Major Scientific Report Links Obesity, Alcohol to Esophageal Cancers

Posted on July 29, 2016

WASHINGTON, DC – A systematic review of the global research has found that being overweight increases the risk of developing the most common type of US esophageal cancer. The report also concluded that drinking alcohol increases the risk of the second major type of this cancer.

The report, released this week by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and the World Cancer Research Fund International (WCRF), reaffirms and strengthens the findings of a previous AICR/WCRF report.

In the US, an estimated one in three (33%) of esophageal cancer cases could be prevented if people did not drink alcohol and were a healthy weight. That’s approximately 5,600 esophageal cancer cases every year.

Alice Bender, MS, RDN, Head of Nutrition Programs at AICR, said, "These findings add to the evidence that lifestyle plays a powerful role in cancer risk. Obesity is now linked to eleven types of cancer and alcohol links to six. We want individuals to know you can take important lifestyle steps to reduce risk for many kinds of cancer."

BMI, Alcohol, and Subtypes

Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Esophageal Cancer found there is strong evidence that being overweight or obese increases the risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma, one of the two main types of this cancer. The report shows a 48% increased risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma for every 5 unit increase in body mass index.

Adenocarcinomas generally develop in the lower esophagus, starting from cells that make fluid. Approximately six of every ten US esophageal cancer cases (62%) are adenocarcinomas.

The report also found strong evidence that consuming alcohol increases the risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma – 25% increased risk per 10 grams of alcohol per day. This is equivalent to about a glass of beer or wine.

Squamous cell esophageal cancers develop from the cells that line the esophagus. This type accounts for a third of US esophageal cancers; it is the majority of esophageal cancer cases globally.

Emerging Findings

The report collated and reviewed the 46 scientific studies available on esophageal cancer, diet, physical activity and weight in the first such review since 2007. The research covered 15 million adults of whom, 31,000 were diagnosed with esophageal cancer.

The evidence linking fruits and vegetables to esophageal cancer has changed and is now less strong. This does not mean that no link exists, but that there are currently not enough studies to analyze by subtype and smoking status. Eating a wide variety of fruit and vegetables is particularly important to maintain a healthy weight.

"Making smart choices like limiting alcoholic drinks, eating more vegetables, beans and other plant foods, and boosting your activity with walking breaks are all ways to get on a path to lower cancer risk," added Bender.

Worldwide, esophageal cancer is the sixth most common cause of death from cancer. It is the seventh leading cause of cancer deaths among US men. Survival rates are poor, mainly because these cancers are often diagnosed at a late stage.

Established causes of esophageal cancer include: gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and Barrett’s esophagus for adenocarcinoma; and Tylosis A, Plummer Vinson syndrome and human papilloma virus (HPV) for squamous cell carcinoma. Smoking increases risk for both types of this cancer.

NIH Funds Precision Medicine Research With a Focus on Health Disparities

Posted on July 29, 2016

The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), part of the National Institutes of Health, has committed approximately $31 million over five years, pending available funding, to launch a new program for Transdisciplinary Collaborative Centers (TCCs) for health disparities research exploring the potential for precision medicine to promote health equity and advance the science of minority health and health disparities.

Priority research areas for NIMHD’s precision medicine initiative include:

-Development of new tools and analytic methods for integrating patient data with information about contextual factors acting at the community or population level to influence health outcomes

-Development of pharmacogenomic and other precision medicine tools to identify critical biomarkers for disease progression and drug responses in diverse populations

-Translation of pharmacogenomic discoveries into clinical practice including effective treatments

-Investigation of facilitators and barriers to implementing precision medicine approaches in disparity populations

-Understanding mechanisms that lead to differential health outcomes in common diseases in minorities and disparity populations

Although scientific and technological advances have improved the health of the US population overall, racial/ethnic minority populations, socioeconomically disadvantaged populations and rural populations continue to experience a disproportionate share of many diseases and adverse health conditions. As the Nation’s steward of biomedical and behavioral research, NIH has devoted considerable resources to characterize the root causes of health disparities, uncovering complex webs of interconnected factors (eg, biological, behavioral, social and environmental factors) acting at multiple levels across the life course. As an important next step, research is needed that capitalizes on this knowledge to develop interventions that reduce or eliminate health disparities.

