Making a Visible Difference | Valderrama Orthodontics

“I always saw dentistry as a part of a more HOLISTIC view of healthcare.”

Dr. V consulting with a patient different options, traditional or clear, lingual braces or clear aligners.

When we search for healthcare providers, there are two qualities that engender trust. The kind of trust that provides peace of mind in the moment and confidence in the future. Between medical professionals and their patients, it is based on their doctor’s ability; are they qualified? And their empathy; do they really care?

It would be difficult to determine which quality is stronger in Dr. Natalia Valderrama, of Valderrama Orthodontics in Melbourne. How many graduate from medical school in dentistry at just 18? Not one in a million people, but perhaps one in a million doctors. Then, she became a celebrated and innovative provider of oral health and treatment, in the poorest and most remote parts of her native Columbia, often traveling by horseback to treat villages in rural areas.

Looking back on what drew her towards dentistry she said, “I loved science and was fascinated with how the human body operated.” This, along with the influence of her mother, a biology professor; her father, a philosopher and a philanthropist; and her own orthodontist, who gave her a transformative experience when she was a teenager and encouraged her focus on her profession.

“I had such a wonderful experience with an orthodontist and saw what a difference they could make in a life. I prayed that one day I would be able to have that kind of impact on others.”

COMING TO AMERICA

State of the art equipment, software and technology allows digital treatment planning of cases for individualized needs

With latest scanning technology, her patients do not have to take impressions and molds any longer, since everything is done via the internet.

Already a successful and experienced dentist with her own practice, at 25 she came to America on vacation and was captivated by how clean, modern and safe it was. “I loved the country and three days after my arrival, I decided this is where I wanted to live,” Dr. Valderrama said.

Though eminent in her native country, like many immigrants before her, she had to divert to a slightly different track to help her achieve American citizenship and an ability to practice dentistry. She chose to become a registered nurse.

“Part of the reason I did that is was I wanted to understand how the larger healthcare system in America worked,” she explained. “By becoming a nurse, I served in hospitals in the ER, labor and delivery and intensive care; my goal was to become a better overall clinician. I always saw dentistry as a part of a more holistic view of healthcare.”

She then went through a special international advanced program in general dentistry at the Eastman Institute for Oral Health at the University of Rochester. Having finished that program, she continued on to complete a specialty in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics.

Orthodontists, in addition to completing their general dentistry training, spend two to three years specializing in the diagnosis, prevention and correction of misaligned teeth and jaws, including overbites, occlusions and overcrowded mouths.

THE DIFFERENCE EXPERIENCE MAKES

Consultations include a digital photo and radiographic analysis as well as an oro-facial, respiratory and dental assessment of the patient.

“I wanted to be in a place where I could help people and I realized that in dentistry I have the power to change people’s lives,” Dr. Valderrama said. “That is why we offer free consultations; because part of my mission is to use my knowledge and experience for the betterment of others.”

One of the critical differentiators she identified, being initially trained and practicing in a poorer country, was that the focus of healthcare in these countries is on prevention, rather than curing people once they are sick. Early detection and intervention are foundational to their approach. From a quality of life, as well as the practicality of pure economics, the benefits are obvious. “If you can detect and intervene early, it has a huge impact,” she observed.

In addition, Dr. Valderrama is proactive in taking the initiative to refer patients to other medical specialists. “The longer you wait to treat a problem, the worse the problem has the potential to become. A simple referral to an ENT(Ear, Nose, Throat specialist), speech therapist or a general dentist can make a remarkable difference.”

Dr. Valderrama, is also committed to collaboration and with digital technologies at her disposal she is able to consult with specialists and clinicians from around the world.

CHANGING FACE OF ORTHODONTICS

“My practice covers both sides of the age spectrum,” she said. “For the young, we focus on early diagnosis and treatment, but I also have patients as old as 82.” The explanation is simple: she is seeing and treating people who have been suffering the effects of poor alignment all their lives.

Thus, they have gum problemsbecause they can’t floss properly,or their teeth are wearing incorrectly. Now with life expectancies increasing with each generation, what was once considered old, is now seen almost as middle age. Thus, orthodontic care becomes a healthy, quality of life and lifestyle option.

The case for having straight teeth isn’t simply a cosmetic issue, rather it helps ensure your teeth last longer and your overall health is improved. Therefore, if you are expecting to live to 100 or 110, then orthodontic care in your 50’s and 60’s makes perfect sense. “These individuals have the potential to be able to keep their teeth for an additional 40 or 50 years,” she said.

According to the American Association of Orthodontics, children should see an Orthodontist for an exam before they are 7 years old. Dr. Valderrama offers complimentary consultations at her practice: Valderrama Orthodontics in Suntree/ Viera.

The post Making a Visible Difference | Valderrama Orthodontics appeared first on Space Coast Living Magazine.

This content was originally published here.

Liberal outlet Vox recommends mental health treatment to recover from psychological trauma of Trump’s presidency

“His presidency is over, but the trauma isn’t,” Vox’s Anna North wrote in solemn reference to the mental health impact of former President Donald Trump’s four years in the Oval Office, suggesting that many Americans are still grappling with the effects of “Trump anxiety disorder” even now after he has left office.

What did she say?

In a lengthy column published by the liberal news outlet on Thursday, North argued that Trump’s presidency was so detrimental to the American psyche that lasting mental health effects can still be felt today and will likely continue to plague society for some time to come.

“Now, Trump has finally left office, despite his constant threats that he wouldn’t. But the impact on the American psyche of four years of racist rhetoric, incitements of violence, and out-and-out chaos remains,” she said, adding later: “Like the impact of Trump’s policies, that stress doesn’t go away overnight, especially when the conditions that led to his election — systemic racism, anti-immigrant paranoia, and the rampant spread of misinformation — are still very much a reality.”

To prove her point, North cited a nationwide survey published by the American Psychological Association showing that stress levels tied to the nation’s political climate were steadily on the rise during Trump’s presidency.

The survey reportedly found that in 2016, following Trump’s surprise election-night victory over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, 63% of Americans felt the future of the country was a “significant source of stress,” while 56% said they were “stressed by the current political climate.” Then in 2018, those numbers went up to 69% and 62%, respectively.

Another survey published by the APA found that the 2020 presidential election, specifically, was a more significant source for stress for Americans than the 2016 election by a whopping 16 percentage points, jumping from 52% to 68%.

North argued that while Trump’s time in office may have been a source of excitement and enthusiasm for some, “For many others, his presidency was, quite simply, scary,” even going on to compare the lasting effects of his presidency to those that accompany a physically abusive relationship.

What’s the solution?

But people don’t have to live like this forever, North argued; “rest, treatment, and action can help people recover from trauma.”

Relaying advice from clinical psychologist Jennifer Panning and gender justice advocate Farrah Khan, North wrote, “For some, the first step toward rebuilding that feeling will be simply acknowledging that the past four years — and especially the last year — have been traumatic.”

She then noted that one way people can heal is through self-care practices such as “online storytelling, journaling, and crafting workshops.” Though others struggling with symptoms of depression or anxiety may need to seek outside help in the form of therapy and medical treatment.

Still others can look to “activism” as a way to heal, Khan asserted in the article, though Khan cautioned that even activists need to make time for rest.

This content was originally published here.

Englewood Health’s New Dental Residency Program Meets Community Need for Affordable General Dentistry Services

November 3, 2020 — Englewood Health has launched a dental residency program for newly graduated dentists. Accredited by the Commission of Dental Accreditation, the one-year general dentistry residency offers residents supervised hands-on training, instruction, and clinical rotations in both inpatient and outpatient settings, while providing patients with both surgical and restorative services. Upon completion of the program, dental residents are prepared to provide oral health care independently in the community for a wide range of patients.

“This is an important and much-needed service for our community,” says John Minichetti, DMD, chief of dentistry at Englewood Health and program director of the Dental Residency Program. “In addition to training the next generation of dentists, our new dental clinic offers patients top-notch care, provided by well-trained residents under the supervision of highly regarded dentists from our community, regardless of income.”

Training Program for New Dentists

Launched in September, the dental residency program accepts three dental residents each year, with one resident continuing for a second year as program facilitator. Each of Englewood Health’s dental residents has completed a four-year dental school program, graduating with a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Medical Dentistry (DMD) degree. The program is supervised and taught by a volunteer faculty of 16 private-practice dentists from throughout northern New Jersey.

As part of their training, residents complete clinical rotations through Englewood Hospital’s anesthesia, emergency medicine, internal medicine, pathology, and radiology departments, as well as a rotation at the oral maxillofacial surgery trauma center at St. Joseph’s University Medical Center in Paterson, where they participate in multidisciplinary care.

In addition to general dentistry training, the program provides the dental residents with a one-year, 300-hour implantology course, given on weekends, where they learn to perform implant surgery and prosthetic rehabilitation.

Dental Clinic for Underserved Patients in the Englewood Community

A newly established outpatient dental clinic, located at North Hudson Community Action Corporation (a federally qualified health center) on South Van Brunt Street in Englewood, staffed by the dental residents and supervised by the faculty members, is open for appointments Monday through Friday. The facility has four treatment rooms and state-of-the-art equipment, including an advanced CTCB scanner and digital imaging. The dental clinic provides:

  • a full range of general dentistry services
  • availability to everyone in the community, based on need
  • safe care for medically compromised patients
  • consultative services for Englewood Hospital patients, including inpatient medical and surgical, radiation oncology, cardiology, and emergency medicine

Services offered in the outpatient dental clinic include:

  • oral examinations
  • cleanings
  • extractions
  • root canals
  • crowns
  • implants
  • dentures
  • operating room dentistry for patients who are dentophobia, medically compromised patients, special needs patients, and some pediatric patients
  • pediatric dentistry
  • specialized care for patients with special needs, including autism spectrum disorder

In addition to outpatient services, Englewood Health’s Department of Dentistry now provides hospital inpatient consultations and care for toothache, broken dentures, and other conditions. Consultative services are provided by dentistry residents under the supervision of attending dentists, including in radiation oncology, cardiology, and emergency medicine.

“Dental health is intrinsic to overall health and well-being,” says Dr. Minichetti. “Our team is restoring patients’ oral health by eliminating pain, enabling them to eat properly and more nutritiously, and improving their appearance—all of which ultimately can impact socialization, job opportunities, and overall functioning in society.”

He adds, “Prevention is essential. Dental conditions such as gum disease can lead to tooth loss and jawbone deterioration; they can also be a risk factor for heart and systemic disease. A history of smoking can lead to oral cancers that might go unidentified. It’s important not to neglect one’s teeth and gums.”

“With the dental residency program, new dentists gain experience in both inpatient and outpatient settings and, as a health care system, we ensure that everyone in our community has access to high-quality, affordable dental care.”

For more information on Englewood Health’s Dental Clinic, call 201-537-4442.

The post Englewood Health’s New Dental Residency Program Meets Community Need for Affordable General Dentistry Services appeared first on Englewood Health.

This content was originally published here.

Gov. Cuomo’s Top Health Officials Jump Ship | Dan Bongino

A new report from New York’s Attorney General found that as bad as the state’s nursing home scandal was, it was worse than we initially believed.

While there were roughly 8,711 deaths recorded in New York’s nursing homes the day before the AG’s report, those stats didn’t provide an complete picture. If a nursing home resident caught coronavirus in the home and then was transported to a hospital where they later died, that wasn’t counted as a nursing home death. When counting deaths accurately, the AG report found that there an estimated 12,743 nursing home deaths.

