After the discovery that severe gum disease can be associated with a higher risk of head and neck cancer cases caused by the Human Pailloma Virus (HPV), The British Dental Health Foundation aims to educate the public on good oral health. Researchers discovered that in comparison with patients with HPV-negative tumors, those with HPV-positive tumors had a considerably higher bone loss, which is a key element for developing severe gum disease.
According to the latest figures, over 6,000 people in the UK have oral cancer, a disease that claims nearly 2,000 lives. The incident rates of oral cancer due to HPV are increasing, with experts indicating that within a decade, HPV may rival tobacco use as the main cause for oral cancer. Other risk factors for oral cancer include smoking, excessive drinking and poor diet.
The importance of the research is even more significant as it also shows that more teeth are lost through periodontal (gum) disease than through tooth decay.
In a study, published in the Archives of Otolaryngology, the researchers examined 124 patients with oral cancer and discovered that the cancer in 50 patients was a result of HPV. Lead researcher Mine Tezal, D.D.S., Ph.D., of the University at Buffalo said: "Periodontitis is easy to detect and may represent a clinical high-risk profile for oral HPV infection."
This is not the first time that poor oral health and cancer have been associated with each other. However, further research is needed to determine the precise relationship between the link of severe gum disease and a higher risk of HPV-related oral cancer. According to a recent study at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, failing to clean your teeth properly could raise the risk of premature death due to cancer. The Swedish team discovered that high levels of dental plaque, which causes gum disease, and cancer mortality can result in an up to 13-year earlier premature death.
Both study results combined provide even stronger evidence that good oral health is vital said Dr. Nigel Carter, OBE, Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, saying:
"A greater understanding of how we can tackle this potentially life-threatening disease could lead to many lives being saved. Most of us suffer from gum disease at some point in our lives, yet it is entirely preventable. By developing and keeping a good oral health routine it lowers the risk of gum disease and any possible links to more serious diseases. We should all take time to reflect on how we can make that a reality."
"Brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste, cleaning in between teeth daily with interdental brushes or floss, cutting down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks and visiting the dentist regularly, as often as they recommend will be a great starting point. If you have swollen gums that bleed regularly when brushing, bad breath, loose teeth or regular mouth infections appear, it is likely you have gum disease."
Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Maryland report promising results from using adult stem cells from bone marrow in mice to help create tissue cells of other organs, such as the heart, brain and pancreas - a scientific step they hope may lead to potential new ways to replace cells lost in diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson's or Alzheimer's. The research in collaboration with the University of Paris Descartes is published online in Comptes Rendus Biologies, a publication of the French Academy of Sciences.
"Finding stem cells capable of restoring function to different damaged organs would be the Holy Grail of tissue engineering," says lead author David Trisler, PhD, assistant professor of neurology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
He adds, "This research takes us another step in that process by identifying the potential of these adult bone marrow cells, or a subset of them known as CD34+ bone marrow cells, to be 'multipotent,' meaning they could transform and function as the normal cells in several different organs."
University of Maryland researchers previously developed a special culturing system to collect a select sample of these adult stem cells in bone marrow, which normally makes red and white blood cells and immune cells. In this project, the team followed a widely recognized study model, used to prove the multipotency of embryonic stem cells, to prove that these bone marrow stem cells could make more than just blood cells. The investigators also found that the CD34+ cells had a limited lifespan and did not produce teratomas, tumors that sometimes form with the use of embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells cultivated from other methods that require some genetic manipulation.
"When taken at an early stage, we found that the CD34+ cells exhibited similar multipotent capabilities as embryonic stem cells, which have been shown to be the most flexible and versatile. Because these CD34+ cells already exist in normal bone marrow, they offer a vast source for potential cell replacement therapy, particularly because they come from a person's own body, eliminating the need to suppress the immune system, which is sometimes required when using adults stem cells derived from other sources," explains Paul Fishman, MD, PhD, professor of neurology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
The researchers say that proving the potential of these adult bone marrow stem cells opens new possibilities for scientific exploration, but that more research will be needed to see how this science can be translated to humans.
"The results of this international collaboration show the important role that University of Maryland School of Medicine researchers play in advancing scientific understanding, investigating new avenues for the development of potentially life-changing treatments," says E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., vice president for medical affairs at the University of Maryland and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
This project builds on three decades of collaboration between the American and French researchers, particularly Dr. Bernard Pessac of the University of Paris Descartes and Dr. Trisler at the University of Maryland. Researchers from the Multiple Sclerosis Center of Excellence at the Baltimore Veterans Administration Medical Center also contributed to the study.
Pharmacist involvement in heart failure treatment increased the number of patients who were administered recommended medications, but did not lead to improved outcomes, according to data presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2011.
In the Heart Failure and Optimal Outcomes from Pharmacy Study (HOOPS), researchers randomly assigned 87 medical centers (1090 patients) in Scotland to receive additional care from a pharmacist collaborating with physicians. Pharmacists met with patients to review their medications and ensure they had prescriptions for recommended medicines.
In another 87 centers, 1074 patients received routine care from a family physician without the additional pharmacist input. After 5 five years, the rate of deaths and heart failure hospitalizations was approximately 35% in both groups. However, pharmacist consultations did increase the number of patients who received recommended heart failure medications at recommended doses.
“Even though pharmacists didn’t cut the number of deaths or hospitalizations from heart failure, the results appear to strengthen the case for optimizing heart failure drugs,” said Richard Lowrie, MSc, MPC, of Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Service in Scotland, the study’s lead researcher. “Other studies have shown these drugs can reduce heart failure hospitalizations.”
At the start of the study, 14% of patients in both groups were not prescribed angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors (ACE-inhibitors) or angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs), and more than one-third (38%) weren’t prescribed beta-blockers.
During the study, a third of patients in the pharmacist group who weren’t receiving the recommended drugs or who were receiving less than the recommended dose had the drugs prescribed or had their doses increased compared to 18.5% in the usual care group. Eighteen percent of patients in the pharmacist group who weren’t receiving beta-blockers or were receiving them at sub-optimal doses had those drugs started or increased, compared to 11% in the usual care group.
“While our results show that the non-specialist pharmacist intervention is not that effective in reducing hospitalization or death rates, we did demonstrate the impact pharmacists have on getting patients on recommended heart failure drugs,” Lowrie said in a statement. “This could be an important intervention in health systems with a low number of patients receiving recommended heart failure drugs. During our study, a new United Kingdom contract for family physicians incentivized the prescribing of ACE and ARBs for heart failure, which may have reduced the potential impact of this intervention.”
Long-term studies of different collaborative interventions should be conducted involving various subsets of patients, including those with severe heart failure, and it should be determined whether hospital admissions should be prevented in these patients, said Lowrie.