health

Teach Your Children

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There is actually an international association of dental professionals who use eco-friendly methods.

It is called the Eco-Dentistry Association.And it offers six tips for improving dental health – and the environment.For a start, it recommends that children should start early.

It says dentistry is a healing experience and should not be traumatic. Trauma – and the fear of dental chairs and drills – is best prevented when one takes children to dental appointments at a young age.

Teach children to turn off the water while brushing the teeth.

Teenagers should try using night guards. These devices prevent damage caused by clenching and grinding related to stress.

Choose the night guard created by your dentist specific to the teenager’s bite. Be sure that it is not made of plastics potentially detrimental to the environment.

Select the appropriate mouthwash for children – the one that doesn’t contain alcohol. This is important because a tooth tonic or mouthwash should be introduced as a dental routine during the teenage years – and alcohol is certainly an ingredient that is not part of this.

Then try digital imaging. Although the technology is not so widespread in the Philippines, it is available and used in some clinics like Dr. Smile at The Podium in the Ortigas business center in Pasig and at SM North Edsa, The Annex, Lower Ground Level, Q.C.

These diagnostic images use less radiation than radiographs (also called X-rays). The digital images don’t degrade over time and are easily sent by e-mail to you, your dentists and other appropriate specialists.

And while we are dwelling on the topic of what’s the right dental care for our children, I will take this opportunity to offer a few advice for adults as well. Mind you, these recommendations come from no less than the American Dental Association.

Eating – and crunching ice cubes – is a favorite pastime, as if the cubes are part of the snacks as well. For that matter, include candy and popcorn that hasn’t popped, or any other hard chewables that should not be chewed or crunched.

This is a no-no habit as it can fracture teeth.

Clean teeth the right way. This is done by ridding of food debris the space between the gumline and the point where gum attaches to the tooth. Turn the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle in order for the bristles to reach out-of-the-way places.

Use dental floss in order to reach particularly deep pockets. Tie a single or double knot in the floss to reach food particles.

When flossing the back teeth, curve the thread around the tooth and push it underneath the gumline.

Change toothbrush regularly. A change is due when the outer bristles of the brush start to flare or look like overgrown bush instead of the straight lines they were on during first use.

Last but not least, stop smoking. Smoking is so destructive to teeth and gums that many gum specialists in the United States won’t even treat smokers with dental problems because they don’t respond well to treatment.

For more information, visit the American Dental Association’s Web site: ada.org.

Dr. Joseph D. Lim is the Dean of the College of Dentistry, National University, President/CEO of Dr. Smile Dental Care & Laser Center and honorary fellow of the Asian Oral Implant Academy and the Japan College of Oral Implantologists. For questions on dental health, e-mail jdlim2008@gmail.com or text 0917-8591515.

Coral Protein Can Fight HIV

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National Cancer Institute researchers have discovered a new class of protein found in sea coral that appears able to prevent HIV from entering T cells. If the proteins can be adapted for use in sexual lubricants and gels, they could offer a new form of barrier against HIV infection.

The study findings featured at the Experimental Biology 2014 meeting in San Diego on 29 April.

Senior investigator Dr. Barry O’Keefe, deputy chief of the Molecular Targets Laboratory at the Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), says:

“It’s always thrilling when you find a brand-new protein that nobody else has ever seen before. And the fact that this protein appears to block HIV infection – and to do it in a completely new way – makes this truly exciting.”

The team discovered the proteins while screening thousands of natural product extracts in an NCI biological repository. Belonging to a class called cnidarins, the proteins were found in feathery corals collected from the sea off the north coast of Australia.

Co-investigator Dr. Koreen Ramessar, an NCI research fellow, says the cnidarins can block HIV without making the virus resistant to other HIV drugs, making them ideal for inclusion in anti-HIV microbicides, for which there is a pressing need. Women can use anti-HIV gels and lubricants without having to rely on a man being willing to use a condom.

Dr. O’Keefe says, “even if the virus became resistant to these proteins, it would likely still be sensitive to all of the therapeutic options that are currently available.”