Since the reports publication, Cuomo has finally gotten the delayed criticism over his nursing home policy that he’s long deserved. Even more shocking than the extent of the undercounting is the fact that this isn’t actually some grand revelation. We’ve known as much since at least August thanks to a report from the Associated Press on undercounting in the nursing home death toll – with their estimates in line with what the AG report. At the time there were an estimated 6,000 nursing home deaths, while the AP estimated the true number around twice that.

Meanwhile, Cuomo’s top health advisers are jumping ship. According to the New York Post:

At least nine top Cuomo administration health officials have resigned, retired or been reassigned amid the coronavirus crisis that’s devastated New York.
The flood of departures was reported Monday by the New York Times, which tied them to dissatisfaction with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s handling of the coronavirus crisis and cited sources who complained that pandemic policy is set entirely by Cuomo and a close circle of aides rather than health experts.

Meanwhile, Cuomo has stood by his top health expert, Zucker, despite ongoing controversy over the Health Department’s March 25 directive for nursing homes to accept COVID-19 patients — which critics have blamed for spreading the virus among highly vulnerable residents, with disastrous results.

Last week, Zucker also came under fire following Attorney General Letitia James’ revelation that the DOH downplayed the total number of nursing home deaths by withholding the number of residents who died in hospitals.

Cuomo himself said of the nursing home deaths following the AG report, “who cares.”

“It’s not about pointing finger. It’s a blame. It’s that this became a political football, but who cares?… died in a hospital, died in a nursing home. They died! Why COVID? Why did God do this? I don’t know” he said. It’s reminiscent of Hillary Clinton’s post-Benghazi comment; “What difference, at this point, does it make?”

The comment was widely condemned as insensitive – and at the very minimum it was terribly worded. Cuomo seemed to be trying to argue that people dying of coronavirus were going to die of it regardless of their geographic location, so why focus on nursing homes? The obvious answer is that those deaths could’ve been avoided by not sending coronavirus patients to nursing homes.

This content was originally published here.

What Dallas Dentists Say About Mail-Order Orthodontics – D Magazine

Two years ago, I plopped down nearly five grand to have my teeth straightened with Invisalign. The orthodontic alternative to traditional metal or clear braces uses a series of removable custom aligners to move teeth into tidy rows. Everything about the process—from having a mouth full of plastic for 22 hours a day to monthly visits to my dentist—was annoying. I hated every second of it, but I am happy with the results.

I was likely a candidate for the much less expensive SmileDirectClub, but it was only after I began treatment that Facebook started serving me ads for the nascent direct-to-consumer orthodontia business. Founded in 2014 and based in Nashville, SmileDirectClub opened its first Dallas office downtown at WeWork in March 2017, only a few months before I began Invisalign treatment. Today, it has five freestanding SmileShops in North Texas. In June, the company unveiled locations inside four CVS pharmacies in Dallas, Plano, Bedford, and Fort Worth, with seven more planned for 2019. That has drawn frowns from some Dallas dentists.

SmileDirectClub bills itself as teledentistry meant to “democratize access to a straighter smile through an affordable and convenient direct-to-consumer platform.” It has spawned many imitators with camel-cased names that suggest gaps between words, like gaps between teeth, are ugly. They include SmileLove, ClearCorrect, and SnapCorrect. Some dentists and orthodontists are concerned about the potential for permanent damage from this lightly guided approach to teeth straightening. In April, the American Dental Association filed a citizen petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to shut down SmileDirectClub. The public has until October 22 to comment.

But is the pushback legit or merely outrage over a market disruption?

“Well, that is the question,” says a 30-year dentistry veteran and top Invisalign provider in Dallas who called the issue “a very hot topic.” It’s so hot that she wouldn’t speak on the record for fear of litigation. “The concern is unidentified problems that can develop without the supervision of the dentist watching the movement of the teeth,” she says. Though she admits, “I’ve had two SmileDirect patients come in, and I have to tell you, I don’t hate it.” For that opinion, she says, her colleagues might pop her in the mouth.

There are differences in the treatments. The Invisalign treatment is available only through a licensed dentist, whom you have to see repeatedly during treatment. It has been around since 1997, and if you want to go this route, your dentist will look at your teeth and gums and take X-rays to determine if you are a candidate. If you get the green light, a dental tech takes 3D scans of your teeth with a wand called an iTero. Those images are sent to Invisalign, which sets a treatment plan and 3D-prints a series of removable aligners. In a couple of weeks, you return to your dentist for the first of the aligners, which are like super thin mouth guards for the upper and lower teeth. You wear each of them every minute that you are not eating or cleaning your teeth for 10 to 14 days. Then you move to the next set of aligners in the series. Every 30 to 45 days, you visit your dentist for an exam and to get a few more aligners. Invisalign treatment generally lasts 12 to 18 months. The average cost is $5,750.

None of the Dallas practitioners I spoke to are worried about losing patients to SmileDirectClub. All insist that their concerns are a matter of health and safety.

Treatment through SmileDirectClub works similarly. The biggest differences: no in-person visits to the dentist and a much lower price. A patient declares that his or her teeth and gums are healthy before visiting a SmileShop for 3D scans or purchasing an at-home impression kit from CVS, Macy’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, or the internet. A licensed dentist or orthodontist reviews the scans or impressions to determine the patient’s eligibility and set a plan. The patient is then asked to check in with a SmileDirectClub dentist every 90 days via phone, text, or email and to continue regular checkups with his or her own dentist. SmileDirectClub claims treatment lasts on average just six months—presumably because it accepts only mild to moderate cases of crowding or spacing, and focuses on moving only the front teeth. (Invisalign can be used to treat more severe cases.) It costs $1,895 plus $49 for the impression kit (scans are free).

Dr. Sarah Poteet has a private dentistry practice near Preston Center. She says she has a patient who is likely going to lose a tooth as a result of an infection that she feels was exacerbated by SmileDirectClub treatment. “If someone has gum disease or bone loss, and you start moving teeth in a compromised foundation, you can end up losing teeth as a direct result of that movement,” Poteet says. “The problem with cavities and gum disease is that patients don’t always feel pain. People look at their teeth and they look fine. They think, I can get a better deal. It’s cheaper to do this, and I don’t have time, and I am just going to take the shortcut.”

In other words, she says, it’s risky to move your teeth without knowing for sure that your dental health is A+, and the price you pay could be something you can’t put on a credit card.

“It’s not that the systems inherently don’t work,” says orthodontist Dr. Brody Hildebrand of Preston Hollow Specialists, which provides traditional braces as well as Invisalign. “There is merit to the technology. The issue is who is overseeing things. Who is the person responsible for the treatment and how does the patient address issues when they arise? The fact is, problems happen.”

That’s not something SmileDirectClub disputes. “If there is an outcome that is undesirable, we get involved and manage it,” says Dr. Jeffrey Sulitzer, chief clinical officer at SmileDirectClub. “It’s a significant small minority, and you handle it as you would anything as a clinician.” He stresses that the business works “with Texas-licensed doctors, managed by the same rules and regulations. They are doctors with the same passion about standard of care and the same passion for making sure the dental board is comfortable. Ninety-eight-point-five percent of the doctors affiliated with SmileDirectClub treat patients in their own practices as well. A lot of establishment organizations are pushing back, even though they know the model is safe, efficacious, and productive. They don’t want it to be true.”

I called the Dallas County Dental Society to ask about that. Its president, Dr. Brad Crump, referred me to the American Dental Association. A senior manager in the communications department there emailed me a list of links to its website. One of them warns against “potential irreversible harm” from direct-to-consumer orthodontic services. A representative at the Baylor College of Dentistry told me to call the American Association of Orthodontists. As part of a consumer alert, that organization has posted on its website a list of 14 questions to ask when considering direct-to-consumer orthodontics.

Though Dr. Poteet admits the uproar is a bit of a turf war, none of the Dallas practitioners I spoke to are worried about losing patients to SmileDirectClub. All insist that their concerns are a matter of health and safety.

So should you trust your smile to teledentistry? Should you drop by CVS to begin a teeth-straightening plan? That depends. If you don’t have a major dental problem and you’re a responsible adult committed to brushing, flossing, and regular dental checkups, you’ll likely be just fine. But do your research first. Google. Talk to a dental professional. Be honest with yourself. And know that, as Hildebrand warns, if you end up with a misaligned bite that causes problems down the road, your dentist may say, “I told you so.”

This content was originally published here.

Research shapes safe dentistry during COVID-19 — ScienceDaily

It is well known that coronavirus can spread in airborne particles, moving around rooms to infect people, and this has been a major consideration when looking into patient and clinician safety.

Research, published in the Journal of Dentistry, has led the way in helping shape national clinical guidance for the profession to work effectively under extremely challenging circumstances.

The findings have been used by the Dental Schools’ Council, Association of Dental Hospitals and the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme to guide key Covid-19 policies for the profession.

Research findings

Research revealed that aerosol generated procedures — such as fillings and root canal treatment — can spray aerosol and saliva particles from dental instruments large distances and contamination varied widely depending on the processes used.

In the open clinic settings, dental suction substantially decreased contamination at sites further away from the patient, such as bays five meters away. Often these distant sites had no contamination present or if contamination was detected it was at very low levels, diluted by 60,000 — 70,000 times.

It was also found that after 10 minutes, very little additional contaminated aerosol settled onto surfaces and therefore is a suitable time to clean a surgery after an aerosol-generating procedure.

Dr Richard Holliday, NIHR Clinical Lecturer in Restorative Dentistry at Newcastle University, UK, said: “Our research has improved our understanding of dental aerosol generated procedures and identified how cross-contamination could be a risk for spreading Covid-19.

“When the pandemic began, dental services were significantly reduced and there was an urgent need by the profession to focus on how dental clinics could work in a safe environment for patients and staff.

“We now have a much greater understanding of where the splatter of aerosols go and how far they travel during different procedures and settings, allowing clinical teams to make informed decisions to protect people.

“I am pleased that our research here at Newcastle has been used nationally by leading dental bodies to inform their policies on how the profession should carry out procedures during the pandemic.”

Collaborative effort

A research team from the School of Dental Sciences, including clinicians, dental nurses, microbiologists and scientists carried out the study.

The team used the tracer dye, fluorescein, while carrying out aerosol-generating procedures on a dental mannequin to analyse how far and where aerosol particles and saliva travelled from the patient’s mouth.

A range of procedures were done and the effect of suction and ventilation analysed. Experts looked at contamination close by and also in an open plan clinic.

Kimberley Pickering, a research dental nurse involved in the study, said: “For the safe re-opening of dental services, it was essential to understand the behaviour of the aerosols that come out of a patient’s mouth during dental work.

“We now better understand where the aerosols go and how far they travel during different procedures and settings.

“We also understand how dental aerosols settle over time, which has helped inform cross-infection control procedures.”

Further research will continue to focus on where aerosol and droplets from dental instruments travel and how far they go. Experts will also look at how long aerosols hang around in the air and examine a number of common dental procedures and methods of controlling aerosols.

A key part of the research will investigate if viruses can be carried in dental aerosols, and if viruses remain infective at a distance from the procedure. This will help experts to understand how to reduce the risk of microbes, like Covid-19, being spread by aerosols during dental treatment.

Student case study

The research led the team to develop a new clinic configuration to allow the safe return of dental students and their patients.

Newcastle University’s School of Dental Sciences is one the first universities in the country to recommence teaching aerosol-generating procedures to students in person during the pandemic.

