Throwing It All Away

garbage 10 Nov 2017  Paul Feuerstein, DMD

 439 times

As you go through the drawers and boxes, you bring back old memories and (unfortunately) think…that you can’t just throw things out since you might use them again….

This year has been a busy one, with many new and novel product introductions—and there are more coming in the next few months for even further tech overload. This column has been more product specific than usual; this time, we should reflect a little on what we are really seeing and what we really need. Every practicing dentist has an area in the office or home with stacks of boxes full of things that were used for a while and then forgotten about—or the enthusiasm for them was lost.

First there was the bottom drawer full of old instruments or some odd restorative material that you used for a while and someday might need to use again. Then it was 2 drawers, then the back of every drawer, and then an unused corner of a room that will someday become an extra treatment room. The big realization comes when you decide to move the office. As you go through the drawers and boxes, you bring back old memories and (unfortunately) think once again that you can’t just throw things out since you might use them again; they were just temporality lost. There is an old George Carlin routine on relating to your “stuff” as well as one I always cherished about things you find in your refrigerator. (If you are too young to remember these routines, they are worth a YouTube search.)

What am I getting at? I have moved 3 times from my original office. The first 2 times were for upsizing and the latest was for downsizing. During my first move, I did something brilliant: I put some “stuff” in boxes and labeled them “if you don’t open this box by January 1, do not open and throw it out.” Of course, when I moved the second time, those sealed boxes came with me. Moving to my next, larger office meant that I could bring all of my original boxes in addition to everything I have accumulated because there was a spare room. To get to the point, I had to downsize during my most recent (or my last?) move. This meant taking a careful inventory of those boxes containing my tech accumulations.

The first boxes held old computer parts: spare CPU fans, extra video cards, a few hard drives, cables galore, and all sorts of parts I had scavenged from failed computers. There were smaller monitors that were in working condition but had been replaced by larger ones. (I actually did properly dispose of the very heavy and bulky 17-inch CRT monitors earlier on.) Now for a word of advice—you must properly dispose of old computers (normally for a fee), but most importantly, you must wipe all of the data from old hard drives and backups. This goes beyond just erasing or reformatting the drives. There is a lot of personal patient information on those drives and, as you know, this is the real crux of HIPAA. Programs such as DBAN or other data “erasers” are available. There are also services that will totally erase hard drives for you, and some even give you a certificate of authenticity much like your hazardous waste companies.

Now it’s time for the next step. Since I have a smaller office and have the need to keep everything, why not get a climate-controlled storage unit that I could rent for just a few months? In this case, I will then, of course, spend a weekend going through everything. And since I have the new space, why not put all those boxes that said “do not open” in there too? That storage bill is starting to mount up as my spare time is diminishing.

So what has survived? The basic core components to run my high-tech office.


Read more via Throwing It All Away | Dentistry Today

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Palladium: tearing up the market in 2017


Image courtesy of

Gold is having a good year. But not as good as palladium, which has spiked nearly 50% in 2017 to its highest level in over 16 years.

The price of palladium, which is used in cars, electronics, dentistry and jewelry, hit $1,005 per ounce on Monday. Analysts say it’s a case of strong demand and tight supply.

“We are convinced that palladium’s strength is driven by fundamentals,” said Joni Teves, a strategist at UBS.

Teves said that there’s been a consistent shortfall of palladium over the past five years, and demand for the metal continues to be strong — particularly in Asia.

UBS data show that 78% of palladium demand this year came from the auto market. The material is used in exhaust parts to turn dangerous pollutants into less harmful emissions like carbon dioxide.

Strong sales of gasoline-powered cars in the U.S. and China have helped drive demand for the metal.

Read more via Palladium: This metal is tearing up the market in 2017 – Oct. 16, 2017

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The Lure of a Better Life, Amid Cold and Darkness

NORILSK, Russia — Blessed with a cornucopia of precious metals buried beneath a desert of snow, but so bereft of sunlight that nights in winter never end, Norilsk, 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle, is a place of brutal extremes. It is Russia’s coldest and most polluted industrial city, and its richest — at least when measured by the value of its vast deposits of palladium, a rare mineral used in cellphones that sells for more than $1,000 an ounce.