After purifying the proteins, the team tested them on lab strains of HIV. They found them to be remarkably potent. Even at concentrations as low as a billionth of a gram, the proteins could block HIV and prevent the first step in the virus’ transmission where it penetrates T cells in the immune system.

The cnidarins appear to bind to the virus and stop it fusing with the membrane of the T cell. Dr. Ramessar says this is “completely different from what we’ve seen with other proteins, so we think the cnidarin proteins have a unique mechanism of action.”

Belonging to a class called cnidarins, the proteins were found in corals collected off the north coast of Australia.

The team now plans to improve ways to produce the proteins in larger quantities so they can be tested more extensively, for instance to find any side effects or if they might work against other viruses.

Dr. O’Keefe says this will be an important step, commenting that “you can’t strip the Earth of this coral trying to harvest this protein.”

The team found the proteins in the NCI’s large repository of natural product extracts, which collects natural specimens from around the world with the consent of their countries of origin. The repository is available to scientists across the US.

Dr. O’Keefe describes the NCI repository as a “national treasure,” where “you never know what you might find.”

He says he hopes news of discoveries like this one will encourage more scientists to use the repository.

In November 2013, Medical News Today learned how another study led by Swansea University in the UK and reported in the journal Nature Materials suggested bone grafts may be better with new sea coral material. The small trial in 16 patients found refining sea coral into coralline hydroxyapatite/calcium carbonate made it more compatible and degradable for use in bone grafts than a currently used derivative.

(Catharine Paddock, PhD/Medical News Today)

Milk and Oral Health

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A new study on milk and diet has found that high levels of dairy calcium and serum vitamin D in milk can lead to greater weight loss.

The new study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, examined over a period of two years more than 300 men and women, aged 40-65, who were overweight or at risk of putting on excess weight.

Even with allowance for variables such as age, gender, baseline Body Mass Index and total fat intake, the study concludes that an increased intake of milk – for those already on diets – led to greater weight loss.

The British Dental Health Foundation, the leading oral health charity in the United Kingdom, was quick to say that dentists have been saying all along that milk and water are the only two safe drinks when it comes to maintaining good teeth and general oral health.

Milk, which contains significant amounts of saturated fat, protein and calcium as well as vitamin C, has been reported to reduce the risk of many diseases in babies. Cow milk contains, on average, 3.4 percent protein, 3.6 percent fat, and 4.6 percent lactose, 0.7 percent minerals and supplies 66 kilo calories of energy per 100 grams.

The largest producers of dairy products and milk today are India followed by the United States, Germany and Pakistan.

The top 10 per capita consumers of cow milk and cow milk products in the world are Finland, Sweden, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.

French chemist and biologist Louis Pasteur in 1863 invented pasteurization, a method of killing harmful bacteria in beverage and food products. Pasteurization kills harmful microorganisms by heating the milk for a short time and then cooling it for storage and transportation.

Ultra pasteurization, or ultra-high temperature treatment (UHT on your milk labels), heats the milk to a higher temperature for a shorter time that the standard process. This extends its shelf life and allows the milk to be stored unrefrigerated because of the longer lasting sterilization.

“It is not clear if a greater intake of milk and calcium itself helped to increase weight loss, or if it could be down to a reduced calorie intake caused by replacing sugar containing fizzy drinks with milk,” observed Dr. Nigel Carter, Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation.

But if knowing that milk consumption leads to weight loss encourages more adults to swap sodas and fruit juices for milk, “then in terms of oral health it is definitely a good thing,” he said.

Reducing the intake of drinks that contain high levels of sugar will protect teeth against decay, and drinking less fizzy drinks will help decrease risks of dental erosion, he said in a press statement.

“People often do not realize that it is how often sugar occurs in a diet, rather than how much sugar, that makes the difference to the condition of the teeth,” Dr. Carter pointed out.

“Each time someone eats or drinks something containing sugar, their teeth are under attack for an hour, before the balance in the mouth is corrected,” he said. “Minimizing how often these attacks occur is a vital part of maintaining healthy teeth and gums,” said Dr. Carter whose foundation is an advocate of brushing teeth twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste, and visiting a dentist as often as recommended.