Fourth year student Paddy Crawshaw said: “Being a dental student during the pandemic has been a big challenge, but dental students feel lucky to come into University every day and get in-person teaching as it’s a privilege to treat our patients.

“The Dental School has been very supportive since the pandemic began. It is clear that senior clinicians and academics have worked hard behind the scenes to allow us to return to clinical teaching.

“The common goal of delivering first-class treatment for our patients has enhanced the Dental School’s sense of community and this has really helped me through this term.

“I am proud of the way Newcastle Dental School and all of its staff and students have come together in the face of adversity through the Covid-19 pandemic. To know we are one of the first schools in the country offering a full range of student-led treatments for our patients makes me feel lucky to be studying here.

“Due to the extensive research undertaken by the School I have never felt unsafe, whether extracting a tooth or doing a simple examination I know the School’s protocols are allowing me to work safely.”

This content was originally published here.

New Report From Rep. Katie Porter Reveals How Big Pharma Pursues ‘Killer Profits’ at the Expense of Americans’ Health

Rep. Katie Porter on Friday published a damning report revealing the devastating effects of Big Pharma mergers and acquisitions on U.S. healthcare, and recommending steps Congress should take to enact “comprehensive, urgent reform” of an integral part of a broken healthcare system. 

“In 2018, the year that Donald Trump’s tax giveaway to the wealthy went into effect, 12 of the biggest pharmaceutical companies spent more money on stock buybacks than on research and development.”
—Report

The report, entitled Killer Profits: How Big Pharma Takeovers Destroy Innovation and Harm Patients, begins by noting that “in just 10 years, the number of large, international pharmaceutical companies decreased six-fold, from 60 to only 10.”

While pharmaceutical executives often attempt to portray such consolidation as a means to increase operational efficiency, the report states that “digging a level deeper ‘exposes a troubling industry-wide trend of billions of dollars of corporate resources going toward acquiring other pharmaceutical corporations with patent-protected blockbuster drugs instead of putting those resources toward’ discovery of new drugs.”

Merger and acquisition (M&A) deals are often executed to “boost stock prices,” to “stop competitors,” and to “acquire an innovative blockbuster drug with an enormous prospective revenue stream.” 

“Instead of spending on innovation, Big Pharma is hoarding its money for salaries and dividends,” the report says, “all while swallowing smaller companies, thus making the marketplace far less competitive.” 

Today, our office released a bombshell report exposing the devastating effects of Big Pharma’s mergers and acquisitions. Featuring exclusive interviews with former Immunex, and later Amgen employees, our report shows how consolidation curbs innovation at the expense of patients.

— Rep. Katie Porter (@RepKatiePorter) January 29, 2021

Our report is clear: Consolidation destroys scientific cultures that once celebrated creativity and transforms them into places that cater to the whims of shortsighted shareholders.

But our investigation also shows how we can chart a new path forward https://t.co/1jxtK9J6rh

— Rep. Katie Porter (@RepKatiePorter) January 29, 2021

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The report calls M&As “just the tip of the iceberg of pharmaceutical companies’ anti-competitive, profit-driven behaviors”:

Pharmaceutical companies often claim that lowering the prices of prescription drugs in the United States would devastate innovation. Yet, as prices have skyrocketed over the last few decades, these same companies’ investment in research and development have failed to match this same pace. Instead, they’ve dedicated more and more of their funds to enrich shareholders or to purchase other companies to eliminate competition.

“In 2018, the year that [former President] Donald Trump’s tax giveaway to the wealthy went into effect, 12 of the biggest pharmaceutical companies spent more money on stock buybacks than on research and development,” the report notes.

Some key findings from the report:

“Competition is central to capitalism,” Porter said in a press release introducing the report. “As our report shows, Big Pharma has little incentive to invest in new, critically needed drugs. Instead, pharmaceutical giants are free to devote their resources to acquiring smaller companies that might otherwise force them to compete.”

“Lives are on the line; it’s clear the federal government needs to reform how it evaluates healthcare mergers and patent abuses,” Porter added. 

To that end, Porter’s report recommends the following actions:

“It’s time we reevaluate the standards for approving these mergers,” the report concludes. “It’s time we pass legislation to lower drug prices. And it’s time we rethink the structure of leadership at big pharmaceutical companies. Together, these strategies can help us bring more innovative, and critically needed, cures and treatments to market.”

This content was originally published here.

Lawyer for ‘QAnon shaman’ claims client’s health deteriorating in jail without organic food – POLITICO

Last week, Chansley filed a request for organic food, which he said is all he has eaten for the past eight years, according to court documents. He said the last time he ate was the morning of Jan. 25 and asked for some canned vegetables, canned wild-caught tuna or organic canned soup.

“I will continue to pray thru the pain and do my best not to complain,” Chansley wrote in the request. “I have strayed from my spiritual diet only a few times over the last 8 years with detrimental physical effects. As a spiritual man I am willing to suffer for my beliefs, hold to my convictions, and the weight of their consequences.”

Eric Glover, general counsel for Washington, D.C.,’s Department of Corrections, disputed that Chansley hasn’t eaten in a Tuesday email to Watkins filed in court documents.

At a hearing Friday, a judge urged Chansley’s lawyer to try to work out the issues related to his diet with Glover. Chansley’s request for organic food was denied on Monday, according to the documents, which said his claims had no “religious merit.”

In the filing Wednesday, Watkins called for Chansley to be released before his trial, saying he doesn’t have a criminal history, wasn’t “part of a grand scheme to … overthrow the Government” and that it would remove any issues with Chansley’s “worsening health situation.” Watkins wrote Wednesday that Chansley has also been compliant with the FBI. The judge in the case has said he’d be open to considering bail for him in early March.

The Phoenix man was among the first people indicted by federal prosecutors in wake of the Capitol insurrection that left five people dead. Chansley, also known as Jake Angeli, was charged with violating the Federal Anti-Riot Act and obstructing Congress, among other charges. Former President Donald Trump was subsequently impeached for inciting an insurrection. Chansley would also be willing to testify at Trump’s Senate trial next week, Watkins has previously said.

Prosecutors have argued Chansley was “an active participant in” the “violent insurrection,” suggesting charges of sedition or insurrection could be in the works for people involved.

The horns and fur Chansley wore Jan. 6 that made him one of the most recognizable faces of the riots were all part of his “Shaman beliefs,” Watkins wrote in the filing Wednesday.

Watkins also argued in his Wednesday filing that Trump incited the riot by saying “‘if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore” at a rally before the riot. In an interview on CNN in wake of the riots, Watkins said Chansley “felt like he was answering” Trump’s call and called on Trump to give him a pardon.

“He felt like his voice was, for the first time, being heard,” Watkins said of Chansley. “And what ended up happening, over the course of the lead-up to the election, over the course of the period from the election to Jan. 6 — it was a driving force by a man he hung his hat on, he hitched his wagon to. He loved Trump. Every word, he listens to him.”

This content was originally published here.

Does Insurance Cover Invisalign? A Simple Guide

Getting a gorgeous smile comes at a price, but that doesn’t mean you have to front the bill all on your own. That’s good news if you’re considering Invisalign treatment.

But before you go for your first consultation, there are some things you should understand about Invisalign insurance coverage.

Does insurance cover Invisalign? Keep reading the information below to find out.

Does Insurance Cover Invisalign?

The answer to this question is sort of tricky. For the most part, standard dental insurance policies cover routine cleanings and exams. They also cover oral procedures like extractions and root canals.

Invisalign is considered cosmetic dentistry, so it’s not always included in basic dental plans. However, many policies do offer assistance for orthodontic treatment.

Some insurance plans will take care of a percentage of the Invisalign cost. With that said, here are some important things to note:

  1. The Invisalign insurance might have an annual maximum of $1,000 to $1,500.
  2. For some policies, fixing crooked teeth is considered cosmetic. If the aligners are used for that, it may not be covered.
  3. Your Invisalign insurance coverage might only offer one service for orthodontic procedures. For instance, if you used the policy to pay for braces in the past, it may not cover Invisalign. 

Alternative Payment Options

If you don’t have Invisalign Insurance, don’t worry. There are several alternatives that you can use to help pay for your treatment, such as:

Payment Plans

Many orthodontic offices offer payment plans. You’ll generally have to apply through a credit lender that’s partnered with the office.

If you’re approved, the credit lender will give you the full amount or a portion of the Invisalign cost. You’ll be required to pay the amount back in installments.

FSA or HSA

If you have a flexible savings account or a health savings account provided by your employer, you can use it to cover your Invisalign treatment.

With an FSA, you can put a portion aside from each paycheck throughout the year for health expenses.

On the other hand, an HSA is used to help people that have high deductible medical insurance policies. It’s a savings account that’s used for health and dental costs with a limit of $3,400 for single persons and $6,750 for families.

Unfortunately, not all employers offer these plans to their employees.

Care Credit

CareCredit is a card that’s designed to help individuals pay off their out-of-pocket medical and dental expenses. Unlike traditional credit cards, it has special options for financing. However, Care Credit can only be used at certain locations that accept it.

Get the Smile You’ve Always Wanted

Hopefully, this article answered your question of “Does insurance cover Invisalign?”

The basic answer to that question is often yes, but only if your policy covers it. On the bright side, it’s good to know there are payment options available if it doesn’t. 

If this content was helpful, take a look at more of our blog. We cover numerous topics to keep our readers intrigued and educated. Check us out!

The post Does Insurance Cover Invisalign? A Simple Guide appeared first on Mom Blog Society.

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Legislator who questioned Black hygiene to lead health panel

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A Republican lawmaker and doctor who questioned whether members of “the colored population” were disproportionately contracting the coronavirus because of their hygiene is drawing new criticism from Black lawmakers after his appointment to lead the state Senate Health Committee.

“Could it just be that African Americans – or the colored population — do not wash their hands as well as other groups? Or wear masks? Or do not socially distance themselves?” state Sen. Stephen Huffman asked a Black health expert in June 11 testimony. “Could that just be the explanation of why there’s a higher incidence?”

The comments resulted in calls from Democrats and the ACLU of Ohio for him to resign from the GOP-controlled Senate.

Huffman, of Tipp City, was appointed last week by Senate President Matt Huffman, his cousin, to chair the committee even after he was fired from his job as a Dayton-area emergency room physician for his comments.

In a letter Wednesday, the Ohio Black Legislative Caucus demanded a health committee leader who understands and can respond to the inequities of healthcare in Ohio “without political influence.”

“If the Senate leadership will not replace Sen. Huffman as Chair, then we will expect Sen. Huffman to use his position to improve the health of Ohio’s African-American population by working with OLBC to pass legislation that effectively addresses health disparities in the state of Ohio,” director Tony Bishop said in a news release.

Huffman remains a licensed medical doctor in Ohio.

“Senator Huffman is a medical doctor and highly qualified to chair the Health Committee,” spokesperson John Fortney said Friday in a written statement. “He has a long record of providing healthcare to minority neighborhoods and has joined multiple mission trips at his own expense to treat those from disadvantaged countries.

Fortney added that Huffman apologized at the time “for asking a clumsy and awkwardly worded question.”

“Sincere apologies deserve sincere forgiveness, and not the perpetual politically weaponized judgement of the cancel culture,” he said.”

Farnoush Amiri is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

This content was originally published here.

