Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Morning Drill: February 15, 2012

San Diego Padres’ Tony Gwynn
Tony Gwynn had 3,141 base hits and a .338 career batting average over his 20-year career with the Padres

Good Morning!

On to today's dentistry and health headlines:

Baseball Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn Blames Smokeless Tobacco for Oral Cancer

Tony Gwynn, the Hall of Fame outfielder who 18 months ago blamed smokeless tobacco for a malignant growth inside his right cheek, was in his 13th hour of surgery Tuesday evening to remove a new cancerous tumor in the same spot.

According to Gwynn’s wife, Alicia, doctors do not believe the cancer has spread outside of Gwynn’s salivary gland. But she expects to know more after Tuesday’s intricate surgery, in which she said five doctors would likely perform a nerve graft to preserve Gwynn’s facial functions. The operation began at approximately 9:15 a.m. PT, and, as of 11 p.m. PT, the 51-year-old Gwynn was still in the operating room.

Tony told them to take [the malignant tumor] all out,” Alicia Gwynn said Tuesday morning. “They said they may need to remove the facial nerve — they might have to go a lot deeper. But he just told them to take it out. And if they do remove the facial nerve, they’ll replace it with a nerve from his shoulder or his leg.

2 children dead after dental visits

Two sets of parents are demanding a criminal investigation into the same dentist in New Jersey.

A child from both families suddenly died after routine visits to the dentist.

"He was my dream.. My future. The light of my life," said Jose Quiej, the patient's father.

Little Juan Quiej was just three years old and suffered cardiac arrest during a routine dental procedure.

His mother watched helplessly as Juan slipped away.

"I started shaking and crying," Antonia Chajchalac-Garcia, the patient's mother said, "To this day, I don't know what happened or why."

She brought her son to Dental Health Associates in Irvington, New Jersey.

The procedure was conducted last week under local anesthesia by Patrick Bamgboye.

His dental license was suspended after a six-year-old patient died under somewhat similar circumstances in 2004.

Sinus infection? Antibiotics won't help

Roughly 20% of the antibiotic prescriptions written in the United States for adults each year are for sinus infections. That's an impressive statistic, given that doctors and public health officials have long doubted that antibiotics can successfully treat the condition.

A new study, published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association, appears to confirm those doubts: The antibiotic amoxicillin was no better than placebo at improving the congestion, cough, runny nose, pain, and other symptoms that accompany sinus infections (also known as acute sinusitis), researchers found.

"Compared to placebo, amoxicillin doesn't seem to provide any benefits," says lead author Jane Garbutt, an associate professor at the Washington University School of Medicine, in St. Louis. "In terms of patient satisfaction, side effects, symptom relief, days missed from work, et cetera, we did not see any difference."

Most sinus infections are caused by viruses, which don't respond to antibiotics. But even bacterial sinus infections rarely require antibiotic treatment, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In most cases, both types of infection go away on their own in less than two weeks.

"Most patients get better despite antibiotics, not because of them," says Garbutt. "There is a high rate of spontaneous resolution."

Doctors Warned About Counterfeit Avastin, a Popular Cancer Drug

This is troubling on so many levels. The maker of the Avastin cancer drug is currently warning doctors and hospitals that a fake version of the drug has been found, and it's really hard to tell if you might have the fraudulent version. Genentech, which makes Avastin, was short on details of how much fake medicine is out there and how many people are using it -- they simply found that some vials of "Avastin" did not contain the active ingredient. "It's not Avastin. It's not safe and effective, and it shouldn't be used," a spokeswoman said in a Wall Street Journal report.

Enjoy your morning!

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