My Town

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The summer heat is driving more people to spend their breaks in Tagaytay City. To most Metro Manilans, Tagaytay is the next option to Baguio City. This is, however, misplaced. Tagaytay can never be cooler than Baguio and, most of all, it definitely cannot offer the kind of rich, mystical culture that the Cordillera has. Tagaytay, in fact, is losing its bucolic charm and giving way to an urban frenzy that, if it runs away, will make it looking like any other burgeoning Philippine city, with the same malls, same cafes, and same space-gnawing condominiums.

Intoxicating Aroma

When we first transferred here more than a dozen years ago, we were seeking for a quiet environment. Our humble house was hemmed in by a coffee plantation on one side and a pineapple farm on the other. And whenever the coffee flowers bloomed, the air would be filled by an intoxicating aroma. Whenever I would take my early morning walks, birds of various colors would dart from one clump of trees to another. But these are all gone. Even the fireflies that used to light the huge camachile tree in front of our house have left for good.

Today, there are high buildings puncturing the blue skies of the chartered city. Except for those who have the wherewithal to buy units in them, I have yet to meet somebody who is ecstatic about the condominiums. The consensus is that they are ugly, perhaps expecting that Tagaytay retain its country air forever. To the credit of Ayalas, they have made their own versions of condominiums here follow the contours of the land, carefully working around old trees.

There used to be a Metro Tagaytay Master Plan which stipulated strict restrictions on how high structures could be built in the city. The idea was when you look at Tagaytay from Laurel or Talisay in Batangas, for instance, there wouldn’t be any edifice jutting out and violating the undulating horizontal lines. The Master Plan was also clear on the principle of easement of views – that no structure should be built that would obstruct the view of neighbors. Tall buildings should be in the inner districts, with much regard for the environment. The planners weren’t saying so but they probably meant: go slow on the carbon footprints.  But, today, impelled by mounds of cash, developers cannot resist building tiers upon tiers of rooms with a commanding view of Taal Volcano – a magical mirage shimmering on an ever-blue lake.

Mushrooming Edifices

Just a few years ago, there was hardly anything else to do in Tagaytay but to settle into a meditative groove.  You get infected by the prayerful vibes that come from the scores of churches, chapels, and retreat houses that densify the city. For your dine-out dates, there were just Josephine’s, Diners, and Kaye Ryan. If you want to go dancing, there was One Bagger. For groceries and banking, you had to motor down to Alabang.

In one sweep of a wand, restaurants with differentiating market positions have sprung up everywhere in Tagaytay. I have nicknamed a cluster of restaurants as the bulalo belt, all of them jostling for customers who hanker for hot beef soup and heavenly bone marrow, a fare to die for. Starbucks has three outlets within a five kilometer stretch. The strongest, highest grossing Starbucks in the Philippines is in Tagaytay, that is why its management send their new baristas here for them to perfect their caffeine preps.

Government Initiatives

Tagaytay was probably among the first movers as a smoke-free, plastic-strict city. To the city hall’s credit, it has been able to prevent billboards from proliferating in the city. The leaders may also want to make the city din-free. The influx of visitors have made the streets unkind to people. In a stroke of irony where the rich collaborate with the poor, the macho men in hot leather jackets and big bikes unite with the tricycle drivers in stinking sando and safe-suspect contraption in assaulting the environment.  The ridge road has formed a noise tunnel for transposed urban traffic.

At the same time. our barangay leaders in San Jose are apparently inutile in curbing noise in their neighborhood, with karaoke singers doing their ghastly thing 24 hours a day. Dyaskepatawarin! Don’t tell me it is a national malady like indolence is.

Thankfully today, the city hall is replacing the multicolored street lamps with tall no-nonsense posts and bright streetlights. The leaders have to respond to the economic upsurge and the changing demographics of the city. Already, we are experiencing unexplained waterless days. This can really be frustrating. It is easy to suspect that the flurry of construction and the growing number of people in the city are pressing on the capability of the local government to deliver basic needs.