It is also dark. Starting about now, the sun stops rising, leaving Norilsk shrouded in the perpetual night of polar winter. This year that blackout began last Wednesday.


Built on the bones of slave prison laborers, Norilsk began as an outpost of Stalin’s Gulag, a place so harsh that, according to one estimate, of 650,000 prisoners who were sent here between 1935 and 1956, around 250,000 died from cold, starvation or overwork. But more than 80 years after Norilsk became part of the Gulag Archipelago, nobody really knows exactly how many people labored there in penal servitude or how many died.

The Norilsk camp system, known as Norillag, shut down in 1956, when Nikita Khrushchev began to dismantle the worst excesses of Stalinism. The legacy of repressive control, though, lives on in tight restrictions on access to the city. All foreigners are barred from visiting without a permit from Russia’s Federal Security Service, the post-Soviet successor to the K.G.B.

via The Lure of a Better Life, Amid Cold and Darkness – The New York Times

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Miners Aim ‘Very Sci-Fi’ Drones at Dark, Dangerous Places – WSJ


photo courtesy of Drones At Work

JUNDEE, Australia—Hundreds of feet underground here, scientists are experimenting with a technology that could transform how mining companies dig out rocks in dangerous, pitch-black caves: fully autonomous drones.

The drones would fly without any pilot assistance into areas too risky for human miners. Using a rotating laser similar to those on autonomous cars, they would create three-dimensional maps more detailed than what is available now, helping miners excavate more gold and other commodities that might otherwise be missed.

Read more via Miners Aim ‘Very Sci-Fi’ Drones at Dark, Dangerous Places – WSJ

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Oral Bacteria Linked with Atherosclerosis


photo courtesy of Dentistry Today

For a long time, doctors have assumed that the lipids that cause atherosclerosis came from fatty, cholesterol-rich food. Yet researchers at the University of Connecticut (UConn) have found lipids with a chemical signature that doesn’t resemble lipids that come from animals. Instead, they come from the Bacteroidetes family of bacteria, which typically resides in the mouth and gastrointestinal tract.

“I always call them greasy bugs because they make so much lipid. They are constantly shedding tiny blebs of lipids. Looks like bunches of grapes,” said Frank Nichols, DDS, PhD, a UConn Health periodontist who studies the links between gum disease and atherosclerosis.

Bacteroidetes makes distinctive fats. The molecules have unusual fatty acids with branched chains and odd numbers of carbons. Typically, mammals don’t make branched chain fatty acids or fatty acids with odd numbers of carbons. The chemical differences between these bacterial lipids and human lipids result in subtle weight differences between the molecules.

“We used these weight differences and modern mass spectrometers to selectively measure the quantity of the bacterial lipids in human samples to link the lipids to atherosclerosis,” said Xudong Yao, PhD, MS, a UConn associate professor of chemistry who analyzed the lipid samples. “Establishment of such a link is a first step to mark the lipids as indicators for early disease diagnosis.”

The marked chemical differences between Bacteroidetes lipids and the human body’s native lipids may be the reason they cause disease, suggests Nichols. The immune cells that initially stick to the blood vessel walls and collect the lipids recognize them as foreign. These immune cells react to the lipids and set off alarms, inflaming and thickening the blood vessel walls, creating plaques, clogs, and atheromas.

Despite being non-native lipids, the Bacteroidetes lipids could be broken down by an enzyme in the body that processes lipids into the starting material to make inflammation-enhancing molecules. So, the Bacteroideteslipids damage blood vessels in two ways: the immune system sees them as a signal of bacterial invasion, and then enzymes break them down and super-charge the inflammation.

The researchers note that Bacteroidetes is not an invading species, as it usually remains in the oral cavity and in the gastrointestinal tract. If conditions are right, it can cause gum disease but not infect the blood vessels. However, the lipids it produces also pass easily through cell walls and into the bloodstream.

Read more via Oral Bacteria Linked with Atherosclerosis | Dentistry Today

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Secrets found in cosmic crash


photo courtesy ThinkLink

Even in the normally mind-blowing science of astronomy, this discovery was special.

Two months ago, scientists for the first time detected both the ripples in space and time and the light produced and emitted during the same cosmic event: the spectacular collision of two neutron stars.

The discovery would soon reveal secrets of the cosmos, including how gold was created.