Organized dentistry expresses concerns regarding the U.S.-Mexico Tourism Improvement Act

Organized dentistry expresses concerns regarding the U.S.-Mexico Tourism Improvement Act

By Jennifer Garvin

Washington — Until Mexican programs achieve accreditation through the Commission on Dental Accreditation, U.S. dental schools should not build relationships with Mexican schools.

This was the overarching message of an April 23 letter from the Organized Dentistry Coalition to Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, lead sponsor of HR 951, the United States-Mexico Tourism Improvement Act. If passed, the legislation would expand tourism between the United States and Mexico, including for dental care.

In the letter, the organizations said they believe patients’ dental care when visiting dentists trained in non-accredited Mexican dental schools cannot be guaranteed and urged lawmakers to include this in the legislation. Currently, no Mexican dental schools are accredited through CODA.

“The Commission on Dental Accreditation serves the oral health needs of the public through the development and administration of standards that foster continuous quality improvement of dental and dental-related educational programs,” the organizations wrote. “Accreditation ensures academic quality and public accountability.

“We believe that, until Mexican programs have received CODA accreditation, U.S. dental institutions should not build relationships with Mexican institutions for the purpose of having patients visit Mexican facilities for treatment.”

The organizations also recommended that Congress consider other factors critical to patient safety such as licensure of dentists and facilities following accepted asepsis, infection control and biohazard control protocols when assessing the feasibility of building partnerships among dental institutions between the United States and Mexico.

“These safeguards are critical components to dental care that patients in the United States take for granted. Lack of attention to these details may lead to a false sense of security for patients seeking care outside of the United States,” the letter concluded.

Follow all of the ADA’s advocacy efforts at ADA.org/Advocacy.

This content was originally published here.

Health care worker taken to ER just a few hours after getting second COVID-19 vaccine shot. Four days later he was dead.

An X-ray technologist from Orange, California, fell ill and was taken to an emergency room just a few hours after receiving his second dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine earlier this month — and four days later he was dead, the Orange County Register reported.

What are the details?

Tim Zook, 60, seemed quite hopeful in a Jan. 5 Facebook post, the Register said.

“Never been so excited to get a shot before,” Zook wrote above a photo of a Band-Aid on his arm and his COVID-19 vaccination card, the paper reported. “I am now fully vaccinated after receiving my 2nd Pfizer dose.”

It would turn out to be his final Facebook post.

Just a few hours later, Zook — an X-ray technologist at South Coast Global Medical Center in Santa Ana — had an upset stomach and trouble breathing, the Register said. By 3:30 p.m. his condition worsened so much that his co-workers walked him to the emergency room, the paper added.

“Should I be worried?” his wife, Rochelle, texted him when after receiving the news, the Register said.

“No, absolutely not,” Zook texted back, the paper noted.

“Do you think this is a direct result of the vaccine?” she texted, the Register noted.

“No, no,” he replied, according to the paper. “I’m not sure what. But don’t worry.”

The Register said Zook “passionately urged folks to embrace COVID precautions such as masking up and staying home as ICUs were inundated in December.”

Rapid decline

But Zook’s condition quickly worsened.

There were suspicions of COVID and a diagnosis of congestive heart failure. Zook was put on oxygen, then — just four hours later — a BiPAP machine to help push air into the lungs. Multiple tests came back negative for COVID.

Shortly after midnight on Jan. 7, the hospital called. Zook was in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator to help him breathe. But his blood pressure soon dropped and he was transferred to UC Irvine Medical Center. “On Friday I get a call, ‘His kidneys are failing. He needs to be on dialysis. If not, he could die — but there’s also a chance he might have a heart attack or stroke on dialysis because his blood pressure is so low,’ ” Rochelle Zook said.

By 4 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 9, Zook had gone “code blue” twice and was snatched back from the brink of death. There was a third code blue in the afternoon. “They said if he went code blue a fourth time, he’d have brain damage and be a vegetable if he survives,” Rochelle Zook said.

Zook died later that day, the paper said.

‘We are not blaming any pharmaceutical company’

“We are not blaming any pharmaceutical company,” Rochelle Zook told the Register. “My husband loved what he did. He worked in hospitals for 36 1/2 years. He believed in vaccines. I’m sure he would take that vaccine again, and he’d want the public to take it. But when someone gets symptoms 2 1/2 hours after a vaccine, that’s a reaction. What else could have happened? We would like the public to know what happened to Tim, so he didn’t die in vain. Severe reactions are rare. In reality, COVID is a much more deadly force than reactions from the potential vaccine itself. The message is, be safe, take the vaccine — but the officials need to do more research. We need to know the cause. The vaccines need to be as safe as possible. Every life matters.”

Zook’s widow also told the paper he had high blood pressure, but that for years it had been controlled with medication. Zook was slightly overweight but healthy, the Register added.

“He had never been hospitalized,” Rochelle Zook told the paper. “He’d get a cold and be over it two days later. The flu, and be over it three days later.”

His death has been reported to the national Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, run by the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control. The Orange County coroner has said the cause of death is inconclusive for now, and further toxicology testing will take months.

“The family just wants closure,” said Zook’s cousin, Ken Polanco of Los Angeles. ” ‘Inconclusive’ is not closure. The family wants the pharmaceutical companies to do more research — if there’s some sort of DNA that doesn’t work with this vaccine, if episodes like this can be prevented, they need to do what they can to pin that down.” […]

The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System — which officials caution is a “passive surveillance system” and represents unverified reports of health events that occur after vaccination — has gathered more than 130 reports of death after vaccine administration thus far in 2021. A total of 1,330 adverse reactions have been reported, while more than 23.5 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been administered.

Experts caution that drawing a causal line between vaccination and death is often very difficult to do. When millions of people are being vaccinated — more than 13 million have gotten the Pfizer vaccine as of Jan. 26, and more than 10.5 million have received the Moderna vaccine — some would die for any number of unrelated reasons, as a matter of pure statistics.

What did Pfizer have to say?

A Pfizer-BioNTech spokesman told the paper that pharmaceutical company is aware of Zook’s death and is thoroughly reviewing the matter.

“Our immediate thoughts are with the bereaved family,” the company said in an emailed statement, the Register reported. “We closely monitor all such events and collect relevant information to share with global regulatory authorities. Based on ongoing safety reviews performed by Pfizer, BioNTech and health authorities, [the vaccine] retains a positive benefit-risk profile for the prevention of COVID-19 infections. Serious adverse events, including deaths that are unrelated to the vaccine, are unfortunately likely to occur at a similar rate as they would in the general population.”

The Orange County coroner said it has an open death investigation for Zook and will be conducting more tests as part of its autopsy protocol, spokeswoman Carrie Braun told the paper, adding that the coroner’s office will use its findings to issue a final determination concerning the cause and manner of death.

“If it’s determined there may be a correlation to the vaccine, we will immediately notify the OC Health Care Agency,” Braun added to the Register.

This content was originally published here.

The year global health went local

We are writing this letter after a year unlike any other in our lifetimes.

Two decades ago, we created a foundation focused on global health because we wanted to use the returns from Microsoft to improve as many lives as possible. Health is the bedrock of any thriving society. If your health is compromised—or if you’re worried about catching a deadly disease—it’s hard to concentrate on anything else. Staying alive and well becomes your priority to the necessary detriment of everything else.

Over the last year, many of us have experienced that reality ourselves for the first time. Almost every decision now comes with a new calculus: How do you minimize your risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19? There are probably some epidemiologists reading this letter, but for most people, we’re guessing that the past year has forced you to reorient your lives around an entirely new vocabulary—one that includes terms like “social distancing” and “flattening the curve” and the “R0” of a virus. (And for the epidemiologists reading this, we bet no one is more surprised than you that we now live in a world where your colleague Anthony Fauci has graced the cover of InStyle magazine.)

Bill:
Fans of the movie Contagion might have already known this.

When we wrote our last Annual Letter, the world was just starting to understand how serious a novel coronavirus pandemic could get. Even though our foundation had been concerned about a pandemic scenario for a long time—especially after the Ebola epidemic in West Africa—we were shocked by how drastically COVID-19 has disrupted economies, jobs, education, and well-being around the world.

Only a few weeks after we first heard the word “COVID-19,” we were closing our foundation’s offices and joining billions of people worldwide in adjusting to radically different ways of living. For us, the days became a blur of video meetings, troubling news alerts, and microwaved meals.

Melinda:
Neither of us are decent cooks.
I miss him every day.

But the adjustments the two of us have made are nothing compared to the impact the pandemic has had on others. COVID-19 has cost lives, sickened millions, and thrust the global economy into a devastating recession. One and a half billion children lost time in the classroom, and some may never return. Essential workers are doing impossible jobs at tremendous risk to themselves and their families. Stress and isolation have triggered far-reaching impacts on mental health. And families in every country have had to miss out on so many of life’s most important moments—graduations, weddings, even funerals. (When Bill Sr. died last September, it was made even more painful by the fact we couldn’t all come together to mourn.)

History will probably remember these last couple of months as the most painful point of the entire pandemic. But hope is on the horizon. Although we have a long recovery in front of us, the world has achieved some significant victories against the virus in the form of new tests, treatments, and vaccines. We believe these new tools will soon begin bending the curve in a big way.

The moment we now find ourselves in calls to mind a quote from Winston Churchill. In the fall of 1942, he gave a famous speech marking a military victory that he believed would be a turning point in the war against Nazi Germany. “This is not the end,” he warned. “It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

When it comes to COVID-19, we are optimistic that the end of the beginning is near. We are also realistic about what it’s taken to get here: the largest public health effort in the history of the world—one involving policymakers, researchers, healthcare workers, business leaders, grassroots organizers, religious communities, and so many others working together in new ways.

Melinda:
Many of the parents who took on added caregiving responsibilities when schools closed last March.

That kind of shared effort is important, because in a global crisis like this one, you don’t want companies making decisions driven by a profit motive or governments acting with the narrow goal of protecting only their own citizens. You need a lot of different people and interests coming together in goodwill to benefit all of humanity.

Philanthropy can help facilitate that cooperation. Because our foundation has been working on infectious diseases for decades, we have strong, long-standing relationships with the World Health Organization, experts, governments, and the private sector. And because our foundation is specifically focused on the challenges facing the world’s poorest people, we also understand the importance of ensuring that the world is considering the unique needs of low-income countries, too.

To date, our foundation has invested $1.75 billion in the fight against COVID-19. Most of that funding has gone toward producing and procuring crucial medical supplies. For example, we backed researchers developing new COVID-19 treatments including monoclonal antibodies, and we worked with partners to ensure that these drugs are formulated in a way that’s easy to transport and use in the poorest parts of the world so they benefit people everywhere.

Bill:
These are manufactured antibodies that grab onto a virus and disable it, just as the naturally occurring antibodies in your immune system do.

We’ve also supported efforts to find and distribute safe and effective vaccines against the virus. Over the last two decades, our resources backed the development of 11 vaccines that have been certified as safe and effective, and our partners have been applying the lessons we learned along the way to the development of vaccines against COVID-19.

Melinda:
These include vaccines for pneumonia, cholera, meningitis, rotavirus, typhoid, and Japanese encephalitis—which together have saved millions of lives.

It’s possible that by the time you read this, you or someone you know may have already received a COVID-19 vaccine. The fact that these vaccines are already becoming available is, we think, pretty remarkable—especially considering that COVID-19 was a virtually unknown pathogen at the beginning of 2020 and how rigorous the process is for proving a vaccine’s safety and efficacy. (It’s important that people understand that even though these vaccines were developed on an expedited timeline, they still had to meet strict guidelines before being approved.)

