Tuesday, January 03, 2012

The Morning Drill: January 3, 2012

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Happy New Year!

On to today's dentistry and health headlines for the start of the new year:

Lots of Exercise May Boost Kids' Grades

A Dutch review of prior research reveals that the more physically active school-aged children are, the better they fare in the classroom.

Most of the studies in the review had been conducted in the United States, while one came out of Canada and the other out of South Africa.

The findings are published in the January issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

"We found strong evidence of a significant positive relationship between physical activity and academic performance," the researchers, led by Amika Singh of the Vrije Universiteit University Medical Center at the EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, said in a journal news release.

"The findings of one high-quality intervention study and one high-quality observational study suggest that being more physically active is positively related to improved academic performance in children," the authors noted.

New study reveals how bacteria fight fluoride

Researchers from Yale University have uncovered the molecular "tricks" used by bacteria to fight the effects of fluoride (Science, December 22, 2011).

The researchers found that sections of RNA messages called riboswitches -- which control the expression of genes -- detect the buildup of fluoride and activate the defenses of bacteria, including those that contribute to tooth decay.

"These riboswitches are detectors made specifically to see fluoride," stated senior study author Ronald Breaker, PhD, chair of the department of molecular, cellular, and developmental biology, in a press release.

Bird flu virus doesn't jump between humans: China

The latest bird flu virus that killed a 39-year-old bus driver in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen over the weekend is not yet transmissible between humans, Chinese health authorities said.

"The virus found in the patient was 90 percent similar to H5N1 viruses previously isolated in ducks in China, which suggested that the man was very likely to have been infected through direct contact with a bird," the Shenzhen Center for Disease Prevention and Control said in a statement.

"It is still not transmissible between people," it said, adding that the bus driver was probably infected through direct contact with birds.

The Health-Law Provisions Being Implemented in 2012

The future of the health-care overhaul law hinges on a decision by the Supreme Court in 2012; the court will hear a case challenging the law’s constitutionality over three days starting March 26, with a decision expected by the end of June. Meantime, though, more provisions of the law are due to be implemented next year. The Kaiser Family Foundation counts 10 such provisions, eight of which it says are in progress already.

The major provisions of the law, however, including the controversial individual mandate to purchase coverage and requirement that insurers accept all comers, don’t take effect until 2014 — if the law isn’t struck down or repealed. Here’s the Obama Administration’s timeline for the implementation of the law.

Enjoy your morning!

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