Neutron stars, formed when massive stars explode in supernovas, are the smallest, densest stars known to exist. A teaspoon of a neutron star has a mass of about a billion tons.

The collision of neutron stars is known as a kilonova — an explosion similar to a supernova but on a smaller scale.

The crash generated a fierce burst of gamma rays and a gravitational wave, a faint ripple in the fabric of space and time first theorized by Albert Einstein a century ago.

“This is the one we’ve all been waiting for,” said David Reitze of CalTech in Pasadena, Calif., calling the collision “the most spectacular fireworks in the universe.”

Read more via Secrets of the cosmos: Scientists see cosmic crash, find origins of gold

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Newsletter Marketing Can Set Your Practice Apart | Dentistry Today


photo courtesy of Blue Streak Learning

Does your practice stand out from your competition? Regardless of whether you have 20 other dentists within a dense city mile or you’re one of 2 in your small town, we’re sure you want your practice to be set apart within the minds of your patients, prospective patients, and referring healthcare providers.

We don’t know of any successful dentists who set a goal of being like every other practice. Instead, successful practices know the value of standing out, and they make differentiation an important objective of their dental marketing strategies. They recognize that it has a very real impact on their practices’ bottom lines.

Before we go too far, what does it mean to differentiate your dental practice? From a marketing perspective, it means to be better or preferred. Some dentists may seek to look or sound like dentists they admire. While imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, that approach won’t help your practice to stand out.

Here are 4 reasons why you should differentiate your dental practice.

Differentiated Practices Are More Profitable

Regardless of the product or service, people pay more for a brand that stands out than they do for a generic option. This is true in grocery stores, car dealerships, and clothing stores. Brands that appear more sophisticated, more modern, or of higher quality reap greater bottom line rewards.

The most profitable brands, like the most successful dentists, need not be the most expensive. Amazon, for example, rules retail, not because it’s expensive, but because it’s expansive. Amazon is a trusted brand that has terrific differentiation. It stands out, and just about everyone uses it. As for profitability, it isn’t rated a top tech stock year after year for nothing.

No matter how new or old your practice may be, it’s never too early to think about the future. When it’s time to sell your practice, a great reputation and proven ongoing marketing systems will command a better price than one that doesn’t stand out from the others.

Newsletters help practices achieve greater profitability through differentiation by demonstrating to your current and lapsed patients that you value them enough to provide useful education. This helps build loyalty,while educating patients about their oral health. And, practices that use newsletters have a built-in, turnkey, ongoing marketing system that demonstrates even greater value and patient loyalty when it’s time to sell the practice or bring on an associate.

Differentiated Practices Have Loyal Patients

Speaking of loyalty, brands like Starbucks and Apple have dedicated followings. Their best customers aren’t bargain shoppers, but people who come back to them again and again because they are loyal to a brand that they identify with and respect. The same is true for dentists. Practices that stand out reap the rewards in loyal patients.

Because newsletters keep your practice in front of your patients on a monthly basis, in a non-intrusive and patient-centric way, they help to keep your patients on track with regular appointments. Newsletters also encourage patients who have allowed treatments to lapse to get into a healthy routine. And for those all-star patients who make their oral health a priority, receiving a newsletter from their trusted dentist reminds them that you care about them and want the best possible health for them and their families.

Patients Want to Be Treated by the Best Dentists  

Think back to how preferred brands stand out from generic alternatives. No one wants a mediocre dentist. Patients want safety, security, and confidence that you will always provide the best treatment. Whether it’s awards and degrees on your wall or clippings from local newspapers, most practices intentionally showcase their distinctions in their offices. They know these accolades help them stand out in the eyes of their patients.

But how are you showing patients that you’re a top performer when they’re not in your office?

Newsletters serve as ongoing reminders that you care about your patients enough to send them an informative and easy-to-read monthly educational resource. Timely and useful tips and updates on topics related to dental health illustrate to patients that you’re the best.

Educated Patients Are the Best Patients

Your best-educated patients are often your most loyal and most profitable. Never make the mistake of assuming your patients are aware of the full range of treatments you provide. Imagine long-time patients who go elsewhere for implant treatment that you could have provided in your office. They don’t even think to ask you because they don’t realize that you could provide this treatment.