No one country or company could have achieved this alone. Funders around the world pooled resources, competitors shared research findings, and everyone involved had a head start thanks to many years of global investment in technologies that have helped unlock a new era in vaccine development. If the novel coronavirus had emerged in 2009 instead of 2019, the road to a vaccine would have been much longer.

Of course, creating safe and effective vaccines in a laboratory is only the beginning of the story. Because the world needs billions of doses in order to protect everyone threatened by this disease, we helped partners figure out how to manufacture vaccines at the same time as they were being developed (a process that usually happens sequentially).

Bill:
This is why some people were able to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it received FDA approval.

Now, the world has to get those doses out to everyone who needs them—starting with frontline health workers and other high-risk groups. Our foundation has worked with manufacturers and partners to deliver other vaccines cheaply and on a very large scale in the past (including to 822 million kids in low-income countries through Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance), and we’re doing the same with COVID-19.

Melinda:
And that women who don’t want to get pregnant continue to have access to contraceptives.

Our foundation and its partners have pivoted to meet the challenges of COVID-19 in other ways as well. When our friend Warren Buffett donated the bulk of his fortune to double our foundation’s resources in 2006, he urged us to stay focused on the issues that have always been central to our mission. Tackling COVID-19 was an essential part of any global health work in 2020, but it hasn’t been our sole focus over the last year. Our colleagues continue to make progress across all of our program areas.

The malaria team has had to rethink how to distribute bed nets in a time when it’s no longer safe to hold an event to give them to a lot of people at once. We’re helping partners understand COVID-19’s impact on pregnant women and babies and making sure that they continue to receive essential health services. Our education partners are helping teachers adjust to a world where their laptop is their classroom. In other words, we remain trained on the same goal we’ve had since our foundation opened its doors: making sure every single person on the planet has the chance to live a healthy and productive life.

A high school teacher in Seoul, Korea, works with her students remotely. (Chung Sung-Jung/Getty Images)
Health workers deliver mosquito nets in Benin. (Yanick Folly/Getty Images)
A high school teacher in Seoul, Korea, works with her students remotely. (Chung Sung-Jung/Getty Images)
Health workers deliver mosquito nets in Benin. (Yanick Folly/Getty Images)
A healthcare worker wearing personal protective equipment helps a pregnant woman in labor in Ankara, Turkey. (Ozge Elif Kizil/Getty Images)
A young woman talks about contraception at a community center in Nairobi, Kenya. (Alissa Everett/Getty Images)
A healthcare worker wearing personal protective equipment helps a pregnant woman in labor in Ankara, Turkey. (Ozge Elif Kizil/Getty Images)
A young woman talks about contraception at a community center in Nairobi, Kenya. (Alissa Everett/Getty Images)

If there’s a reason we’re optimistic about life on the other side of the pandemic, it’s this: While the pandemic has forced many people to learn a new vocabulary, it’s also brought new meaning to old terms like “global health.”

In the past, “global health” was rarely used to mean the health of everyone, everywhere. In practice, people in rich countries used this term to refer to the health of people in non-rich countries. A more accurate term probably would have been “developing country health.”

This past year, though, that changed. In 2020, global health went local. The artificial distinctions between rich countries and poor countries collapsed in the face of a virus that had no regard for borders or geography.

We all saw firsthand how quickly a disease you’ve never heard of in a place you may have never been can become a public health emergency right in your own backyard. Viruses like COVID-19 remind us that, for all our differences, everyone in this world is connected biologically by a microscopic network of germs and particles—and that, like it or not, we’re all in this together.

Melinda:
Growing up, I heard a lot about how WWII had changed my family’s life—especially my maternal grandmother’s. She’s one of the many women who entered the workforce to fill roles left open by men fighting overseas.

We hope the experience we’ve all lived through over the last year will lead to a long-term change in the way people think about global health—and help people in rich countries see that investments in global health benefit not only low-income countries but everyone. We were thrilled to see the United States include $4 billion for Gavi in its latest COVID-19 relief package. Investments like these will put all of us in a better position to defeat the next set of global challenges.

Just as World War II was the defining event for our parents’ generation, the coronavirus pandemic we are living through right now will define ours. And just as World War II led to greater cooperation between countries to protect the peace and prioritize the common good, we think that the world has an important opportunity to turn the hard-won lessons of this pandemic into a healthier, more equal future for all.

In the rest of this letter, we write about two areas we see as essential to building that better future: prioritizing equity and getting ready for the next pandemic.

This content was originally published here.

Growing Your Invisalign® Practice from the Inside Out – Oral Health Group

Three Key Principles to Starting One Invisalign Case Every Day

Let me start by asking a simple question – where do Invisalign patients come from?

Expensive marketing campaigns?

Social media posts and fancy Facebook lead-generating ads and sales funnels?

That poster you hung on your wall and those brochures you placed on your front counter in hopes the patients will ask you about it?

If you think these things are going to fill your schedule with patients lining up for Invisalign consults, then I am going to challenge you to think differently.

I want to get you excited about the idea that all the Invisalign patients you could ever want are already inside your practice.  

In a small rural town with a population of only 7000 people, I have been able to achieve and maintain Platinum status since 2017.

In this article I will share with you the 3 Key Principles I used to grow my Invisalign practice from the INSIDE OUT – without any fancy marketing campaigns or rock bottom pricing strategies.  

My Invisalign journey began in 2008 when I completed Level 1 certification, which allowed me to do a handful of cases per year.  That was until 2017 when everything changed. In 2017, I started over 100 cases – with 46 of those cases started in the last 2 months of the year.  And yes – I did this without any external expensive marketing campaigns and no rock bottom pricing. In 2018, I started 167 cases and worked 151 days – over one case for every day I worked, and I’ve never looked back.  So what changed?

Principle #1  

Changing YOUR MIND is the first step

“If it’s been done before it’s probably possible.”

One of my favourite quotes from Zig Ziglar.

Over one weekend in late 2017 after a series of “fortunate” events including attending a minor hockey league game with my son and downloading a chance book to my Kindle, a lightning bolt of inspiration hit me.

I was inspired both by Zig Ziglars’ quote (which appeared in the book I was reading) and by what other dentists I looked up to and admired were achieving.

I was inspired to be a dentist who started one Invisalign case every day.  

Not only did I know Invisalign clear aligners to be a fun part of practice, but I also knew starting a case every day would more easily allow me to reach the financial goals for my practice.

Your mind is powerful and until you really commit and believe you can achieve the unthinkable – like starting an Invisalign case every day – you won’t.

Changing your mind has to be the first step.  That’s all I changed in three days over that one weekend in 2017, and I started 46 cases of Invisalign treatment in the next two months.

I knew I could be a dentist who started one Invisalign case every day because others had done it – and if it’s been done before, it’s probably possible.

I went from thinking “there is no way I can start more Invisalign cases, there just isn’t that much opportunity” (scarcity thinking – which we will get to in a moment!) to believing in myself and my team that I absolutely could do more…and we did!

I know what you are thinking – “Is she serious? Just change my mind and magically all the Invisalign cases will appear?”

Stay with me because yes, over that weekend, I made the mental commitment but at the start of the week was where the rubber hit the road so to speak, and I had to put action to my thoughts.  That’s where principal number two comes in…

Principle #2  

Get Engaged in Your Practice

If you are anything like I was, I loved running back to my office to check social media, my phone, the stock market, read the latest article on the newest bond, or who knows what else, while I was waiting to begin treatment for my patients. And I was a master of hiding from my hygienists –  What an interruption in my already busy day!

Just let me do the dentistry and do not stretch me outside my comfort zone and I’m happy…

Unfortunately, what I didn’t recognize was that by doing that I was missing huge opportunities, and if I wanted to start one case of Invisalign treatment every day, I could no longer afford to be disengaged. I could no longer afford to take my patients and their needs for granted.  But to do that I had to put some effort in.

What do I mean by this?

I put my phone down and scoured every chart of every patient who was in my office today.  I was actively looking for opportunities to talk about Invisalign clear aligners. Who could I talk to today?

Checking email? Forget it. Now I checked all the hygiene charts looking for opportunities!

Surfing the web? Not anymore. I needed to dig deep into all the restorative charts.

What I’m getting at is that opportunities don’t just happen – you create them!

You need to become keenly aware of the outstanding dentistry and opportunities that are in your office TODAY!

I bet you are thinking, “My assistants and hygienists already do a chart audit and tell me about outstanding dentistry.” And you know what? Mine did too!!!  But finding patients to talk to about Invisalign clear aligners is much different.

There is something to be said for YOU – THE DOCTOR – getting intensely engaged with your patients.  Reading your last notes yourself, reviewing your last x-rays or even better – the last photos – and getting yourself mentally prepared for another conversation is very powerful.   Your team will start to notice the shift too – and trust me – they will like it!

Get focused for a revisit of the already diagnosed dentistry, and if you want to start more Invisalign cases, get focused on who you can talk to about Invisalign clear aligners today.  Don’t underestimate the value of being prepared for those conversations.  Preparedness brings confidence.

Once I was prepared, once I knew with a laser focus who I was talking to today and once my team was prepared for me to have those conversations, you would be surprised how often those patients said “YES”!

But the truth is I had to find those opportunities because they weren’t just going to be handed to me on a silver platter.  

I had to put the work in and get engaged. 

We have a specialized set of skills that only we as dentists possess and that we as dentists only get to practice while we are at work! So make hay while the sun shines!!!  Get out of your personal office, get off your phone, turn off the TV, quit making phone calls, stop returning emails, and quit checking Facebook.

Do what only you can do: provide dentistry and get engaged with your team and your patients!  Everything else can wait.

Getting engaged also means (and yes I am gonna say it) you need to have a motivating, impactful, laser focused and empowering morning huddle.

My first day back in the office after that life-altering weekend in late 2017 began with a morning huddle like I had never had before.  And the day ended with four Invisalign case starts and another three on the schedule to start later that week.

To run a great meeting, my suggestion is for you as the doctor to be the happiest, most positive and overly energetic person on your team. You set the tone for that in the morning meeting!  If you come to work tired and unfocused, your team will follow suit. And no, I don’t believe this can be delegated.  You are the leader and you need to lead the charge, especially in times of change and new goals.  To reach new heights, you must be willing to go outside your comfort zone.

I would suggest every doctor needs to meet with their main assistant(s) and head scheduler in the morning. The agenda needs to be crystal clear: you now have a daily goal and intention of starting one Invisalign case every day and you need their help to reach this goal.  Who are you going to talk to today about Invisalign clear aligners and what is the plan if they say YES?

Get your team happy, get them motivated and get them believing in you! End with high fives, fist bumps or some other positive affirmation of the day, and start the day with good energy and clear intentions.

Trust me, there is no better way to start the day than by celebrating an Invisalign case start from yesterday!  

So get out of your personal office, stop hiding, take charge, get excited about the future and see the magic that follows.

Now you might be thinking, “Ok, I can get excited about the goal and start a mindset shift, and I can be more engaged with my practice, but you still didn’t answer the question you began with: where do these Invisalign patients come from?”  This leads me to principle number three.

Principle #3 

Invisalign patients are in your schedule already! (you just need to know how to talk to them)

In order to start more Invisalign cases, you have to believe that diagnosing a malocclusion is just as important as diagnosing a cavity.  Period.  Read that again if you have to.

