Science News and Resources

ORAL HEALTH MATTERS

New Position Papers From the American Academy of Periodontology
The August 2003 issue of The Journal of Periodontology contains an Academy position paper that describes the reclassification of plaque-induced periodontal diseases into seven categories:

  • gingivitis,
  • chronic periodontitis,
  • aggressive periodontitis,
  • periodontitis as a manifestation of systemic diseases,
  • necrotizing periodontal disease,
  • abscesses of the periodontium, and
  • periodontitis associated with endodontic lesions.
Chronic periodontitis replaces adult periodontitis, and aggressive periodontitis replaces early onset periodontitis. The paper did not draw any conclusions on the use of gingival crevicular fluid (GCF) as an adjunct to diagnosis. They suggest a system of sensitivity and specificity for assessing diagnostic capability of future tests. Sensitivity is generally thought to include tests with a low number of false negatives, with specificity a low number of false positives. Both are important in any diagnostic test. Future research is needed to quantify the utility of use of GCF assays for clinical application.

If you are not a journal reader, check out the position on diagnosis of periodontal conditions at http://www.perio.org/resources-products/pdf/5-Diagnosis.pdf.

HEALTH INSURANCE ISSUES

Institute of Medicine Calls for Universal Health-Care Coverage for Americans
The National Academy of Science Institute of Medicine released a report in mid-January calling for universal health coverage for every American. The report suggested minimum standards for health insurance. "Universal insurance coverage is an important and achievable goal for the country," the report states. Mary Sue Coleman, the co-chairwoman of the 15-person panel notes, "The economic cost ... from the poorer health and premature death of uninsured people is in the range of $65 billion to $130 billion a year." The report only addressed the more than 40 million persons estimated to have no health insurance, not the estimated 100 million without dental insurance. No representative from the dental industry was included on the panel.

Free Video on Medicaid Impact on Families
"Medicaid Matters: Hearing From Families" — A video has been produced by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. Focusing on five families, the video reflects the diversity of those assisted by Medicaid — families of varying races/ethnicities, ages, and sizes. Each family also illustrates a particular health-care need and shows how Medicaid assists in obtaining health-care needs. The video is available online at http://www.kff.org/ medicaid/mm-index.cfm, or send an email to kcmu@kff.org to request a free copy. On Jan. 18, Medicaid rates were adjusted upward for many procedures. Check your state for the latest Medicaid reimbursement rates.

THE WORKING WOMAN

Ask About Options for a Soccer Mom's Dream Car
For those women dentists who are also soccer moms, recent reports from car manufacturers show that they get it! Some new minivans may be offering LCD TVs along with washing machines and dryers. Future plans for cars include cruise control that maintains a safe distance between vehicles and automatically slows or accelerates as needed; night-vision detectors for obstacles; global positioning systems for directions to those distant soccer fields; and wireless technology and call centers in the dashboard. These options may soon be available in models of BMW, Cadillac, Honda, Jaguar, Lexus, and Mercedes. Smart women dentists should ask their car dealers about these features.

KUDOS!

  • ... Dame Margaret Seward, who is head of the editorial board for Woman Dentist Journal in the United Kingdom. Congratulations to the new WDJ/UK and to Dame Seward!
  • ... Carolyn Van Eck, chief financial officer of GC America, for becoming the first woman president of the Dental Trade Alliance (DTA). DTA was the result of the recent merger between the Dental Dealers of America and the Dental Manufacturers of America. Way to go, Carolyn!

WOMEN'S HEALTH

Few Americans Know About Lupus, a Woman's Disease
Although 1.5 million Americans, mostly women, have a form of lupus, public recognition and understanding of the autoimmune disease remain low, according to a recent survey by the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA). Adults ages 18 to 34 have the lowest awareness of the serious impact that lupus can have on the body, even though eight of 10 new cases develop among women of childbearing age. Due to public ignorance of lupus, the LFA believes that many young women suffer for years not knowing why they are always so sick.

The nationwide survey of more than 1,000 adults showed that on average more than six of 10 adults do not know that lupus can affect major organs, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, and brain. Lupus is a potentially life-threatening disease that causes the immune system to attack the body's own cells and tissue. It is a significant women's health issue that no one is talking about. According to the CDC, deaths from lupus have increased about 70 percent over the last 20 years. African Americans are two to three times more likely to develop lupus.

Among the most common symptoms are joint swelling, joint and muscle pains, extreme fatigue, fever, and skin rashes on the face, neck, and scalp. These symptoms can range from mild to severe. Lupus also can go into periods when symptoms are not noticeable, making the disease difficult to detect. Because lupus strikes mostly young women, common symptoms may be dismissed as nothing serious. Early diagnosis may be key to controlling the disease and preventing or minimizing damage to vital organs.

While there is no single test to determine if a person has lupus, women dentists should be aware of the symptoms to assist in referral of patients to their physicians. Lupus Now is a new magazine published three times a year. It contains information on the latest in treatments and therapies, as well as personal stories. Visit the Lupus Now Web site or call the LFA National Office at (202) 349-1155. Fact sheets on lupus are also available on the Web in Spanish — Lupus Información Básica Para Vivir Mejor — at www.4woman.gov/editor/jan04/s-jan04.htm.

Article Describes Fibromyalgia, Which Strikes Women Disproportionately
The January 2004 issue of "Harvard Women's Health Watch" published an article describing fibromyalgia, how it is diagnosed, and symptomatic treatment. About 2 to 4 percent of Americans have fibromyalgia, and about 90 percent of them are women. Fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic, widespread musculoskeletal pain and tenderness at specific points on the body. Aching often starts around the neck and shoulders and eventually involves the back, chest, hips, arms, and legs. The condition is usually accompanied by fatigue and sleep disorders and is difficult to diagnose. Visit www.health.harvard.edu/hhp/publication/view.do?name=W for more details.

Screening Tests and Immunizations Guidelines for Men
A chart — available at www.4woman.gov/screeningcharts/mens.htm — lists recommended screening tests and immunizations for men at average risk for most diseases. Gender differences are available on this Web site.

Join in National Women's Health Week, May 9-15, 2004
National Women's Health Week (NWHW) is May 9-15, 2004, with National Women's Check-up Day on May 10. Plan now to join in the celebration as a woman dentist. For information about hosting or participating in this and other NWHW activities, visit www.4woman.gov/whw, or call (800) 994-WOMAN (9662), or TTY: (888) 220-5446. This week involves a national effort to increase awareness about key health issues and to make women's health a top priority.

UPCOMING CONFERENCES

CDA (California Dental Association) Spring 2004 Scientific Session — April 16-18, 2004; Anaheim Hilton; Anaheim, Calif.; www.cda.org; (916) 443-3382

Greater Long Island Dental Meeting First Annual Women's Day Conference — April 20, 2004; Long Island Marriott Hotel; Uniondale, N.Y.; www.glidm.org; (631) 244-0722

Adhesive Dentistry Bermuda Style Symposium — April 22-25, 2004; Southampton Princess Resort; Hamilton, Bermuda; www.clinicianschoice.com; (800) 265-3444, Ext. 223

AACD (American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry) — April 27-May 1, 2004; The Fairmont Waterfront; Vancouver, British Columbia; www.aacd.com; (608) 222-8583

AAPD (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry) — May 27-31, 2004; San Francisco Marriott; San Francisco, Calif.; www.aapd.org; (312) 337-2169

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