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.

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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.”

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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 info@wpicommunications.com for a free, no-obligation consultation, or visit wpicommunications.com.

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.”

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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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Aspirin May Repair Tooth Decay | Dentistry Today

asprinTooth decay is the most common dental disease worldwide, but a common medication may be able to reverse its effects. By combining genomics and bioinformatics, researchers at Queen’s University Belfast have found that aspirin can stimulate existing stem cells found in teeth to enhance the regeneration of damaged tooth structure.

According to the researchers, treatment of stem cells from teeth using low-dose aspirin significantly increased mineralization and the expression of genes responsible for forming dentin. Coupled with the known anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects of aspirin, the researchers believe this discovery could provide a unique solution for controlling tooth nerve inflammation while promoting natural tooth repair.

“There is huge potential to change our approach to one of the biggest dental challenges we face. Our initial research findings in the laboratory suggest that the use of aspirin, a drug already licensed for human use, could offer an immediate, innovative solution—enabling our teeth to repair themselves,” said principal investigator Dr. Ikhlas El Karim, senior clinical lecturer and consultant in restorative dentistry at the university.

Tooth decay is especially challenging in England, where the National Health Service (NHS) provides about 7 million fillings each year. Additionally, tooth decay is the leading cause of hospital admissions for children, with an average of 161 extractions a day that cost the NHS more than £35.6 million, or $43.3 million, each year.

“Our next step will be to develop an appropriate delivery system to test the drug efficacy in a clinical trial,” said El Karim. “This novel approach could not only increase the long-term survival of teeth but could also result in huge savings for the NHS and other healthcare systems worldwide.”

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Five Steps to a Successful Candy Buyback Program | Dentistry Today

Five Steps to a Successful Candy Buyback Program

Summer is fading, and the holiday season is right around the corner. All too soon, it will kick off with the sugar-fest that dentists and parents across the country dread. Seven in 10 parents wish their children received less candy and more sugar-free alternatives when trick-or-treating. That doesn’t seem likely to happen, as Americans spend billions of dollars on Halloween annually.

This year, you can help get excess candy out of kids’ hands and your dental practice into the news with a buyback program. Children sell their excess candy to your practice for a set price per pound. The kids have less sugar to consume, and the candy gets donated to a good cause.

Buyback Basics

First, name your event. There may be several dentists in the area conducting similar programs. Avoid confusion and make sure that yours is memorable with a distinctive, catchy name. Include your practice name to ensure that you get maximum brand exposure.

Second, set a date. Candy buybacks are normally held within the first week of November. Most practices choose the day after Halloween. Choose the date and time as soon as possible, so you can instruct your staff to schedule accordingly. You will want few, if any, appointments during that time, and you may need to schedule extra staff that day.

Third, set a price. The most common price offered is $1.00 per pound of candy. Some dentists choose to offer small gifts in addition to, or instead of, cash, such as gift certificates, toys, holiday-themed toothbrushes, or other appropriate rewards.

Fourth, choose a recipient. So, what will you do with all of that candy? The most common answer is to donate it to Operation Gratitude, an organization that sends care packages to active members of the armed forces. You can simply box up the collected candy, include a donation form, and mail it. The group takes care of the rest. Some dentists choose to work with other worthy organizations, or distribute the candy themselves. For example, one practice chose to send its donations to children’s hospitals for kids who were not able to trick or treat.

Fifth, preparation is key to a successful event. If you are offering gifts or prizes, procure them well in advance to avoid last-minute glitches. You will also need to have some basic supplies, including a postal scale or something similar for weighing candy, large bins for collecting donations, and some decorations to set a festive atmosphere. Don’t forget to have plenty of business cards or promotional materials, and hand them out as you collect candy.

Estimate the number of participants, and make sure that your office is adequately staffed. Also, assign someone to take pictures for posting on social media, adding to your website gallery, and including with press releases.

Promoting the Program

Charitable and community events present unique marketing opportunities, because you can reach an audience that normal advertising cannot. Create a buzz, get people talking about your practice, and establish yourself as a community leader.