Until we as dentists understand how to talk to patients about their malocclusions and the health benefits of straight teeth, we are letting a huge opportunity inside our practices pass us by. If the only way you know how to bring up a malocclusion is to ask if your patient has ever thought about straightening their teeth, you are going to hear a lot of “no”s. Why?  Because patients THINK Invisalign clear aligners are about cosmetics (and they aren’t that VAIN! And plus, isn’t that expensive???). It’s your job to help them understand it’s about so much more than that.

Straight teeth are about much more than cosmetics.

Understanding the importance that straight teeth play in improving a patient’s overall oral health was a game changer for me and my team and what allowed us to take our Invisalign practice to the next level.

That patient with crowding and cavities? There is an opportunity to talk about the health benefits of straight teeth.

That patient with crowding and gum disease?  There is an opportunity.

That patient with recession on a rotated canine? That Class 2 patient with wear who needs a nightguard? That patient with crowding who needs an implant?  That patient who has a deep bite, no overjet and daily headaches? The patient who broke the buccal cusp of a tooth in crossbite?

All of these patients are opportunities to talk about the health benefits of straight teeth! And these are the patients we see all day long in our practices.

Teeth that fit together better are easier to clean and last longer. It’s really as simple as that.

Seventy-five percent of the adult population is walking around with a malocclusion just waiting for us to diagnose! If you see eight hygiene patients in one day, six of them have a malocclusion. You only need one to say yes to Invisalign clear aligners today…

One out of six is a 16% case acceptance rate! (I hope this is looking more doable now!)

There is more than enough crooked teeth to go around.  Think abundantly!  Scarcity thinking is believing there are only so many people in your practice who will say yes to straightening their teeth, or that you will somehow run out of patients to talk to about the health benefits of straight teeth. It simply isn’t true.

If DTC orthodontics has taught us anything, it’s that the demand is there, and we just need to be more intentional at understanding the demand and understanding what our patients’ goals are. We have to be more intentional about talking to our patients about it and educating them on the health benefits of straight teeth.

So growing your Invisalign practice does not need to mean expensive marketing plans to attract new patients, or rock bottom prices to compete with DTC aligner brands.

Growing your Invisalign practice from the inside out simply means talking to your existing patients about the health benefits of straight teeth.

And the really good news is if you get intentional about finding the opportunities in your own patient population, those patients already know you, already have a relationship with you and probably most important, already trust you.  These patients are much more likely to say YES and feel good about their decision.

“To get things you’ve never had you must do things you’ve never done.”

This is my all-time favourite quote and through this article, I hope I have given you the nudge you need to go after those things.

About Dr. Terri Pukanich

Dr. Pukanich graduated from the University of Alberta dental School in 2002. She bought her first and only practice in 2003 when she was just 25 years old. Over the last 16 years she successfully grew her practice from a 4 treatment room, 1 doctor office to a 17 treatment room, super GP group practice – all in a small rural town of 7000 people. She is passionate about creating dental work environments that have tremendous impact on patients and team members and where everyone has fun! Along her journey she has worked with the biggest names in dental coaching and has spent over a million dollars on developing her practice. She learned the secrets to implementation and execution of the most effective strategies. She is now CEO and Founder of Dental BossLady where she helps women in dentistry create a profitable and fulfilling practice while having more fun and making more money. She is a Platinum Plus Invisalign provider and a Key Opinion Leader for the American Academy of Clear Aligners.

Invisalign®, the Invisalign logo, and iTero®, among others, are trademarks and/or service marks of Align Technology, Inc. or one of its subsidiaries or affiliated companies and may be registered in the U.S. and/or other countries.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Align Technology, Inc. The author was paid an honorarium by Align Technology, Inc. in connection with writing this article.

This content was originally published here.

Regenerative dentistry could restore damaged teeth

Teeth develop through a complex process in which soft tissue, with connective tissue, nerves and blood vessels, are bonded with three different types of hard tissue into a functional body part. As an explanatory model for this process, scientists often use the mouse incisor, which grows continuously and is renewed throughout the animal’s life.

Using a single-cell RNA sequencing method and genetic tracing, researchers at Karolinska Institutet, the Medical University of Vienna in Austria and Harvard University in the USA have now identified and characterized all cell populations in mouse teeth and in the young growing and adult human teeth.

“From stem cells to the completely differentiated adult cells we were able to decipher the differentiation pathways of odontoblasts, which give rise to dentine — the hard tissue closest to the pulp — and ameloblasts, which give rise to the enamel,” say the study’s last author Igor Adameyko.

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Some of the finds can also explain certain complicated aspects of the immune system in teeth, and others shed new light on the formation of tooth enamel, the hardest tissue in our bodies.

“We hope and believe that our work can form the basis of new approaches to tomorrow’s dentistry. Specifically, it can expedite the fast expanding field of regenerative dentistry, a biological therapy for replacing damaged or lost tissue.”

This content was originally published here.

Health care worker dies after second dose of COVID vaccine, investigations underway

Tim Zook’s last post on Facebook brimmed with optimism. “Never been so excited to get a shot before,” he wrote on Jan. 5, above a photo of the Band-Aid on his arm and his COVID-19 vaccination card. “I am now fully vaccinated after receiving my 2nd Pfizer dose.”

Zook, 60, was an X-ray technologist at South Coast Global Medical Center in Santa Ana. A couple of hours later, he had an upset stomach and trouble breathing. By 3:30 p.m. it was so bad his colleagues at work walked him to the emergency room. “Should I be worried?” his wife, Rochelle, texted when she got the news. “No, absolutely not,” he texted back. “Do you think this is a direct result of the vaccine?” she typed. “No, no,” he said. “I’m not sure what. But don’t worry.”

There were suspicions of COVID and a diagnosis of congestive heart failure. Zook was put on oxygen, then — just four hours later — a BiPAP machine to help push air into the lungs. Multiple tests came back negative for COVID.

Tim Zook’s last Facebook post.

Shortly after midnight on Jan. 7, the hospital called. Zook was in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator to help him breathe. But his blood pressure soon dropped and he was transferred to UC Irvine. “On Friday I get a call, ‘His kidneys are failing. He needs to be on dialysis. If not, he could die — but there’s also a chance he might have a heart attack or stroke on dialysis because his blood pressure is so low,’ ” Rochelle Zook said.

By 4 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 9, Zook had gone “code blue” twice and was snatched back from the brink of death. There was a third code blue in the afternoon. “They said if he went code blue a fourth time, he’d have brain damage and be a vegetable if he survives,” Rochelle Zook said.

Later that day, Tim Zook died.

Reaction? But no blame

“We are not blaming any pharmaceutical company,” said Rochelle Zook, a resident of Orange. “My husband loved what he did. He worked in hospitals for 36 1/2 years. He believed in vaccines. I’m sure he would take that vaccine again, and he’d want the public to take it.

“But when someone gets symptoms 2 1/2 hours after a vaccine, that’s a reaction. What else could have happened? We would like the public to know what happened to Tim, so he didn’t die in vain. Severe reactions are rare. In reality, COVID is a much more deadly force than reactions from the potential vaccine itself.

“The message is, be safe, take the vaccine — but the officials need to do more research. We need to know the cause. The vaccines need to be as safe as possible. Every life matters.”

Zook had high blood pressure, but that had been controlled with medication for years, she said. He was slightly overweight, but quite healthy. “He had never been hospitalized. He’d get a cold and be over it two days later. The flu, and be over it three days later,” she said.

His death has been reported to the national Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, run by the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control. The Orange County coroner has labeled the cause of death “inconclusive” for now, and further toxicology testing will take months.

“The family just wants closure,” said Zook’s cousin, Ken Polanco of Los Angeles. ” ‘Inconclusive’ is not closure. The family wants the pharmaceutical companies to do more research — if there’s some sort of DNA that doesn’t work with this vaccine, if episodes like this can be prevented, they need to do what they can to pin that down.”

Other deaths post-vaccine

Zook’s death comes on the heels of a Florida doctor who died on Jan. 3, weeks after getting his first Pfizer shot. Gregory Michael, a 56-year-old obstetrician and gynecologist in Miami Beach, suffered idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), a rare immune disorder in which the blood doesn’t clot normally. His death is under investigation.

In California, Placer County officials said a man died shortly after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine on Jan. 21. They did not identify the vaccine or the person, but said he had tested positive for COVID in late December and that the vaccine was not given by the Placer County Public Health Department. Facebook posts say the man was a 56-year-old aide in a senior living facility. That death is under investigation as well.

Tim Zook had to work with COVID patients, and posted this selfie in full gear, urging people to be safe.

The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System — which officials caution is a “passive surveillance system” and represents unverified reports of health events that occur after vaccination — has gathered more than 130 reports of death after vaccine administration thus far in 2021. A total of 1,330 adverse reactions have been reported, while more than 23.5 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been administered.

Experts caution that drawing a causal line between vaccination and death is often very difficult to do. When millions of people are being vaccinated — more than 13 million have gotten the Pfizer vaccine as of Jan. 26, and more than 10.5 million have received the Moderna vaccine — some would die for any number of unrelated reasons, as a matter of pure statistics.

Every year in the United States, more than 2.8 million people die. That averages out to more than 7,800 deaths per day, according to CDC data.

“No prescription drug or biological product, such as a vaccine, is completely free from side effects. Vaccines protect many people from dangerous illnesses, but vaccines, like drugs, can cause side effects, a small percentage of which may be serious,” says the Department of Health and Human Services in its primer on the VAERS data. “About 85-90% of vaccine adverse event reports concern relatively minor events, such as fevers or redness and swelling at the injection site. The remaining reports (less than 15%) describe serious events, such as hospitalizations, life-threatening illnesses, or deaths. The reports of serious events are of greatest concern and receive the most careful scrutiny by VAERS staff.

“It is important to note that for any reported event, no cause and effect relationship has been established. The event may have been related to an underlying disease or condition, to medications being taken concurrently, or may have occurred by chance.”

Pfizer-BioNTech probe

A spokesman for Pfizer-BioNTech said the company is aware of Zook’s death and is thoroughly reviewing the matter.

“Our immediate thoughts are with the bereaved family,” the company said in an emailed statement. “We closely monitor all such events and collect relevant information to share with global regulatory authorities. Based on ongoing safety reviews performed by Pfizer, BioNTech and health authorities, (the vaccine) retains a positive benefit-risk profile for the prevention of COVID-19 infections. Serious adverse events, including deaths that are unrelated to the vaccine, are unfortunately likely to occur at a similar rate as they would in the general population.”

The Orange County Coroner has an open death investigation into Zook’s death and will be conducting additional tests within its autopsy protocol, spokeswoman Carrie Braun said. It will use those findings, along with autopsy findings, to make a final determination into the cause and manner of death. “If it’s determined there may be a correlation to the vaccine, we will immediately notify the OC Health Care Agency,” she said.

The FDA said it takes all reports of adverse events related to vaccines seriously, and, along with CDC, “is actively engaged in safety surveillance” of the COVID-19 vaccines that are being administered under emergency use authorizations.

“Any reports of death following the administration of vaccines are promptly and rigorously investigated jointly by FDA and CDC,” it said in an emailed statement. “Such an investigation includes working with health care providers to obtain medical histories and clinical follow-up information.”

Mark Ghaly, secretary of health and human services in California, said the state is looking into these incidents as well. He sends condolences to those who’ve lost loved ones, but stands by the scientific conclusion that the vaccines are safe.

