent a letter to HRSA Administrator Mary Wakefield on September 15 asking her to repost the so-called Public Use Data File on the NPDB Web site.
Amgen osteoporosis drug effective in study
An Amgen Inc drug to treat osteoporosis in women increased bone mineral density (BMD), an important determinant of bone strength, the biotechnology company said.

Results of the Phase 2 study extension showed that for post-menopausal women with low bone mass, or osteoporosis, who received up to eight years of continued treatment with Prolia (denosumab), bone mineral density increased on average 16.8 percent at the lumbar spine and 6.9 percent in the total hip, Amgen said.

Prolia is the first approved therapy that specifically targets an essential regulator of osteoclasts, the cells that break down the cells that break down bone.
UK surgeons separate twin girls joined at head
Sudanese twins born with the tops of their heads joined together have been separated in a rare and risky series of operations at a London children's hospital, officials said Sunday.

Facing the World, a charity which helps disfigured children, said it had helped fund the four-stage operation on 11-month-olds Rital and Ritag Gaboura. Twins born joined at the head are known as craniopagus twins and they occur in about one in 2.5 million births.

Separating them can be dangerous, especially if — as in this case — there's significant blood flow between their brains.

"Incidences of surviving twins with this condition is extremely rare," lead surgeon David Dunaway said in a statement released by the charity. "The task presented innumerable challenges and we were all very aware of our responsibilities to the family and these two little girls."

The charity released before and after photographs of the girls. The before photo showed the two sprawled out on a bed, with their heads joined just above the hairline to form what appeared to be a single, solid unit. Facing the World said that separation took place in stages at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital, with two operations in May, the insertion of tissue expanders in July and the final separation on Aug. 15.

"Within days the twins were back on the general ward interacting and playing as before," the charity said. Its executive coordinator, Sarah Driver-Jowitt, predicted that the girls' parents — who haven't been named — may soon return home "with two healthy, separate girls."
Enjoy your morning!

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