Monday, April 02, 2012

The Morning Drill: April 2, 2012

Good Monday morning!

On to today's dentistry and health headlines:

No Smiles in South Texas: Plaintiffs Sue Firm, Lawyers Alleging Defamation on Website and in Ads

Two dental companies and a support company have filed a suit against San Antonio's Mauzé & Bagby and partners George Watts Mauzé II and James Thomas Bagby III, alleging they were harmed by information the defendants disseminated on a website and in television and radio advertisements.

In the March 19 federal court complaint, Dentistry of Brownsville PC and KS2TX PC, two of the companies that do business in Texas as Kool Smiles, and NCDR LLC, a Marietta, Ga., company that provides staffing and support for group dental practices, bring causes of action alleging defamation, business disparagement, trademark infringement, false advertising, cyberpiracy prevention (anti-cybersquatting), injury to business reputation and trademark dilution. [See the complaint.]

The defendants deny the allegations.

In their complaint in NCDR LLC, et al. v. Mauzé & Bagby PLLC, et al ., filed in the Laredo Division of the Southern District of Texas, the plaintiffs allege the following: Beginning on Feb. 4, the defendants published a website "soliciting potential legal claims from Kool Smiles customers relating to pediatric dental services provided by Kool Smiles." On the website, the defendants allegedly made "false and unsubstantiated representations," including asking readers of the website if their children had been "strapped down to a papoose board?" were "upset, crying, terrified, or traumatized" or had a "mouthful of stainless steel crowns," among other things.

"Without any substantiation of their claims, Defendants' questions [on the website] deliberately misled the public by unfairly casting Kool Smiles and its provision of dental services in an unfavorable light," the plaintiffs allege.

The plaintiffs also claim the statements on the website attempt to tie Kool Smiles to instances of alleged Medicaid fraud. "The implication that Kool Smiles engages in Medicaid fraud in Texas is false, misleading to the public and has harmed Kool Smiles," the plaintiffs allege.

On Feb. 6, the plaintiffs allege, the defendants began "disseminating television advertisements soliciting claims from Kool Smiles customers" in El Paso and Harlingen, and radio advertisements making the solicitations in El Paso, Laredo and Harlingen.

As alleged, the defendants did not seek review of the website and ads from the State Bar of Texas Advertising Review Committee until Feb. 2, and did not receive pre-approval, the plaintiffs write. In letters from the committee to Mauzé & Bagby, which the plaintiffs attached as exhibits to their complaint, the committee asked the firm to provide "substantiation to representations" as required by Part 7 of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct.

In Feb. 16 letters to the committee, the firm detailed modifications to the website and ads and notified the committee it was temporarily stopping the advertising "for the purposes of making corrections," according to the exhibits attached to the plaintiffs' complaint.

The plaintiffs allege that, as a result of the advertisements and website content, Kool Smiles began receiving telephone calls from "concerned patients" and a significant number canceled or failed to appear for appointments, leading to a "consequent and substantial loss of revenue and profits."

Study Shows Better Fit for Digital Zirconia Crowns

Zirconia crowns with veneers made with digital impressions fit better than those made with conventional impressions, researchers reported here at the American Association for Dental Research 2012 Annual Meeting.

Although digital impression techniques are becoming more widespread, few studies have directly compared veneers made with digital impressions with those made with the conventional approach.

"The digital impression technique led to a significantly better margin fit and internal adaptation in all measured locations," said Dennis Fasbinder, DDS, from the School of Dentistry at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

To see which approach resulted in better-fitting crowns, the researchers made a crown with a zirconia core and a crown with a ceramic veneer for each of 50 cases, for a total of 100 crowns.

The surface veneers were made with 2 different processes. One crown in each matched pair was made with a conventional polyvinylsiloxane (PVS) impression, in which a stone die was made to fabricate the veneer by hand. The other crown was made with a digital impression — an intraoral scanner was used to create a veneer made with computer-aided design and manufacturing.

Can Bicycling Affect a Woman’s Sexual Health?

Spending time on a bicycle seat, which has been linked to erectile dysfunction in men, may also be a hazard to a woman’s sexual health, a new study shows.

Many women who cycle or take spin classes are familiar with the numbness that sometimes can occur from sitting on a traditional bike seat. Bike seats are designed in such a way that body weight typically rests on the nose of the seat, which can compress nerves and blood vessels in the genital area. In men, this raises the risk of erectile dysfunction, something that has been documented in studies of male police officers on bicycle patrol.

But female cyclists have not been studied as closely. A study by Yale researchers in 2006 found that female cyclists had less genital sensation compared with a control group of female runners. As a result, some scientists believe that female cyclists probably are at similar risk for sexual problems as male riders.

US won't ban chemical BPA from food packages

US regulators on Friday rejected an appeal by environmental groups to ban an industrial chemical known as bisphenol-A, saying there was not enough scientific evidence of harm in humans.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) however said its latest ruling on the petition brought by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) was not the final word and expressed support for further research on the safety of BPA.

The NRDC had sought a ban on BPA in food packaging, food containers, and other materials likely to come into contact with food, citing studies on animals that showed the hormone-disrupting chemical was linked to brain changes, chromosomal abnormalities and some cancers.

Some "emerging human research" has also suggested a possible link between BPA exposure and altered toddler behavior, miscarriage, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and erectile dysfunction, the NRDC has said.

"The FDA denied the NRDC petition because it did not have the scientific data needed for the FDA to change current regulations, which allows the use of BPA in food packaging," said a statement sent to AFP by FDA spokesman Doug Karas.

"While evidence from some studies have raised questions as to whether BPA may be associated with a variety of health effects, there remain serious questions about these studies, particularly as they relate to humans and the public health impact of BPA."

Karas added that research done by the FDA has shown that actual BPA exposure to human infants is 84-92 percent less than previously estimated.

Enjoy your morning!

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