“The details are complex and worthy of further investigation, and that’s what we’re doing now,” Ghaly said on Monday, Jan. 25, on the heels of the Placer death. “Overwhelmingly, though, we’ve seen so many individuals successfully, and without any significant reactions, receive both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.”

Results of the state’s probes will be shared publicly, Ghaly said, along with “lessons learned.” That’s key to continuing the development of confidence in the vaccines “and getting us on the other side of this pandemic,” he said.

This photo of Rochelle and Tim Zook was Zook’s Facebook profile picture.

Caring, generous man

Zook was a man who passionately urged folks to embrace COVID precautions such as masking up and staying home as ICUs were inundated in December. He loved food, posting photos of home-grown zucchinis, thick steaks, sumptuous Sunday breakfasts, wine tasting in Sonoma.

He shared memes urging calm on Election Day, quoting Lincoln saying “We are not enemies, but friends,” and was moved to share the speech President John F. Kennedy never got to deliver: “Let us not quarrel amongst ourselves when our Nation’s future is at stake. Let us stand together with renewed confidence in our cause — united in our heritage of the past and our hopes for the future — and determined that this land we love shall lead all mankind into new frontiers of peace and abundance.”

Zook was a caring, generous man with deep love for his family, an always-open door and a gift for making others feel comfortable and welcome, friends and family say. Sympathies for his passing have poured in.

“Our deepest condolences are with Tim Zook’s family and loved ones,” said Matt Whaley, CEO of South Coast Global Medical Center, by email. “Tim was a part of our family, too, and we are all grieving his loss.”

Zook and his wife have three grown sons — Aaron, 30, Jared, 26, and Kyle, 24. Zook took a day off work on Monday, Jan. 4 — his last healthy day — to spend with Kyle, who’s fascinated by trains. They went train-spotting.

“They had the most beautiful day together,” Rochelle Zook said.

This content was originally published here.

Concerns grow that the loss of sports is taking a toll on young athletes’ mental health – Portland Press Herald

Portland High senior Danny Tocci is a co-captain on the Deering/Portland ice hockey team, which is unable to gather in-person because Cumberland County has been designated as “yellow.” “I do definitely worry about some of my teammates’ mental health because (playing sports) is all we’ve known,” he says. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer Buy this Photo

Portland High School senior Danny Tocci considers himself a “glass half full person.” So he sees the benefits of virtual meetings with his Portland/Deering ice hockey teammates and coaches as he hopes for some form of a season this winter.

HOW TO GET HELP

If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health crisis, call the Maine Crisis Line 24 hours a day at 1-888-568-1112. For more information about mental health services in Maine, visit the website for the state’s chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

But Tocci said it is getting tougher and tougher to maintain a healthy outlook as the coronavirus pandemic grinds on and he and his teammates are not allowed to gather for any type of in-person athletic activities because they are in one of Maine’s four “yellow” counties.

“It’s saddening in a way and I do definitely worry about some of my teammates’ mental health because (playing sports) is all we’ve known,” said Tocci, a co-captain. “It means so much. It’s a way to release energy, see people and converse. It’s just having something to belong to and a place where you feel comfortable and you can go there and express yourself.”

With high school teams in yellow counties unable to meet for practices or even socially distanced workouts after school, educators and medical professionals are sounding the alarm that, in the effort to limit the spread of COVID-19, the mental well-being of student-athletes is increasingly at risk.

“I think for a good percentage of the kids, yes, it is affecting their mental health,” said John Ryan, the certified athletic trainer at South Portland High and president of the Maine Athletic Trainers’ Association. “And for me, it’s not so much being able to play games, it’s being able to get together with their buddies and do something. … For a lot of these kids, being involved in athletics is a driving force for them to go to school. So now you’ve taken that away and they’re sitting at home thinking, ‘Why bother to go to school?’”

On Dec. 18 Cumberland County became the fourth county to be designated yellow in the Maine Department of Education’s color-coded health advisory for schools. Cumberland, along with Androscoggin, Oxford and York counties, will remain yellow at least until Jan. 29, the DOE announced on Friday. And when a county is deemed “yellow” for academic purposes, it means a full-stop “red” for athletics, according to pandemic guidelines set by the Maine Principals’ Association and key state health and education agencies. More than one-third of the state’s high schools – including 17 of the 20 largest schools – are located in those four counties.

Across the state, people like Ryan and Greely Athletic Director David Shapiro have raised concerns. They point to data collected in Wisconsin, Maine and across the country that show high school athletes have become more depressed and anxious, particularly when they are unable to participate in sports. The research also indicates a significant increase in thoughts of self-harm or suicide and an overall decline in quality of life measures.

“I think it’s my job that people have studies of that nature in their hands whenever they make a decision,” Shapiro said. “I’m trying to send it to whomever I can, the Department of Health and Human Services, the governor’s office, Dr. (Nirav) Shah (at the Maine CDC) to make sure information about the mental health of kids is in the forefront.

“I’m deeply concerned about the lasting effects of their current inactivity,” Shapiro added. “We know in a good year, a regular year, there are significant health benefits of just being active. Now you figure all the other stressors that our kids have right now are further compounded by not being able to be active.”

Dean Plante, the athletic director and girls’ basketball coach at Old Orchard Beach High, says “athletics should not be shut down” at schools in counties designated as yellow by the state. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Shapiro and Ryan are not suggesting that schools ignore the recent spike in COVID-19 cases and deaths and return to a pre-pandemic approach. What they and many others want is for the 51 high school programs affected by yellow status to at least be allowed to have small groups gather for simple and physically distanced conditioning.

“Those schools that are yellow and in-person should be able to do skills and drills in my opinion; athletics should not be shut down,” said Dean Plante, the athletic director and girls’ basketball coach at Old Orchard Beach, where students are attending in-person learning four days a week. “Yellow should not be red in that instance. It makes no sense. It’s contradictory to what we’re doing during the school day.”

In-person physical education classes are being held during the school day. Meanwhile, club and youth sports teams in yellow counties have been given the go-ahead to practice and play games. And even though daily case counts have steadily increased across the state, more than 90 schools in green counties began interscholastic competitions on Jan. 11.

So while athletes at Mt. Ararat in Topsham, in Sagadahoc County are able to run, shoot, skate, ski and ride the bus to away games, just across the Androscoggin River in Cumberland County, coaches and players on Brunswick High’s teams are only able to connect via virtual conferences.

“We’re worried all the time about kids being on screens too much and now we’re pushing them there,” said Sam Farrell, the girls’ basketball coach at Brunswick. Farrell contends the pandemic’s effects are discouraging participation. “I’ve seen it with my own program. We have 18 signed up and last year we had 29.”

DATA SHOW RISE IN ANXIETY, DEPRESSION

Since the onset of the pandemic, mental health professionals have warned about the dangers of isolation and loneliness in the general population. As Maine’s daily case rate of COVID-19 started to spike in November, crisis and wellness call centers experienced an increase in service requests.

For many high school athletes, much of their self-worth is tied to their association with sports, said Rob Smith, a clinical sports psychologist in Waltham, Massachusetts.

“It’s an identity. That’s what’s on the line for kids and why it’s so stressful, is that (being an athlete) is how they define themselves,” Smith said, noting that “if you think about what the pandemic has done, it’s created this giant series of losses.”

Isolation and time away from friends and sports were key contributing factors to the Dec. 4 suicide death of Brunswick High sophomore Spencer Smith, 16, his family said.

“The worst thing for kids is to be sitting in their room ruminating about what they lost,” said Dan Gould, the director of the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports at Michigan State University.

High school athletes reported increased feelings of depression and anxiety as early as May, when spring sports were shut down across the country. In a solicited survey of over 3,200 Wisconsin high school athletes, conducted by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, researchers found 62 percent of both females and males reported mild or moderate/severe depression symptoms.

In previous studies of Wisconsin high school athletes, 35 percent of females and only 21 percent of males reported any depression symptoms. The increase in the moderate/severe category was more than three times greater for girls and more than four times greater for boys.

The survey was then expanded to high school athletes across the country, drawing over 13,000 responses, including 102 from Maine (62 girls, 40 boys). While 102 represents a far smaller sample size, the Maine students reported greater levels of depression, including moderate to severe depression, than their peers in Wisconsin. In a separate measure for anxiety, 50 percent of the female respondents from Maine reported moderate to severe anxiety, compared to 43.7 percent in the overall national survey.

“The research is very consistent with what is being seen across the country,” said Ryan, the athletic trainer at South Portland High. “The problem is getting state policy leaders to fully understand that decisions they are making are adversely affecting the kids.”

The researchers repeated the survey in September to compare Wisconsin students playing a fall sport to those who had their fall sport canceled because of the pandemic.

“We found they were twice as likely to be mildly or moderately depressed if they were not playing their fall sport,” said Tim McGuine, a co-author of the original study.

VIRTUAL MEETINGS ARE NO SUBSTITUTE FOR PRACTICES

Virtual team meetings serve one primary purpose, said Eric Curtis, the athletic director at Bonny Eagle High in Standish.

“What I’m trying to get across to my coaches is, honestly, just to make connections with the kids and keep their spirits up,” Curtis said.

Rachel Wall, a senior co-captain of the Freeport High girls’ basketball team, said she and her teammates are working hard to make sure they maintain a positive connection. Freeport girls’ basketball coach Seth Farrington asked Wall and her fellow captains Hannah Groves and Mason Baker-Schlendering to become active leaders in the virtual team meetings. Each captain has a cohort of teammates whom they direct in daily individual workouts.

Rachel Wall, one of the captains of the Freeport High girls’ basketball team, says she and her teammates are working hard to make sure they maintain a positive connection while they are unable to practice. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer Buy this Photo

“With my group I’ve been trying to make sure they stay active and doing their workouts,” Wall said. “If we do get to have a season and can practice again, it’s super important that we can just start right back. And, I’m also trying to encourage them because just being a student now is really hard.

“We are separated so much of the time. You want them to stay connected and encourage them throughout the week so they don’t feel alone. And a lot do feel that way right now,” Wall added.

Kennebunk girls’ basketball coach Rob Sullivan said virtual meetings shouldn’t be considered a substitute for practices. Rather, they can be effective for team bonding. He tries to meet with his team three or four times a week for 30- to 45-minute sessions broken into several segments. There is some coaching and drill demonstration but there are also trivia contests or word games to lighten the mood.

Like many other coaches, Sullivan wonders why, when it comes to high school sports, “yellow means red.” He’s not advocating a full start-up of cross-town games. Rather, Sullivan says there is great value with relatively little risk for teams in yellow counties to get in the gym.

“I can put 10, 12 kids in a gym with six hoops and they can stay pretty far apart,” Sullivan said. “Part of me would like to do that but there’s another part that would like to wait longer knowing that, when we do start (practicing), we’ll be able to finish a season.”

Others are more adamant that practices need to be allowed – and soon. Plante says he’s already sensed waning interest in virtual meetings, particularly among students drawn to a sport primarily for its social engagement.

“You always have those fringe kids that (play sports) to be part of something and that’s the beauty of education-based sports. It gives kids that sense of belonging,” Plante said. “Now, those on-the-cusp kids are looking around, and if they have the opportunity to bag groceries and make $12 an hour or stare at me on the computer, it’s a tough sell for a lot of kids. And a lot of families.”

“I’m hoping there’s some movement on the yellow designation,” said Farrington, the Freeport girls’ basketball coach. “The only thing it affects is co-curricular” activities because almost all schools are already operating in a hybrid model.

