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The year is starting off with lots of breaking news!

Jan. 14, 2015
There are lots of new developments and breaking news to start off the new year, and in this week's introduction, Maria Perno Goldie, RDH, MS, gives an overview of some of the more recent and important occurrences and findings.

There is so much breaking new as we start the new year! The first article of this e-newsletter discusses the new guidelines for premedication for those with prosthetic joints. In other news, human papilloma virus (HPV) testing is recommended for primary screening using a DNA test, and it can be considered as an alternative to current U.S. cytology-based cervical cancer screening strategies.(1) The published article’s goals are to provide information for health-care providers who are interested in primary hrHPV testing and an overview of the potential advantages and disadvantages of this strategy for screening, as well as to highlight areas in need of further investigation.

In more news, flu cases are on the rise around the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) latest edition of FluView, its weekly influenza surveillance report, U.S. flu activity is increasing in strength and expanding its reach to more areas of the country.(2) Learn about the new way flu vaccines are made.(3) There are many ways you can protect yourself and others from the flu. See below.

In education news, Foothill College in Northern California is in the running to become one of the first California community colleges to offer a four­year bachelor's degree, the result of a bill that took effect in January.(4) Thirty-six community college districts submitted applications for a range of career-focused degree programs, from Foothill's dental hygiene, to public safety, respiratory therapy, and others. Currently, only three private universities in California offer a four-year dental hygiene degree – the University of Pacific in Stockton, Loma Linda University, and the University of Southern California. Annual tuition at those schools ranges from $40,000 to $48,000, and Foothill's program would cost approximately $10,500 per year.(4)

Also, the Los Angeles Community College District Chancellor selected the proposal from the West Los Angeles College Dental Hygiene program for consideration for the state’s historic baccalaureate degree pilot program.(5) California State Senate Bill 850 authorizes the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges to establish the program at no more than 15 community colleges. Each district is allowed to submit only one proposal to the state chancellor’s office for inclusion. Hooray for dental hygiene!

Kansas' Extended Care Permits (ECP), which allow hygienists to provide preventive dental care beyond the dental office, have improved oral health care in the state, but ECP dental hygienists are not being used to their full potential.(6) Some would like to use their ECP part-time but are not able to find an opportunity. Reasons given include finding time outside of a full-time private practice schedule, the physical strain of transporting equipment, limited funding, and clinic closures because of budget cuts. The authors of the study concluded that the ECP providers in Kansas seem to be content with their current employment situations, and feel oral health care has improved for their patients, but they’re unable to use their permits fully for various reasons.

In other breaking news, hidden complications of Lyme disease treatment are revealed in a new Envita study.(7) Borrelia, the causative agent in Lyme disease, is evading the immune system and is said to be the most complex genome of any bacteria worldwide. Chronic Lyme disease is complex, and the symptoms, co-infections, immunity, and other complicating factors vary from case to case, and each person’s case is different. Personalization could be the strongest and most valuable tool in the fight against chronic Lyme disease. Co-infections, patient’s immunity, and genetic issues of metabolism are some of the factors that affect the successful treatment of chronic Lyme disease. The goal of this study is to help provide a comprehensive clinical and biological overview to drive Lyme disease treatment forward.(7)

Your iPhone may soon be able to tell you if you have oral malodor! Perhaps 2015’s first unique device is the Breathometer Mint, which also offers your hydration levels. To use the device, simply place it in your mouth, wait a few seconds, and then read the results on the associated iOS app. The gadget itself works by measuring levels of hydrogen sulfide, methyl mercapthan, and hydrogen disulfide. Mint™ is a portable breath quality and hydration level detection product. Simply place Mint in your mouth, let it automatically draw a sample of the air in your mouth, and within seconds the Breathometer app on your smartphone will let you know the quality of your breath and how hydrated you are.(7)

Enjoy January!

1.Huh WK, Ault KA, Chelmow D, et al. Use of primary high-risk human papillomavirus testing for cervical cancer screening: Interim clinical guidance, Gynecol Oncol (2015), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ygyno.2014.12.022.
2. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/usmap.htm.
3. http://time.com/3659809/flu-season-tracker/?xid=newsletter-brief.
4. http://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2015/01/05/foothill-college-vying-to-offer-new-affordable-four-year-degree.
5. https://www.laccd.edu/Documents/NewsDocuments/Bachelors-Degree-Proposed-WLAC-Dental-Hygiene.pdf.
6. Brotzman Myers JB, Gadbury-Amyot CC, VanNess C, Mitchell TV. Perceptions of Kansas Extended Care Permit Dental Hygienists' Impact on Dental Care. J Dent Hyg December 2014 88:364-372.
7. Smith, AJ, Oertle J, Prato D. Borrelia burgdorferi: Cell Biology and Clinical Manifestations in Latent Chronic Lyme. Open Journal of Medical Microbiology. 2014; 4:210-23. http://www.envita.com/lyme-disease/hidden-complications-of-lyme-disease-treatment-unveiled-by-new-envita-study.
8. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/breathometer-mint-for-breath-quality-and-hydration.