Monday, February 06, 2012

The Morning Drill: February 6, 2012

Former Eagles fullback Kevin Turner, who has been diagnosed with ALS, is suing the NFL for negligence

Good Monday Morning!

On to today's dentistry and health headlines:

CDA pulls plug on Watsonville fluoridation project

Following a 10-year battle that went all the way to the California Supreme Court, a decision was made this week for the city of Watsonville, CA, not to adopt water fluoridation due to the cost of implementing the fluoridation system.

Watsonville's battle over water fluoridation dates back to 2002, when residents voted by a small margin to eliminate the practice. But the city lost a subsequent court battle that went all the way to the state Supreme Court, in which it contested a 1995 state law that requires any California city with a population of more than 10,000 to fluoridate its water if outside funding is provided.

Head-trauma lawsuits against NFL grow into hundreds

A nasty collision during a kickoff in 1997 left Kevin Turner seeing stars.

The former Philadelphia Eagles fullback, who spent eight seasons battering through defensive lines in the National Football League, said the hit left him wondering where he was.

Still, the team's medical staff looked him over and eventually sent him back out to play, he said.

"The doctor looked in my eyes," Turner recalled in a statement delivered by his attorney in response to questions from CNN. "He then told me to remember these words, either four or five simple, basic words."

But the task proved daunting.

"It was the weirdest thing ever and most frustrating because at the time I was clamoring to get back into the game," said Turner. "I was really trying so hard. And I remember it being just the most frustrating thing ever."

By the second half, he'd remembered.

"I went back in the game after halftime and played the rest of the game," he added in the statement to CNN.

A little over a decade later, the former Eagle is battling the debilitating effects of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, often known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease.

Vaccine Eyed for Early-Stage Prostate Ca

The immunotherapy agent sipuleucel-T (Provenge) appears safe for use earlier in prostate cancer, researchers found.

Neoadjuvant treatment in localized prostate cancer didn't impact surgery or complications, though one of the 42 patients in the phase II trial experienced a serious infusion reaction, Lawrence Fong, MD, of the University of California San Francisco, and colleagues reported.

The trial also confirmed the expected immune-cell responses when given outside of the approved setting in patients with metastatic prostate cancer.

"What this opens the door to, far down the road, is perhaps taking high-risk patients and maybe pretreating them with sipuleucel-T to help their immune system recognize cancer before it has the chance to metastasize," commented Leonard Gomella, MD, of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and chair of the conference program committee.

That early stage setting theoretically is where the prostate cancer vaccine would work best, Fong noted in an interview with MedPage Today. "Men with more limited cancer will be less immune compromised," he explained.

Sipuleucel-T therapy involves collecting a patients' own peripheral white blood cells, which undergo ex vivo treatment to induce recognition and reaction to tumor cell antigens, and then infused back as a mix of activated and antigen-presenting cells.

The theory that this treatment induces an immune attack on the tumor has been suggested by post-treatment blood samples showing an uptick in certain types of immune cells, but advanced prostate cancer doesn't offer ready opportunities for biopsy to confirm an impact on the tumor itself.

New York City Defends Health Ads That Frighten the Viewer

The city’s health department uses no sugar-coating in its latest ads, which feature images of overweight people whose mobility is impaired to warn of the dangers of ever-growing portions of unhealthy food and soft drinks.

The ads are the latest installment in a campaign by the Bloomberg administration to jolt New Yorkers out of bad health habits; other ads, which have run in the transit system and on local broadcast outlets and the Internet, have depicted smokers who lost fingertips or their ability to speak normally.

The city’s approach — in one recent ad it sharpened its message by editing off a model’s leg — has drawn some criticism for its negativity. But it is not the health department’s first brush with controversy: In 2009, it ran an ad that suggested drinking a can of soda a day could add 10 pounds of fat a year. Internal e-mails exposed dissent about that claim among officials of the department.

On a lighter note, the department has been running an ad that claims a person would have to walk the three miles from Union Square in Manhattan to Brooklyn to burn off the calories in a 20-ounce soda.

Have a good morning!

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