Thursday, April 05, 2012

The Afternoon Drill: April 5, 2012

Wendy Houvenaghel, Dentist

Good Thursday afternoon!

On to today's dentistry and health headlines:

Northern Ireland Dentist goes for Gold in London 2012 Olympics

A Northern Ireland dentist is set to go for gold in the 2012 London Olympics.

Wendy Houvenaghel, 37, will be competing in the 3km individual pursuit cycling event and isn’t a stranger to awards, after winning silver in Beijing, coming second to her British team-mate Rebecca Romero.

For the time being she has set down her dentistry tools and says she will be completely focused on the event for the upcoming month, especially as she is aiming for gold this time round. “I’m totally committed to attempt to win the gold medal with my team-mates in August.”

Wendy, who also held a career as a Royal Air Force Flight Lieutenant, plans to continue with her dental work after the games are over, saying “There’s a lot I need to think about in the future, but at the moment I can only think about the next few weeks and months and the Olympic Games. I’d imagine at some point in time I’ll pick up my dentist drill again and resume that career.”

Nevada working to curb backroom doctors, dentists

When their patient became ill from a buttocks enhancement injection, unlicensed caregivers Ruben Dario Matallana-Galvas and his wife, Carmen Olfidia Torres-Sanchez, fled to McCarran International Airport. They were arrested trying to board a flight home to Colombia.

The 42-year-old mother of three they were treating in the back room of a Las Vegas tile store died.

Shortly after Matallana-Galvas and Torres-Sanchez were sent to state prison, a complaint about cars blocking a driveway led police to find people dressed in surgical scrubs inside a southwest Las Vegas home. Prosecutors say a New York woman was performing eyelift surgeries in the living room. Patients with bandaged faces were taken to a hospital. The woman, 55, was taken to jail.

She told officers she had been a doctor in China. Authorities say she's not licensed in Nevada.

In Reno, a person hospitalized with life-threatening complications from a botched dental procedure told police about a man practicing dentistry in a nondescript mobile home. The man, 56, claimed he was a dental assistant in another country, police said. But he also had prior convictions locally for practicing dentistry without a license.

"We suspected this was going on," said Reno police Lt. Mohammed Rafaqat several days after the March arrest of the fake dentist, "but as we dug into it we found it was more common.

"No insurance. No money. People want to get treated," Rafaqat said. "This is what happens."

Green tea could cloud Olympic doping tests

Olympic doping officials are considering whether to tweak their tests after a recent British study showed green tea might hide testosterone from the standard test used to spot it.

The study was a test in a lab dish so scientists aren't sure if the effects will be the same in people. But some experts say the results are intriguing enough that Olympic testing could be updated to include that possibility.

"It's interesting that something as common as tea could have a significant influence on the steroid profile," said Olivier Rabin, scientific director of the World Anti-Doping Agency, or WADA. He said other foods and beverages, such as alcohol, are also known to muddle test results.

"We may need to adjust our steroid (test) to allow us to exclude whether a test is modified by food or training or disease, before we can say that it's doping," Rabin said. He said they might have to raise their normal threshold for what is a considered a legal amount of testosterone to allow for any such interference.

"There's no reason to think we just happened to pick the only food in the world that does this," said Declan Naughton of Kingston University, who published the green tea research with colleagues in the journal, Steroids.

Naughton said the green tea contains catechins, also found in white tea, which seem to stop an enzyme involved in detecting testosterone. By preventing that enzyme from working, testosterone largely goes unnoticed in the body and doesn't get passed into the urine — where officials usually test for the hormone.

Charles Yesalis, a doping expert at Pennsylvania State University, said officials needed to react quickly.

"Athletes will not wait for the clinical trials," he said. "I'll bet there are already lots of athletes out there drinking loads of green tea," he added.

Washington has whooping cough 'epidemic'

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, has reached "epidemic levels" in the state of Washington, health officials say.

As of March 31, the state had 640 cases compared to 94 cases at the same time last year. This could put Washington “on-pace to have the highest number of reported cases in decades,” according to the health department's press release.

There have not been any reported  deaths, said a spokesman for the health department. The state had two whooping cough deaths in 2010 and two in 2011.

Whooping cough is a highly contagious disease caused by bacteria that can lead to severe upper respiratory infections. The bacteria spread in tiny droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Symptoms can resemble a cold at first, but as the disease persists, it may cause severe coughing attacks that end with a high-pitched whooping sound.

The disease is preventable through a vaccine, which is given to children through a series of five injections from 2 months to 4 or 6 years of age. Whooping cough is most serious in infants, especially when they’re too young to get vaccinated or aren’t fully protected yet.

Enjoy your afternoon!

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