Outside of your office, your newsletter is the best place to educate your patients about your practice and their oral health. If your dental newsletter is educational and easy to understand, your patients will read it. You can include practice announcements such as changes in hours, insurance policies, or new team members. Consider a regular feature that highlights a treatment to keep your patients well informed.

How are you actively working to make differentiation a part of your dental marketing strategy?

Mr. Klinghoffer is the president and publisher of WPI Communications. He founded WPI Communicationswith his wife, Lori, in 1984 and has helped hundreds of dentists build their practices with newsletters. To start a dental e-newsletter marketing program or to improve yours, contact WPI Communications at (800) 323-4995 or for a free, no-obligation consultation, or visit

via Newsletter Marketing Can Set Your Practice Apart | Dentistry Today

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Sterling has worst week in a year as political worries grow

silver01239545LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s pound fell to four-weeks lows on Friday, amid growing uncertainty over Prime Minister Theresa May’s control of the leadership and strong U.S labour market data that boosted the dollar.

Sterling was on track for its worst week in a year against the dollar and on a trade-weighted basis, after a more than 2 percent fall.

Prime Minister May said on Friday she would stay on as leader to provide stability after a former chairman of her Conservative Party said he had the support of 30 lawmakers who wanted her to quit.

May’s assurances gave sterling a brief lift – it briefly topped $1.31 after her statement – but they were not enough to assuage worries over divisions in the Conservative government.

“What’s weighing on sterling is primarily political developments. The market is pricing in a growing risk of an early election or a leadership change and the possibility of a leader with a hard Brexit agenda,” said Adam Cole, chief currency strategist at RBC.

Data last week showed speculators had turned positive on sterling for the first time in almost two years in the week up to last Tuesday. The gains were driven by expectations the Bank of England would raise interest rates and optimism around Brexit negotiations. [IMM/FX]

via Sterling has worst week in a year as political worries grow

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Fluoride Linked With Lower Intelligence in Children


Public water systems in Mexico are not fluoridated. Instead, salt is fluoridated to prevent tooth decay.Photo by Dubravko Sorić

Fluoride in the urine of pregnant women shows a correlation with lower measures of intelligence in their children, according to a team of international researchers working in Mexico. However, the ADA and the American Fluoridation Society (AFS) caution consumers against reading the results as a reason to avoid community fluoridation efforts.

“Our study shows that the growing fetal nervous system may be adversely affected by higher levels of fluoride exposure,” said Howard Hu, MD, MS, ScD, principal investigator and professor of environmental health, epidemiology, and global health at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. “It also suggests that the prenatal nervous system may be more sensitive to fluoride compared to that of school-aged children.”

Read more via Fluoride Linked With Lower Intelligence in Children | Dentistry Today

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Neanderthal behaviour, diet, and disease inferred from ancient DNA in dental calculus : Nature : Nature Research

ancient teethRecent genomic data have revealed multiple interactions between Neanderthals and modern humans1, but there is currently little genetic evidence regarding Neanderthal behaviour, diet, or disease. Here we describe the shotgun-sequencing of ancient DNA from five specimens of Neanderthal calcified dental plaque (calculus) and the characterization of regional differences in Neanderthal ecology. At Spy cave, Belgium, Neanderthal diet was heavily meat based and included woolly rhinoceros and wild sheep (mouflon), characteristic of a steppe environment. In contrast, no meat was detected in the diet of Neanderthals from El Sidrón cave, Spain, and dietary components of mushrooms, pine nuts, and moss reflected forest gathering23. Differences in diet were also linked to an overall shift in the oral bacterial community (microbiota) and suggested that meat consumption contributed to substantial variation within Neanderthal microbiota. Evidence for self-medication was detected in an El Sidrón Neanderthal with a dental abscess4 and a chronic gastrointestinal pathogen (Enterocytozoon bieneusi). Metagenomic data from this individual also contained a nearly complete genome of the archaeal commensal Methanobrevibacter oralis (10.2× depth of coverage)—the oldest draft microbial genome generated to date, at around 48,000 years old. DNA preserved within dental calculus represents a notable source of information about the behaviour and health of ancient hominin specimens, as well as a unique system that is useful for the study of long-term microbial evolution.

Read more via Neanderthal behaviour, diet, and disease inferred from ancient DNA in dental calculus : Nature : Nature Research

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