The best ways to get the word out include:

  • Send a press release announcing the event, date, time, place, and beneficiary. When the buy-back is over, send another release including the number of kids who participated, the amount of candy collected, and other relevant information.
  • Contact local radio and television stations, as well as social media influencers. Ask them to announce the event, and encourage them to attend. Be sure to reach out to any broadcasters who host special interest segments.
  • Notify schools, local children’s organizations, and parenting groups.
  • Newspapers, business associations, and community-oriented websites often have event calendars. Ask them to add your buyback program.
  • Include the event in your newsletter, put up posters about it in your office, and talk to your patients about it.
  • Promote your event heavily on social media. It is challenging to get people to share simple practice advertisements, but they are eager to talk about fun and beneficial community events.

Take Your Event to the Next Level

Halloween candy programs are among the simplest to organize, and they can easily be expanded. Some practices offer prizes to increase the turnout. For example, you could award a gift certificate to the child or family who brings the most candy. You can also encourage schools, teams, or clubs to participate with a prize for the largest group donation.

If you want to grow the event without reaching deeper into your pocket, team up with fellow dentists, nutritionists, and pediatricians in your town for a combined buyback program. You can also ask other businesses and organizations in the area to sponsor your event by making contributions. As an added bonus, sponsors are usually eager to help advertise the program, because they also want maximum brand exposure.

Don’t spend another Halloween having nightmares about kids and cavities. Instead, make this holiday a public relations dream come true for your dental practice.

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The Gold Problem

12By: Edwin F. Gay

MONEY as a useful tool of civilization has been known for more than a score of centuries, but only during the last four centuries of more rapid economic expansion has its utilization demanded a marked development of technical skill and a refinement of theory. This modern period was ushered in with an intensified demand in Europe for gold and silver which was the result of an evident undersupply and which was sated by the voyages of discovery and the American mines. The precious metals poured into Europe through Spain, and as the flood swelled prices mounted until, from the middle of the sixteenth century to the middle of the seventeenth, there occurred a price revolution greater in volume and in its economic, social and political effects than any other which history records. Contemporary observers, casting about for the cause of the violent and general rise of prices, first discovered and roughly stated what came to be known as the quantity theory of money. They recognized from experience that prices tend to vary directly with the quantity of money in circulation. As gold and silver became more abundant and relatively less valuable, more coins of standard weight (i.e., higher prices) had to be paid in exchange for practically all other commodities — most of all for food products.

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gold price: With gold prices hitting 11-month high, is it time to invest in the yellow metal? – Times of India

gold chainsWhen Kim Jong-Un, the Supreme Leader of North Korea, pressed the button that detonated a hydrogen bomb last fortnight, gold traders around the world must have rejoiced, since gold usually does well during geopolitical turmoil. International gold prices reached an 11-month high of $1,335 last week.

But can we expect the rally to continue? Most experts don’t expect a big upward move from current levels. Here’s why.

Geopolitical concerns

There is no telling what will happen next in the ongoing tussle between US and North Korea. “If the crisis in the Korean peninsula continues, we might see international gold prices inching higher towards the $1,360 mark,” says Prathamesh Mallya, Chief Analyst, Non-Agri Commodities & Currencies, Angel Commodities Broking. This also means that prices could crash if fears of a military strike recede. “The geopolitical risk is already in the price. Gold will see an immediate correction if the Korean peninsula crisis ends,” says Lakshmi Iyer, Head of Fixed Income and Product, Kotak Mahindra Mutual Fund.

Weakening dollar

Other factors like the weakening dollar, the Federal Reserve not increasing interest rates and concerns about the Trump regime are also propping up gold prices. “We expect gold prices to remain range-bound with an upward bias in the coming months,” says Hareesh V , Research Head, Geofin Comtrade.

Since international gold is dollar denominated, the two share an inverse relationship. Dollar has slipped against major currencies and experts don’t see any let up on that front. Only a rate hike by the Federal Reserve can strengthen the dollar, but it keeps getting postponed. Conflicting economic signals by the Trump administration is another factor keeping the dollar low.

Read more via gold price: With gold prices hitting 11-month high, is it time to invest in the yellow metal? – Times of India

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