The city cries for wider roads with safe sidewalks to boot. Tagaytay could probably do what Dasmarinas City did and that is, do not wait for the national government and spend local money to improve at least the main arteries. The Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay Route, once a farm-to-market road, has become too narrow with rumbling bumper-to-bumper traffic wasting fuel and time. Perhaps Congressman Bambol Tolentino is working on a solution now.

I heard from the grapevine that Metro Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino is contemplating on getting back the mayorship position in Tagaytay. Running the MMDA is a thankless job. Sala sa lamig, sala sa init ang ano mang gawin mo don. In spite of that, he is doing a splendid job. His bent to put hanging gardens in that dreary urban jungle probably stemmed from his stint as head of a then sleepy town. It was clean and really green. Perhaps, if ever he re-assumes the helm of the city, he would like to bring the bitter lessons of Metro Manila and this is, resist the allure of concrete and neon that only accelerate the decay of any city. – 30

Middle East Virus Is Potential Global Threat

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By Nicole Ann M. Aguila

A virus threat is something to be alarmed about, because it may not only occur in the Middle East, but also spread around the globe. Filipinos might think that we would not become susceptible to this kind of illness. But that is not true, because we are not superhuman.  Infection by the said virus is always possible, especially because migration from country to country happens on a regular basis.

These past few weeks, the MERS-CoV-related news doesn’t fail to pop up on the news headlines. This deadly virus, first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012, has already taken 27 lives out of 49 infected individuals.

Last August 29, 2013, a Pinay nurse who suffered from pneumonia, which is one of the severe indications of MERS-CoV, has been confirmed positive for the said virus. A male overseas Filipino worker who only just got back in Manila was also tested positive for the MERS-CoV.

DOH Secretary Enrique Ona believed that the OFW, who is also a nurse, had interaction with the infected person in the UAE. The male health worker was put on confinement.

“He has no symptoms.  He has the virus but he is not sick with it.  But he still can infect others so we put him in isolation.  We can say that he’s a carrier.  It means he was exposed to the virus,” Ona said.

The OFW was observed for five days to see if he still has the virus. Secretary Ona also added that there is a probability that he might get sick or can infect others in two weeks.

After repeating the examination by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), the OFW was declared cleared from MERS-CoV virus, according to Ona.

They will also be tracing the seatmates on the plane and other people that the person interacted with so that they would be assessed, observed and quarantined if needed. This is to make sure that these people are not infected and had no symptoms. These are all preventive procedures. Government will also take up the expenditures of those who will get ill with MERS-CoV or get quarantined.

Undersecretary Eric Tayag said on Twitter that the Philippines became the 12th country and the first in Asia with confirmed cases of MERS-CoV. But there were reports that a Malaysian was the first person in Asia to capitulate to the said virus.

“To contain MERS-CoV spread, quarantine those who had contact with known infection and isolate those who became sick after contact with a known case,” Secretary Ona also tweeted.

This deadly virus can easily spread throughout the country and even become the next ‘SARS’ if it is not given sufficient attention. To be protected from it, Filipinos need to be educated about this virus threat. After all, prevention is better than cure.

(Ms. Aguila is currently an intern for OpinYon. She is an incoming fourth year student in AB Communication Arts in Malayan College in Cabuyao, Laguna.)

 

Dentists Can Identify Deadly Disease

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The dental chair could be the seat of detecting the early signs of diabetes.

And a dental visit, according to researchers at the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, is an excellent chance to identify unrecognized and pre-diabetes conditions.

It is an excellent opportunity to intervene in the epidemic by identifying individuals with diabetes or pre-diabetes who are unaware of their condition, the researchers say in a study published in the July issue of the Journal of Dental Research.

The statistics add up. Gum disease is an early complication of diabetes, and about 70 percent of American adults see a dentist at least once a year, says Dr. Ira Lamster, the senior author of the paper and Dean of the College of Dental Medicine.

