Monday, January 23, 2012

The Morning Drill: January 23, 2012

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Good Monday Morning!

On to today's dentistry and health headlines:

Dentists Overuse Antibiotics in Children

A survey has suggested that most dentists tend to overprescribe antibiotics in children, researchers report in an article published in the January issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association.

The study, in which 154 North Carolina dentists indicated how they would treat hypothetical cases, found that adherence to professional prescribing guidelines ranged from 10% to 42%.

"I was surprised at how low it was, frankly," the article's corresponding author, Jessica Y. Lee, DDS, MPH, told Medscape Medical News.

The dentists tended to prescribe antibiotics when the guidelines say they are not needed, said Dr. Lee, an associate professor of pediatric dentistry at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

"What can go wrong is that we can develop antibiotic-resistant organisms," she warned. "And people can have an allergic reaction that can be pretty severe."

US dentists write between 200 million and 300 million antibiotic prescriptions each year, accounting for about 10% of all such prescriptions in the United States, Dr. Lee and colleagues write.

To understand how well these drugs are being used, the researchers wrote a set of scenarios describing patients and their symptoms and asking under what circumstances the respondents would prescribe antibiotics.

Of the almost 300 dentists to whom the surveys were sent, 154 dentists responded, of whom 48 (31%) were pediatric dentists and 106 (69%) were general dentists.

By Eighth Grade, Sunscreen Use Halves, Tanning Rises

Between the fifth and eighth grades, children learn to love a tan, and sunscreen use plummets, despite growing evidence of a link between childhood sunburn and adult melanoma, according to results from a survey of 1 group of children, published in the February issue of Pediatrics.

Stephen W. Dusza, DrPH, from the Department of Medicine, Dermatology Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York City, and colleagues surveyed 360 Framingham, Massachusetts, fifth graders about tanning attitudes and behaviors in 2004, and surveyed them again in 2007 as eighth graders.

In surveys issued 1 month after returning from summer break, children did not report significantly more sunburns the summer before eighth grade than they did 3 years earlier (55% among eighth graders compared with 53% among fifth graders; P = .79), but both boys and girls reported a growing preference for tans in eighth grade (67% to 34%; P < .001) and for dedicating time to tanning (40% of eighth graders compared with 22% of fifth graders; P < .001). Strikingly, sunscreen use fell by half. As fifth graders, 50% of students reported they "often or always" used sunscreen when outdoors 6 hours or more compared with 25% of eighth graders.

"We have identified a crucial period in periadolescence in which students increase time spent in the sun to get a tan and strengthen tan-promoting attitudes," the authors write.

"With at least 50% of children experiencing sunburns before age 11 and again 3 years later, targeting children in pediatric offices and community settings regarding unprotected [ultraviolet] exposure may be a practical approach," they write.
The American Academy of Dermatology says melanoma is the most common form of cancer in young adults (aged 25 - 29 years), and the second most common cancer in those aged 15 to 29 years.

Sex is safe for most heart patients, doctors say

If you've recently had a heart attack or heart surgery, you might be concerned that revving up your pulse during a moment of passion could be dangerous. Rest assured: Resuming sexual activity is perfectly safe for most heart patients, according to new guidelines from the American Heart Association (AHA).

Certain patients, such as those with severe heart disease who have symptoms while at rest, should put off sex until their condition has stabilized. But if you can walk briskly or climb two flights of stairs without experiencing chest pain, abnormal heart rhythms, or shortness of breath, you're almost certainly ready to start having sex again, the guidelines say.

The authors stress, however, that all heart patients should check with their doctor before resuming their sex life. Just as important, the guidelines encourage patients -- and their partners -- to discuss any feelings of sex-related anxiety or depression with a health professional.

Nanocrystals Make Dentures Shine

The hardest substance in the human body is moved by its strongest muscles: When we heartily bite into an apple or a hotdog, enormous strengths are working on the surface of our teeth.

"What the natural tooth enamel has to endure also goes for dentures, inlays or bridges," glass chemist Prof. Dr. Christian Rüssel of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Germany) says. After all, these are worn as much as healthy teeth. Ceramic materials used so far are not very suitable for bridges, as their strengths are mostly not high enough. Now Prof. Rüssel and his colleagues of the Otto-Schott-Institute for Glass Chemistry succeeded in producing a new kind of glass ceramic with a nanocrystalline structure, which seems to be well suited to be used in dentistry due to their high strength and its optical characteristics. The glass chemists of Jena University recently published their research results in the online-edition of the science magazine Journal of Biomedical Materials Research.

Enjoy your morning!

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