Thursday, December 08, 2011

The Morning Drill: December 8, 2011


Las Vegas Strip during Las Vegas Half Marathon, December 4, 2011

Good Morning!

The above photo was taken by my wife, Alice, during our race this past Sunday.

On to today's dentistry and health headlines:

Md. dentist gets 2 years for $1.9M in unpaid taxes

A U.S. district judge in Baltimore has sentenced a dentist to two years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for failure to pay $1.9 million in employment taxes from 2001 to 2006.

Jay Hustead, DDS, DMD, will also have to perform 200 hours of community service, pay restitution of nearly $66,000, and enter a closing agreement with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to pay the full amount of taxes due.

Dr. Hustead's corporation, Hustead Dental and Orthodontics of Annapolis, employed several dentists, technicians, and office employees and had annual payrolls exceeding $1 million from 2001 to 2006. He was the company president and sole owner, and was responsible for the dental operations.

Susan Hustead, his wife, was responsible for business management, including working with company accountants on tax issues. She pleaded guilty for her role in the scheme and will be sentenced on December 14, 2011.

Hispanic Women More Likely to Die of Breast Cancer

Hispanic women have a 20 percent greater risk of dying from breast cancer than non-Hispanic white women, according to a new study.

Biological differences in the women's tumors could explain this discrepancy, the researchers suggested.

"This difference may be associated with a tumor phenotype that is less responsive to chemotherapy," Kathy Baumgartner, an epidemiology professor at the School of Public Health and Information Sciences at the University of Louisville, in Kentucky, said in a news release. "Increased awareness of this ethnic disparity is needed to improve survival in Hispanic women with breast cancer."

Researchers looked at breast-cancer risk in 692 Hispanic and non-Hispanic white women in New Mexico from 1992 to 1996. A separate study followed the 577 women with invasive breast cancer until 2008 to assess the differences in survival rates.

Hispanic women were roughly 20 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than non-Hispanic white women. However, Hispanic women's risk dropped to nearly the same rate as the other women after the researchers adjusted for age, progression of their disease, lymph node involvement and estrogen receptor. As a result, they suggested the ethnic difference in breast cancer mortality may be mostly "biologically based."

Researchers also found that Hispanic women who received chemotherapy were about 1.5 times more likely to die from breast cancer than non-Hispanic white women.

The research is slated to be presented Wednesday at the 2011 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

FDA Orders Safety Review of Pradaxa

The FDA said it will begin a safety review of reports of excess bleeding associated with dabigatran (Pradaxa), an oral direct thrombin inhibitor that is approved for prevention of stroke in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation.

The FDA's announcement comes a month after post-marketing reports of about 50 cases of fatal bleeding worldwide surfaced.

The FDA said it wants to determine whether the reports of bleeding are occurring more commonly than would be expected.

In the RE-LY clinical trial, which compared two doses of dabigatran (150 mg bid and 110 mg bid) with warfarin in more than 18,000 patients, the bleeding rates between the two arms were similar.

When the FDA approved the drug in October 2010, it limited its approval to two doses: 150 mg bid and 75 mg bid, a decision that was immediately questioned because the 75 mg dose had never been tested in a clinical trial. Last spring, the New England Journal of Medicine published a commentary in which two FDA researchers involved in the approval decision explained the agency's reasoning, acknowledging a prevailing concern about the potential for excess bleeding.

Calls for national dental health scheme

The Federal Government is under growing pressure to set up a Medicare-style dental health scheme, following a report revealing the extent of Australia's dental health problems.

A study commissioned by the Brotherhood of St Laurence has found that millions of Australians can't afford to visit a dentist.

The study says the cost of dental care in Australia is costing the national economy more than $A1.3 billion in lost employment, and that at least one million work -days and at least 600,000 school-days are lost each year because of poor dental health.

Nicola Ballenden from the Brotherhood of St Laurence says the cost of poor dental health is borne by people at least able to afford it.

The Brotherhood is calling for urgent action to provide affordable dental care, and the introduction of a universal dental scheme.

"For disadvantaged people (a universal scheme) means cost isn't a barrier to care so they're not going to delay going to a dentists because of cost," Nicola Ballenden told SBS.

It's a proposal that has been backed by a government advisory group, the National Advisory Council on Dental Health.

The Greens have seen the group's confidential interim report. They say it recommends a major investment in dental health.

"It also says that the aim should be a universal scheme a scheme like Medicare so that essentially the mouth is treated like the rest of the body, so there's no good reason to separate the two," Greens Senator Richard Di Natale told SBS.

Enjoy your morning!

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