Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Morning Drill: May 10, 2012

Dr. Bruce Fisher - charges dropped

Good Thursday morning!

On to today's dentistry and health headlines:

Charges against Lewes dentist dropped

Delaware Department of Justice has dropped its offensive touching case against Lewes dentist Dr. Bruce Fisher in Sussex County Family Court.

Jason Miller, spokesman for the Department of Justice, said the charges were dropped because of insufficient evidence before trial. He said the department had no further comment at this time.

Fisher, 44, was arrested March 9 after he allegedly covered the mouth of an 8-year old and told him to shut up. Police said the child was at Fisher’s First State Oral Surgery for a medical procedure and began screaming after the procedure was finished. A family member was in the room and reported Fisher to Delaware State Police.

Cavity-fighting measure sinks along with civil unions

A bill aimed at thwarting cavities in babies became collateral damage in the fight over civil unions in Colorado late Tuesday night.

Senate Bill 12-108 had sailed through earlier hearings and was expected to pass in the House on Tuesday night, then be up for final approval today.

But the bill died along with nearly three dozen other measures that were held hostage during the civil unions standoff.

SB 108 would have provided funding for dental benefits for pregnant moms on Medicaid. Research has shown that mothers who have tooth decay and untreated cavities can pass bacteria to their babies, thus infecting their teeth and causing some babies and toddlers to lose all their baby teeth before age 3. Poor dental health of mothers also has been associated with premature birth, another highly expensive health problem.

Numerous dental experts from Children’s Hospital Colorado and the Colorado Dental Association had worked with advocates for low-income patients and members of the legislature’s Joint Budget Committee to find funding to help pregnant mothers take better care of their teeth.

“We are disappointed,” said Dr. Ulrich Klein, a doctor of dentistry at Children’s Hospital and chair of the pediatric dentistry at the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine. “We have been fighting this battle for so long.”

New Cautions About Long-Term Use of Bone Drugs

In an unusual move that may prompt millions of women to rethink their use of popular bone-building drugs, the Food and Drug Administration published an analysis that suggested caution about long-term use of the drugs, but fell short of issuing specific recommendations.

The F.D.A. review, published in The New England Journal of Medicine online on Wednesday, was prompted by a growing debate over how long women should continue using the drugs, known as bisphosphonates, which are sold as generic versions of brands like Fosamax and Boniva, as well as Novartis’s Reclast.

The concern is that after years of use, the drugs may in rare cases actually lead to weaker bones in certain women, contributing to “rare but serious adverse events,” including unusual femur fractures, esophageal cancer and osteonecrosis of the jaw, a painful and disfiguring crumbling of the jaw bone.

Although the concerns about the long-term safety of bone drugs are not new, the F.D.A. performed its own systematic review of the effectiveness of bisphosphonates after years of use. The agency’s analysis, which found little if any benefit from the drugs after three to five years of use, may prompt doctors around the country to rethink how they prescribe them.

Scientists Identify Neurotranmitters That Lead to Forgetting

While we often think of memory as a way of preserving the essential idea of who we are, little thought is given to the importance of forgetting to our wellbeing, whether what we forget belongs in the "horrible memories department" or just reflects the minutia of day-to-day living.

Despite the fact that forgetting is normal, exactly how we forget -- the molecular, cellular, and brain circuit mechanisms underlying the process -- is poorly understood.

Now, in a study that appears in the May 10, 2012 issue of the journal Neuron, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute have pinpointed a mechanism that is essential for forming memories in the first place and, as it turns out, is equally essential for eliminating them after memories have formed.

"This study focuses on the molecular biology of active forgetting," said Ron Davis, chair of the Scripps Research Department of Neuroscience who led the project. "Until now, the basic thought has been that forgetting is mostly a passive process. Our findings make clear that forgetting is an active process that is probably regulated."

Enjoy your morning!

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