That could be a window of opportunity for dental care to play a significant role in the detection and prevention of diabetes, the incidence of which is increasing here and abroad.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in four Americans affected with type 2 diabetes remains undiagnosed. And those with pre-diabetes are at an increased risk for type 2 diabetes and also for heart disease, stroke and other vascular conditions typical of individuals with diabetes.

The window of opportunity is not wishful thinking because researchers found that only two dental parameters – the number of missing teeth and percentage of deep pockets caused by gum disease – were effective in identifying patients with unrecognized pre-diabetes or diabetes.

The researchers found this out among some 600 individuals who visited a dental clinic in New York’s Northern Manhattan. These individuals had never been told they have diabetes or pre-diabetes.

About 530 patients with at least one additional self-reported diabetes risk factor (family history of diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension or the risk of obesity) received a gum examination and a finger-stick and a hemoglobin A1c test which indicates whether an individual has diabetes or pre-diabetes.

“Early recognition of diabetes has been the focus of efforts from medical and public health colleagues for years, as early treatment of affected individuals can limit the development of many serious complications,” says the study’s lead author, Dr. Evanthia Lalla, an Associate Professor at the College of Dental Medicine.

“Relatively simple lifestyle changes in pre-diabetic individuals can prevent progression to diabetes, so identifying this group of individuals is also important,” she adds. “Our findings provide a simple approach that can be easily used in all dental-care settings.”

The study sought to develop and evaluate an identification protocol for high blood sugar levels in dental patients and was supported by a research grant from Colgate-Palmolive, the College of Dental Medicine says in a press statement, adding the authors report no potential financial or other conflicts.

Sex Doubles Life Expectancy

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You probably already know that Broccoli, carrots, and oranges are good for you. Yet it’s rarely mentioned that having regular sex is not only fantastically fun, but brilliant for your health! A study at Queens University in Belfast published in the British Medical Journal tracked the sexuality of about 1,000 middle-aged men over the course of a decade. The study compared men of a similar age and health and showed that men who reported the highest frequency of orgasm lived twice as long as though who did not enjoy sex.

Yoga, treadmills, and weightlifting are all great ways to keep in shape. But the fact that sex is so beneficial to our health is rarely discussed. Every muscle in the body can be worked and toned, particularly the pelvis, buttocks, stomach and arms. Sex has been proven to lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol, and increase circulation. The heartbeat rises from 70 to 150 beats per minute. In fact, people who regularly indulge are half as likely to have heart attacks and strokes than those who don’t have sex at all.

Sex is also wonderful for weight loss since 30 minutes will burn 200 calories! In addition sex calms food cravings because it stimulates the production of phenetylamine, a natural amphetamine that regulates the appetite.

Having regular orgasms is one great way to protect against coughs and colds. Sex saturates the blood with an antibody called immunoglobulin A that is known to boost immunity. At the moment of climax, a powerful chemical called DHEA is released, which also balances the immune system, as well as aids in tissue repair, improves cognition, and promotes bone growth.

Having regular sex can also help beat stress. Oxytocin is a hormone released just before orgasm and helps the body to secrete endorphins, or the inner positivity and chill out hormone. It is a useful remedy for insomniacs, and delivers relaxation to people who are overworked and stressed out. Tension affects the digestive system, so one of the side effects of sex is that the body is able to absorb the nutrients from food more easily.

Several studies have shown that semen just might be a natural antidepressant. Woman who had regular unprotected sex were less likely to be depressed than women who did not have sex or used a condom. One explanation might be that the vagina absorbs all sorts of goodies from her lover’s spunk including zinc, calcium, potassium, and protein.

Sexual stimulation has been proven to be an analgesic. According to the famous professor and sexologist Beverly Whipple, when women masturbated to orgasm, their pain tolerance threshold and pain detection threshold increased significantly from 74.6 to 106.7. This most pleasurable of painkillers is helpful for ailments such as headaches, muscle pains, and menstrual cramps.

Sex promotes the production of collagen, which keeps the skin supple and gives it that peachy glow. As women get older, their juices can dry up. Keeping sexually active is the best cure, as well as the most delicious. Furthermore, sex is one of the best ways to stay young in spirit.

(Sheryl Walters / Natural News)