Designed for broad impact, TCCs comprise regional coalitions of research institutions and partners working together to develop and disseminate effective health interventions that can be implemented in real-world settings. TCCs supported through this initiative are expected to focus on at least one priority research area, each combining expertise in precision medicine, population health disparities, and the science of translation, implementation and dissemination to address one or more documented health disparities. The proposed work must focus on one or more health disparities populations, which include Blacks/African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, socioeconomically disadvantaged populations and rural populations. Each center will support 2 to 3 multidisciplinary research projects examining complementary aspects of precision medicine, focusing on interactions between biological, behavioral and contextual predictors of disease vulnerability, resilience and response to therapies in patients from disadvantaged communities.

Benefits of medical advances are not always distributed equitably, often because structural or systemic factors limit the effectiveness of new diagnostic or therapeutic approaches in disadvantaged populations. Precision medicine is an emerging approach for disease prevention, early detection and treatment that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment, demographic factors, social determinants and lifestyle. While it holds great promise for improving patient care, its potential for reducing health disparities hinges on better understanding of the dynamic interplay between biological, behavioral, social and environmental health risk and protective factors experienced across the life course, coupled with greater inclusion of health disparity populations in research aimed at developing precision medicine interventions.

The approach of this new program, which focuses on health disparity populations, including racial and ethnic minorities, rural populations and low socioeconomic populations, shares the transformative vision represented by President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI), which supports the NIH’s recently implemented PMI Cohort Program, a nationwide effort which seeks to build a longitudinal research cohort of 1 million or more U.S. volunteers, to produce new knowledge with the goal of developing more effective ways to prolong health and treat disease.

“The core values of the President’s PMI challenge the scientific community to advance population health in ways that create true benefits to all populations,” said NIMHD Director Dr. Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable. “Precision medicine research endeavors must go beyond biologic and clinical markers and include social determinants of health, such as the economic, social and political conditions that influence health status. Ultimately, the TCCs  will generate new knowledge about precision medicine that resonates from the community level to the national population level.”

The first precision medicine TCC cooperative agreement awards, each providing up to $1.5 million in direct costs annually over five years (plus applicable indirect costs), have been made to the following academic institutions:

Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee

Project Title: Center of Excellence in Precision Medicine and Population Health

Principal Investigator: Consuelo Hopkins Wilkins

Grant: 1 U54MD010722-01 MP1

Dr. Wilkins and colleagues will establish a Center of Excellence in Precision Medicine and Population Health in order to identify genetic and phenotype markers representative of lifetime risks and outcomes for asthma, pre-term birth, cancer and Body Mass Index in African American and Hispanics/Latino populations.

Stanford University, Palo Alto, California

Project Title: Stanford Precision Health for Ethnic and Racial Equity (SPHERE) Transdisciplinary Collaborative Center

Principal Investigator: Mark Richard Cullen

Grant: 1 U54MD010724-01 MPI

Dr. Cullen and his team will establish the SPHERE Transdisciplinary Collaboration Center to address multiple health outcomes such as type 2 diabetes and breast cancer in American Indian, Hispanic/Latino and Chinese populations.

Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston

Project Title: Medical University of South Carolina Transdisciplinary Collaborative Center in Precision Medicine and Minority Men's Health

Principal Investigator: Chanita A. Hughes-Halbert

Grant: 1U54MD010706-01

Dr. Hughes-Halbert and colleagues will establish a center focused on minority men's health to determine the most effective ways to integrate, interpret and apply biological, social, psychological and clinical determinants of disease risks and outcomes into more precise medical strategies to prevent, diagnose and treat chronic health conditions and diseases.

Own the Legend: Revolutionary J Family of Patient Chairs to be Discontinued by 2017

Posted on July 28, 2016

Malvern, PA (July 28, 2016) – DentalEZ®, a supplier of integrated products and services for dental health professionals worldwide, recently announced that by 2017 its most famous contribution to the dental industry, the J Family line of patient chairs, will no longer be available for sale. With a limited number of chairs currently in production, the Company will phase out the history-making chairs beginning this July.  

Though the era of J Family of Chairs from DentalEZ® will soon come to an end, the Company will continue to offer dental professionals a chance to own the legend by purchasing the classic J-Chair® and/or the J/V-Generation® Chair until the last remaining chair finds its home. “It is indeed a bittersweet time for DentalEZ and the classic J Family of Chairs from DentalEZ,” remarked Mary Alban, Senior Product Manager for DentalEZ Equipment. “The J-Chair not only put DentalEZ on the map as dental pioneers but it is the foundation of each and every dental chair in existence today. We will always be extremely proud to say that the J-Chair was truly the beginning of an ergonomic evolution for the patient chair.”

