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Women, keep those toothbrushes and dental floss handy. A comprehensive review of women’s health studies by Charlene Krejci, associate clinical professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine, has shown a link between women’s health issues and gum disease.
According to a new study, smoking causes the body to turn against its own helpful bacteria, leaving smokers more vulnerable to disease. This is yet another damaging finding about the world’s most preventative cause of death. The health advice is clear as can be: it’s never to late to quit smoking.
You brush every day, floss regularly, but your mouth manages to maintain a stable ecosystem of healthy bacteria. But if you are a smoker, your mouth is a much more chaotic, diverse ecosystem. And in it, an invasion by harmful bacteria is far more likely, as your defense system is down.
As a group, it is not surprising that smokers suffer from higher rates of oral diseases than non-smokers. Leading the list is gum disease. This is a challenge for our good friends with the metal tools (dentists). The new study investigated the role the body’s microbial communities Continue reading →
Injectable progesterone contraceptives may be associated with poor periodontal health, according to research in the Journal of Periodontology. The study found that women who are currently taking depotmedroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) injectable contraceptive, or have taken DMPA in the past, are more likely to have indicators of poor periodontal health, including gingivitis and periodontitis, than women who have never taken the injectable contraceptive. DMPA is a long-lasting progestin-only injectable contraceptive administered intermuscularly every three months.
Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the gum tissue and bone that supports the teeth. Gingivitis, the mildest form of gum disease, causes the gums to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. Periodontitis is the most severe form of gum disease and can lead to tooth loss. Additionally, research has associated gum disease with other chronic inflammatory diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. Continue reading →
Calcium is one of the most popular dietary supplements on the market, largely because of the widely circulated mantra that mega-doses of this mineral are essential for building and maintaining healthy bones.
As a result, many people believe that taking a calcium supplement is a simple way to prevent bone fractures associated with osteoporosis.
What they have not been told is that while you can force increased bone mineral density with calcium supplements, you cannot be sure that this will result in greater bone strength.
Melatonin, a hormone secreted by the pineal gland that is also available as a supplement, may fight gum disease, according to a study published in the Journal of Periodontology. Research on this antioxidant shows that people with more melatonin in their saliva have less gum tissue inflammation.
“(Our research) suggests that melatonin may fight against infection and inflammation possibly due to its antioxidant, anti-aging and immune-enhancing ability,” says Pablo Galindo, D.D.S., Department of Oral Surgery, School of Dentistry, University of Granada, Spain.
Melatonin supplements are often used to deal with jet lag and as a sleeping aid to fight off insomnia.
A new study indicates that dried licorice root is effective against the bacteria which causes tooth decay and gum disease, both of which can lead to tooth loss. Reporting their findings in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Natural Products, researchers say that that two substances in dried licorice root may help prevent and treat tooth decay and gum disease.
Traditional healing, modern science
The dried root of the licorice plant has long been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Practitioners of TCM use dried licorice root for a variety of health concerns: to treat coughs, ulcers, sore throat, arthritis, lupus, liver disorders, food poisoning and diabetes. Licorice is known by herbalists to possess antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties. The medicinally used root is not an ingredient in the licorice candy sold in the US which uses the similarly flavored anise oil. Continue reading →
TEL-AVIV – A study conducted by Israeli researchers suggests that exposure to light, and possibly photosynthesis, may help disease-causing bacteria to invade fresh produce, making them impervious to washing.
According to background information in a report published in journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, past studies have already shown that salmonella enterica attaches to the surface of fresh produce, and finds its way below the surface of the skin through pores called stomata, where it can hide from and resist washing and food sanitizers.
In the new study, researchers from the Agricultural Research Organization at the Volcani Center in Israel and Tel-Aviv University examined the role that light and photosynthesis might play on the ability of salmonella bacteria to infiltrate lettuce leaves via stomata.
They exposed sterile iceberg lettuce leaves to bacteria either in the light, in the dark, or in the dark after 30 minutes of exposure to light.
Incubation in the light or pre-exposure to light resulted in aggregation of bacteria around open stomata and invasion into the inner leaf tissue.
Incubation in the dark, on the other hand, resulted in a scattered attachment pattern and very little internalization.
According to the researchers, the increased propensity for internalization in the light may be due to several factors.
First, they say, in the absence of light plants enter a period of dormancy, where stomata are closed and no photosynthesis takes place. In the light, the stomata are open.
Additional findings also suggest that the bacteria are attracted to the open stomata by the nutrients produced during photosynthesis, which are not present in the dark.
“The elucidation of the mechanism by which Salmonella invades intact leaves has important implications for both pre- and postharvest handling of lettuce and probably other leafy vegetables. The capacity to inhibit internalization should limit bacterial colonization to the phylloplane and consequently might enhance the effectiveness of surface sanitizers,” say the researchers.
NEW YORK – New evidence suggests that daily nasal irrigation may increase the risk of sinus infections.
Nasal irrigation with warm saline has been promoted as way to cleanse the sinuses and help prevent infections. However, using this therapy too often may not be beneficial.
The latest study, presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology (ACAAI) annual meeting, included 68 adults who used nasal irrigation frequently for one year and then stopped therapy for one year. The patients were compared to 24 control patients who did not discontinue nasal irrigation.
The researchers found that number of sinus infections decreased by 62.5 percent after the participants stopped using nasal irrigation. Additionally, after stopping nasal irrigation, they were 50 percent less likely to develop sinus infections than those who continued with daily therapy.
Mucus in the nose contains important immune system molecules that help the body fight against infections. Because nasal irrigation eliminates this mucus, the authors suspect that it may lead to an increased risk of infection.
NEW YORK – A new study hints that good oral care – regular brushing and flossing and trips to the dentist — may help aging adults keep their thinking skills intact.
In a study, researchers found that adults aged 60 and older with the highest versus the lowest levels of the gum disease-causing pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis were three times more likely to have trouble recalling a three-word sequence after a period of time.
Dr.JamesM.Noble of Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City and colleagues also found that adults with the highest levels of this pathogen were two times more likely to fail three-digit reverse subtraction tests.
The findings, reported in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry this month, are based on more than 2300 men and women who were tested for periodontitis and completed numerous thinking skills tests as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III conducted between 1991 and 1994.
Overall 5.7 percent of the adults had trouble completing certain memory tasks and 6.5 percent failed reverse subtraction tests. Participants with the highest (greater than 119 units) versus the lowest (57 units or lower) pathogen levels were most likely to do poorly in these tests.
Research has already established a strong association between poor oral health and heart disease, stroke and diabetes, as well as Alzheimer’s disease. Gum disease could influence brain function through several mechanisms, the researchers note; for example, gum disease can cause inflammation throughout the body, a risk factor for loss of mental function.
In a related commentary, Dr.RobertStewart, of King’s College in London, United Kingdom, says this study adds to a “quietly accumulating” body of evidence tying oral and dental health with brain function.
SOURCE: Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, November 2009