Regarding older and infirm individuals, Google is developing adaptive equipment for people with essential tremors and Parkinson’s disease. In September they bought a company called Lift Labs, initially funded by the National Institutes of Health, that has transformed the humble spoon.(2)
The scientists and engineers who started Lift Labs were motivated by friends and family members with conditions that affect their dexterity, and their focus is on improving overall quality of life and independence. The Liftware Stabilizer with a battery charger and soupspoon attachment costs $295, which the company says averages out to 27 cents per meal over the first year. After the first year, your return on investment is realized. For more information and videos, visit the website.(2)
In exciting news from University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Dr. David Wong revealed that oral health professionals might be able to take saliva samples to evaluate for a variety of diseases, including Type 2 diabetes and gastric cancer. The discoveries could also lead to a new category of self-diagnostic devices. The study will be published in the January 2015 special print issue of the Clinical Chemistry journal, titled “Molecular Diagnostics: A Revolution in Progress.” Why is this important? Diabetes is undiagnosed in nearly 28% of Americans who have the disease, as reported by a new study.(3) We also know that with most diseases, early diagnosis and intervention is the next best thing to prevention.
In the area of tooth decay, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) presented data on "Innovations in the Prevention and Treatment of Early Childhood Caries" at an Oct. 23-24 dental conference. The data show a downward trend in early childhood caries in the United States.(4) The investigation is based on a review of 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) longitudinal health data from the CDC, and a representative sample of the U.S. population. It was presented in advance of expected CDC publication of the full range of data next year covering 2011 through 2014, and should be regarded as a preliminary analysis.
Biopharmaceutical company Allovate has partnered with Restore Health for the exclusive rights to provide Allerdent, a new therapeutic toothpaste delivery system available by prescription for people with allergic rhinitis.(5) Restore Health is dedicated to bringing personalized specialty medicines to health-care providers throughout the U.S. Allerdent is designed for daily use as part of a normal toothbrushing regimen, and it permits users with allergic rhinitis to incorporate immunotherapeutic allergy treatment into their daily activities. Oral mucosal immunotherapy is an innovative technique of delivering allergenic extracts to the oropharyngeal mucosa using a compounded toothpaste vehicle. The study describes three cases where people with seasonal allergic rhinitis demonstrated improvement of symptoms and decreased skin reactivity after using oral mucosal immunotherapy in a preseasonal and coseasonal fashion.(6)
The question remains – what is the balance between antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance? The CDC identified antimicrobial resistance as one of five urgent health threats facing the U.S. this year. Antimicrobial resistance is a global health security threat that warrants collaboration from many stakeholders around the world. Read more about a workshop held on this topic.(8)
I would like to thank the contributors to this newsletter. Enjoy the holiday season!