From now until the end of 2016, DentalEZ will be offering attractive incentives in order to make it easy for dental professionals to purchase a true iconic piece of dental history. “We want to provide dental professionals one last chance to experience the many features and benefits that have made our J Family of Chairs a tried and true staple of clinical practice,” continued Alban, “and a real American classic.”

The J-Chair is equipped with all of the accommodating features and benefits that dental professionals have grown to know and trust for almost six decades. The back, seat, and base positions all adjust independently, and the thinnest narrow back available allows superior access. The J/V-Generation Chair combines all features and benefits of the famous J-Chair, yet the J/V-Generation Chair also has the flexibility of a split-back but with a more modern look and advanced features such as an anatomically correct hip pivot point, and left/right flexibility.

Looking forward, the Company will transition its focus to further educating dental professionals on the many features and benefits of its popular NuSimplicity™ patient chair, an evolved version of the J-Chair. The NuSimplicity features a narrow, tapered back, a base plate design that allows closer placement of operator stools, and height flexibility of 15 to 35.5 inches to accommodate sit-down and stand-up dentistry. In addition, options like wireless controls or the exclusive Air Glide technology make for a more efficient operatory, and a wide variety of upholsteries and color combinations to match any office décor. 

Please call your local DentalEZ sales representative or visit www.dentalez.comfor current promotions and information about the classic J-Family of Chairs from DentalEZ as well as all DentalEZ products and services.

Adams to Host Webinar on Materials

Posted on July 28, 2016

Damon Adams, DDS, will present a free two-part webinar on August 16 and August 30 called "Making the Right Choice in Restorative Material."

Participants will learn how, what, where, when, and why they should choose the right restorative material for patients, based on science, evidence, and clinical reliability. The webinar will be worth 1 Interactive CEU.

The webinar will be at 7 pm Eastern both days. To register, go to http://www.vivalearning.com/login.asp?x_classID=2935&rurl=%2Fmember%2FregisterLive%2Easp%3Fx_classID%3D2935.

ETI Digital Holds Open House

Posted on July 27, 2016

ETI Digital Technology (CAD/CAM Division of ETI Empire Direct), located in Anaheim, California, celebrated the opening of their new Digital Technology office and training center by holding an Open House in June. The event for customers and vendors was held to tour the new facility and see the latest CAD/CAM offerings from ETI Digital Technology including Dental Wings scanners, Roland milling machines, UNIQUE CAM software and Stratasys 3D printers. ETI Digital’s expert team of CAD/CAM specialists provided hands-on demonstrations of all of their equipment for anyone looking into the latest in the world of Digital Dentistry. 

 

ICPPD Is Now the Institute for Pediatric Dentistry

Posted on July 27, 2016

HOUSTON, TEXAS, July 27, 2016—The Institute for the Clinical Practice of Pediatric Dentistry (ICPPD) has changed its named to the Institute for Pediatric Dentistry (IPD). The rationale for the name change is to better reflect the evolving content of the Institute’s courses. “As part of our ongoing effort to provide the most relevant and practical pediatric dentistry training, we survey our participants immediately following each course,” said Mark Binford, an IPD Director. “While the doctors tell us they love our clinical training, they’ve also asked us to expand into additional topics including practice management.”

As an example, The IPD is offering a new standalone course - “Game Changers for Dental Assistants” - in conjunction with its next dentist’s course, “Game Changers in Pediatric Dentistry.” The new course is specifically designed to enable dental assistants to become high-performance contributors to the dental team. Both courses will take place October 7-8 at UNLV’s SimLab in Las Vegas. Dentists earn a total of 20 CE credits while dental assistants earn 16 CE credits. Dentists registering now can receive a $500 tuition discount by entering the code “IPDSummer.” To register, or to learn more about the courses and the Institute, visit theipd.com.

Study Evaluates Revision Surgeries for Cleft Lip

Posted on July 26, 2016

Children born with cleft lip/palate go through extensive treatments that usually begin before their first birthday. Most treatment plans include surgery to repair the orofacial cleft, which will increase the child’s verbal communication abilities, self-esteem and overall confidence. Unfortunately, a one-time surgery is rare. Many children require revision surgeries to create the correct alignment, symmetry and normal facial movements. As a result, health providers are constantly looking for ways to decrease the number of revision surgeries required for children with CL/P.

An article in the current issue of The Cleft Palate–Craniofacial Journal explores the reasons behind the multiple follow-up surgeries required by the condition as well as how their frequency may be reduced. In order to determine a percentage of revision surgeries, the authors conducted an electronic search of previously published articles relating to cleft lip surgery. Of the 3,034 articles identified, 45 met their study criteria, which yielded a total of 4,210 patients involved. Overall, the research showed that there was a 0% to 100% instance of revision surgeries among the various studies. However, the researchers were unable to determine the burden of care (amount and intensity of all treatments) experienced by the patients.

When analyzing the specifics of each study, authors found that revision surgeries could be affected by the following: isolated cleft lip compared with cleft lip and cleft palate corrections, the portion of the lip where the surgery was conducted (specifically, the vermilion or vermilo-cutaneous junction), and the follow-up duration, with more revision surgeries resulting from longer follow-up times. The authors also found that the quality of the initial surgery plays a very important role in revisions, especially when dealing with the vermilion junction, and it was determined that closing the vermilion could reduce the need for revision surgeries.

This study has provided a strong foundation for future studies on cleft lip revision surgery. The authors concluded that a new population-based study should be conducted for more definitive findings on the burden of care for unilateral cleft lip. Such a study would help to further reduce the current reliance on surgical care and improve outcomes for patients worldwide.

Full text of the article, “The Burden of Care for Children With Unilateral Cleft Lip: A Systematic Review of Revision Surgery,” The Cleft Palate–Craniofacial Journal, Vol. 53, No. 4, 2016, is available at http://www.cpcjournal.org/doi/full/10.1597/14-202.

Penn Team Uses Nanoparticles to Break Up Plaque and Prevent Cavities

Posted on July 26, 2016

The bacteria that live in dental plaque and contribute to tooth decay often resist traditional antimicrobial treatment, as they can “hide” within a sticky biofilm matrix, a glue-like polymer scaffold.

A new strategy conceived by University of Pennsylvania researchers took a more sophisticated approach. Instead of simply applying an antibiotic to the teeth, they took advantage of the pH-sensitive and enzyme-like properties of iron-containing nanoparticles to catalyze the activity of hydrogen peroxide, a commonly used natural antiseptic. The activated hydrogen peroxide produced free radicals that were able to simultaneously degrade the biofilm matrix and kill the bacteria within, significantly reducing plaque and preventing the tooth decay, or cavities, in an animal model.

“Even using a very low concentration of hydrogen peroxide, the process was incredibly effective at disrupting the biofilm,” said Hyun (Michel) Koo, a professor in the Penn School of Dental Medicine’s Department of Orthodontics and divisions of Pediatric Dentistry and Community Oral Health and the senior author of the study, which was published in the journal Biomaterials. “Adding nanoparticles increased the efficiency of bacterial killing more than 5,000-fold.”

The paper’s lead author was Lizeng Gao, a postdoctoral researcher in Koo’s lab. Coauthors were Yuan Liu, Dongyeop Kim, Yong Li, and Geelsu Hwang, all of Koo’s lab, as well as David Cormode, an assistant professor of radiology and bioengineering with appointments in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine and School of Engineering and Applied Science, and Pratap C. Naha, a postdoctoral fellow in Cormode’s lab.

The work built off a seminal finding by Gao and colleagues, published in 2007 in Nature Nanotechnology, showing that nanoparticles, long believed to be biologically and chemically inert, could in fact possess enzyme-like properties. In that study, Gao showed that an iron oxide nanoparticle behaved similarly to a peroxidase, an enzyme found naturally that catalyzes oxidative reactions, often using hydrogen peroxide.

When Gao joined Koo’s lab in 2013, he proposed using these nanoparticles in an oral setting, as the oxidation of hydrogen peroxide produces free radicals that can kill bacteria.

“When he first presented it to me, I was very skeptical,” Koo said, “because these free radicals can also damage healthy tissue. But then he refuted that and told me this is different because the nanoparticles’ activity is dependent on pH.”

Gao had found that the nanoparticles had no catalytic activity at neutral or near-neutral pH of 6.5 or 7, physiological values typically found in blood or in a healthy mouth. But when pH was acidic, closer to 5, they become highly active and can rapidly produce free radicals.

The scenario was ideal for targeting plaque, which can produce an acidic microenvironment when exposed to sugars.

Gao and Koo reached out to Cormode, who had experience working with iron oxide nanoparticles in a radiological imaging context, to help them synthesize, characterize and test the effectiveness of the nanoparticles, several forms of which are already FDA-approved for imaging in humans.

Beginning with in vitro studies, which involved growing a biofilm containing the cavity-causing bacteria Streptococcus mutans on a tooth-enamel-like surface and then exposing it to sugar, the researchers confirmed that the nanoparticles adhered to the biofilm, were retained even after treatment stopped and could effectively catalyze hydrogen peroxide in acidic conditions.

They also showed that the nanoparticles’ reaction with a 1% or less hydrogen peroxide solution was remarkably effective at killing bacteria, wiping out more than 99.9% of the S mutans in the biofilm within 5 minutes, an efficacy more than 5,000 times greater than using hydrogen peroxide alone. Even more promising, they demonstrated that the treatment regimen, involving a 30-second topical treatment of the nanoparticles followed by a 30-second treatment with hydrogen peroxide, could break down the biofilm matrix components, essentially removing the protective sticky scaffold.

Moving to an animal model, they applied the nanoparticles and hydrogen peroxide topically to the teeth of rats, which can develop tooth decay when infected with S mutans just as humans do. Twice-a-day, one-minute treatments for three weeks significantly reduced the onset and severity of carious lesions, the clinical term for tooth decay, compared to the control or treatment with hydrogen peroxide alone. The researchers observed no adverse effects on the gum or oral soft tissues from the treatment.

“It’s very promising,” said Koo. “The efficacy and toxicity need to be validated in clinical studies, but I think the potential is there.”

Among the attractive features of the platform is the fact that the components are relatively inexpensive.

“If you look at the amount you would need for a dose, you’re looking at something like 5 milligrams,” Cormode said. “It’s a tiny amount of material, and the nanoparticles are fairly easily synthesize, so we’re talking about a cost of cents per dose.”

In addition, the platform uses a concentration of hydrogen peroxide, 1%, which is lower than many currently available tooth-whitening systems that use 3% to 10% concentrations, minimizing the chance of negative side effects.

Looking ahead, Gao, Koo, Cormode, and colleagues hope to continue refining and improving upon the effectiveness of the nanoparticle platform to fight biofilms.

“We’re studying the role of nanoparticle coatings, composition, size, and so forth so we can engineer the particles for even better performance,” Cormode said.

The study was funded by the International Association for Dental Research/GlaxoSmithKline Innovation in Oral Health Award, National Science Foundation, and University of Pennsylvania Research Foundation.

Health-Research Sector Invited to Learn About NIH Funding

Posted on July 26, 2016

Small businesses seeking to commercialize health-related technologies in the medical or life science sector can learn how to access more than $870 million in federal funding during the Department of Health and Human Services Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) conference, which will be held in Orlando, Florida, on Nov. 15-17, 2016.

“This flagship SBIR/STTR event provides the chance for entrepreneurs and researchers to meet one-on-one with federal representatives, network with each other, and learn how the National Institutes of Health helps small businesses forge new relationships that can help bring technologies and discoveries to market,” said Matthew Portnoy, PhD, the NIH SBIR/STTR program coordinator. “We are hoping businesses take advantage of this opportunity and register to attend the conference.”

The 18th Annual HHS SBIR/STTR Conference, titled Shining a Light on Small Business Innovation, will be co-hosted by the State University System of Florida and the University of Central Florida, Orlando, and is expected to attract nearly 800 participants from around the country.

One of the key objectives of the SBIR and STTR programs is to foster and encourage participation in innovation and entrepreneurship by women and socially and economically disadvantaged people. The NIH keynote speaker will be Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable, MD, director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, and interactive workshops and sessions will feature presentations by women-owned and minority-owned businesses supported by the SBIR/STTR programs.

Attendees will include representatives from NIH, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Food and Drug Administration, Administration for Community Living, Office of the HHS Inspector General, and the Small Business Administration. Early bird registration is available until August 31, 2016, and a draft agenda is available online at: https://www.regonline.com/sbirsttrorlando.

CDC Provides Best Practices for Appropriate Antibiotic Use in Dentistry

Posted on July 25, 2016

In an article published today in The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA), experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP) provide best practices for responsible antibiotic use in dentistry.

Dentists write nearly 26 million prescriptions for antibiotics each year, which amounts to 10% of all antibiotic prescriptions filled in outpatient pharmacies. While the extent is unknown, experts are concerned that unnecessary antibiotic prescribing occurs in dental settings. To assist throughout the entire antibiotic prescribing process, CDC and OSAP have developed a checklist to guide dentists through pretreatment, prescribing, and patient and staff education.

Patients are encouraged to use the following Do’s and Don’ts for ensuring patient safety when they or their loved ones are prescribed antibiotics at the dentist.

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