“If our county goes yellow, we should be yellow in sports. Not red. Yellow. Which means we socially distance, wear a mask,” Farrington said. “And I’m not worried about games. I just want to be in the gym, practicing with those kids that wear Freeport jerseys. I think they need each other, they need the coaches. And the coaches need them, too.”

“There’s some things that don’t make sense to us,” Shapiro said. “We can have in-person learning and we’re an education-based activity, why can’t we extend that learning to the gym, or the rink? For that matter, why can’t we do alpine skiing? Or be in a pool, where chlorine kills (the virus)?

“Everything still centers on their mental health and the long-term effects that this may have and we know the antidote: let them play. At the very least practice.”

For that to happen, the Maine Principals’ Association’s guidance, developed in conjunction with officials across the state, would need to be modified. Executive Director Mike Burnham said he has shared a presentation made by McGuine about the Wisconsin research to some of the key agencies in the state.

“All the state agencies are meeting (this) week to talk about winter sports and what’s transpiring now,” Burnham said.

Until changes are made, though, online practice workouts and attempts at team bonding through virtual meetings are likely to continue.

“As for our team, a lot of girls are trying to make the most of the situation we can,” said Freeport’s Wall.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 case numbers remain high in Maine. With the winter high school sports schedule slated to end in late February, time is running out for some teams to have a meaningful season.

“I try to keep positive,” said Tocci, the hockey player at Portland High, “but some kids in our grade, some of the basketball players especially, are saying, ‘We’re never going to get out of it. We’re never going to have a season.’ I try to tell them to stay positive, but there’s no real evidence that everything is going to get better.”

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Ancient History Of Dentistry

    AncientPages.com – If you think going to a dentist is an awful thing, be thankful you didn’t live thousands of years ago. Our ancestors understood the importance of healthy teeth, but the methods and instruments used in those days were far from pleasant.

    Historical evidence proves that dentistry started around the areas of China,
    Egypt, India, Etruscans of Central Italy, Assyrians, and Japan. While exploring and researching mummies, archaeologists have learned a mouthful of information on ancient dentistry.

    The Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus Sheds Light on Ancient Egyptian Dentistry

    There is a lot of historical evidence revealing that ancient Egyptians practiced medicine thousands of years ago .

    The Edwin Smith Papyrus is an ancient Egyptian medical text, named after the dealer who bought it in 1862, and the oldest known surgical treatise on trauma. The papyrus was written sometime before 3000 B.C. and it gives instructions on how to heal and treat wounds in the mouth.

    Although there were detailed instructions about curing mouth problems, the evidence and writings within this time lead people to believe that the actual teeth were still considered untreatable. To begin with minor dental work was performed, but later as the knowledge increased doctors were able to carry out more advanced procedures.

    The ancients doctors were familiar with almost all modern dental diseases.

    The earliest signs of dental surgery were between 3000 and 2500 B.C. and usually involved drilling out cavities or pulling teeth. It might be hard to imagine having your teeth drilled into without the comfort of shots and happy gas, but Egyptians by 1550 B.C had prescriptions for dental pain and injuries. Interestingly, through all these years, there has never been any evidence in mummies or writings that mechanical or false teeth were ever used. This has been somewhat of a surprise to scientists as we would expect ancient Egyptians who were rather lavish to replace missing front teeth with artificial teeth.

    Nevertheless, ancient Egyptians have also been credited with the invention of toothpaste. The world’s oldest-known recipe for toothpaste comes from ancient Egypt in fact. When discovered, the Egyptian toothpaste formula formula from the 4th century AD caused a sensation among dentists who described it as an advanced recipe “ahead of its time”.

    Egyptians are believed to have started using a paste to clean their teeth around 5000BC, before toothbrushes were invented. Ancient Greeks and Romans are known to have used toothpastes, and people in China and India first used toothpaste around 500BC.

    Etruscan Civilization Experimented With Golden Teeth

    The Etruscans were a group of agricultural people who evolved into an urban population of craftsmen, traders, and navigators who lived in a network of cities and dominated the area of the Mediterranean around Italy in the 8th and 9th centuries BC. The origins of the Etruscans are lost in prehistory, but the main hypotheses are that they are indigenous, probably stemming from the Villanovan culture, or that they are the result of invasion from the north or the Near East.

    The Etruscan people were very intelligent and always strived to increase their knowledge in a number of areas, such as for example medicine and dentistry. The courage to travel across sea to trade with other civilizations is proof of their industrious and courageous personalities. Archaeological discoveries reveal that their image was important to them and they were the first people were to take basic work in the mouth to a more artistic level. Using the knowledge of dentistry they learned from travel, they began to experiment with filling gold teeth.

    In one preserved mouth, gold bands were wrapped around the teeth and cemented by soldering with heat. Human and animal teeth were used as artificial teeth and held in place by gold bands. Performed around 700 B.C this is the first time in history a form of prosthetics was ever used in the mouth, and would be the only use for many years.

    The Etruscan prostheses were remarkable because they used gold bands which were soldered into rings instead of the gold wires which are seen in other cultures (Egyptians, Phoenicians) of the same time.

    Ancient Greek Dentistry

    Some years ago, a mummy was found with many devastating dental problems. Around 2,100 years ago, at a time when Egypt was ruled by a dynasty of Greek kings, a young wealthy man from Thebes was nearing the end of his life. Rather than age, he may have died from a basic sinus infection caused from a life of painful cavities. The man, whose name is unknown, was in his 20s or early 30s. A modern-day dentist would have a hard time dealing with the young man’s severe condition and one can imagine that the ancient dentist must have felt overwhelmed.

    A 3D reconstruction of the 2,100-year-old mummy’s teeth. They were in horrible shape with “numerous” abscesses and cavities, problems that may have resulted in a sinus infection, possibly fatal.
    Credit: Image courtesy International Journal of Paleopathology.

    Greek dentists struggled to stop and cure his cavities. Linen soaked in medicine was packed in the holes in his teeth in an attempt to relieve the pain. Cloth in the tooth prevented food from entering and festering in the area. Greeks prided themselves in their strength and ability to handle pain. So, when cavities were found in the teeth, Greeks would often deal with the pain rather than have the tooth pulled. Losing a tooth would be a great loss and the pain was a small price to pay, but at the end the ancient dentists failed and the man died.

    When the unknown men died he was mummified, his brain and many of his organs taken out, resin put in and his body wrapped. Curiously, embalmers left his heart inside the body, a sign perhaps of his elite status.

    Dentistry In Ancient China

    The history of dentistry in China is closely aligned with the remarkable developments in Chinese medicine over at least six millennia.

    Rudimentary dental extractions were performed as early as 6000 BC, when the first signs of adornment with human teeth were described. Around 2700 BC ancient Chinese started using used acupuncture to treat pain associated with tooth decay. Doctors in ancient China treated toothaches with arsenic about A.D. 1000. They are also noted for their development of using silver amalgam for filling teeth. The Chinese were particularly advanced in their observation of the oral cavity.

    In an ancient work called the Canon of Medicine, dentistry is discussed.A section of this work is dedicated specifically to mastication and deglutition. The Chinese were also interested in systemic diseases and their connection to oralmanifestations. For example, they recognized that prior to the development of measles, white spots would appear in a person’s oral cavity.  Another significant area of study among Chinese surgeons in Chinese history of dentistry was oral surgery. Scientists have discovered many writings regarding the extraction of teeth and the instruments utilized to perform such tasks.

    The great Sung landscapist Li T’ang depicts a country doctor cauterizing a patient’s
    arm by burning it with the powdered leaves of an aromatic plant. The treatment is
    called Moxibustion , which is widely used along with acupuncture for treatment such as relieving toothache.

    In addition, information has been found in Chinese history of dentistry relating to the abscesses of teeth and other oral structures. The Chinese based many treatments for abscesses on scientific observation. Finally, the Chinese surgeons delved extensively into surgery techniques of the oral cavity..

    There were actually four distinct periods of medical development in China: the Mystical Period; the Golden Period; the Controversial Period; and the Transitional Period. The Golden Period was marked by the appearance of the first textbooks to describe preventive and restorative dental techniques, as well as the first colleges. Dentistry then moved through the dark times of the Controversial Period, when war mongering stymied progress. Lasting until 1800 AD, it came to an end with the domination of Western medicine and dentistry.

    In Mesopotamia Diseases Were Often Blamed On Pre-Existing Spirits And Gods

    Before the advent of the current medical establishment, many ancient cultures had believed that worms were the cause of various illnesses and diseases such as tooth decay known as cavities today.In fact, tooth worms have a long history, first appearing in a Sumerian text around 5,000 BC.

    References to tooth worms can be found in China, Egypt and India long before the belief finally takes root (pun intended) into Western Europe in the 8th century.

    For example, the Chinese believed there were worms in the teeth that caused tooth decay and pain. They had several remedies that they employed successfully to kill these worms.

    The ancient Babylonians had also believed that worms in the form of demons had caused diseases in people.

    In Mesopotamia diseases were blamed on pre-existing spirits and gods. Each spirit was held responsible for only one of what we would call a disease in any one part of the body. So usually “Hand of God X” of the stomach corresponds to what we call a disease of the stomach. A number of diseases simply were identified by names, “bennu” for example.
    Clay tablets contained more than 100,000 cuneiform scripts belonging to the Sumerians, Babylonians and Assyrians who lived in Mesopotamia were collected. In 700 BC, Asurbanipal, the Assyrian king, collected these scripts in a library built in Ninova. Among these tablets there were some parts about toothache. The laws of King Hammurabi, which had been responsible for the lack of surgical development, brought social and legal responsibilities to doctors for the first time.

    In Mesopotamia gods and spirits were blamed for diseases.

    Among these rules that reached us today is “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”. If the person damaged the tooth of another person of the same social class, then his tooth should be removed. However, if he damaged the tooth of another person of lower social class, he was fined 166 gr of silver to be paid to the other person.

    By examining the surviving medical tablets it is clear that there were two distinct types of professional medical practitioners in ancient Mesopotamia who also treated toothaches.

    The first type of practitioner was the ashipu, in older accounts of Mesopotamian medicine often called a “sorcerer.” One of the most important roles of the ashipu was to diagnose the ailment. In the case of internal diseases, this most often meant that the ashipu determined which god or demon was causing the illness. The ashipu could also attempt to cure the patient by means of charms and spells that were designed to entice away or drive out the spirit causing the disease. The ashipu could also refer the patient to a different type of healer called an asu. He was a specialist in herbal remedies, and in older treatments of Mesopotamian medicine was frequently called “physician” because he dealt in what were often classifiable as empirical applications of medication.

    Dentistry has evolved over time from a rather barbaric practice to a technologically advanced industry. Preventative maintenance such as teeth cleanings help people avoid some of the serious problems that people of the past were faced with when it came to teeth.

    Copyright © AncientPages.com All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of AncientPages.com

    Expand for references

    References:

    Ancient History Encyclopedia – Etruscan Civilization

    Loevy HT, Kowitz AA. – The dawn of dentistry: dentistry among the Etruscans

    Live Science – Mummy with Mouthful of Cavities Discovered

    Gentle Dental – Ancient Dentistry

    Xu Y1, MacEntee MI. – The roots of dentistry in ancient China

    Dr. Muna –  Chinese history of dentistry

    Smile The Dental Magazine – Dentistry in Ancient Civilizations

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      Introducing LightForce Orthodontics and Its Customized 3D Printed Bracket System

      The LightForce Orthodontics team. L-R: Kelsey Peterson-Fafara, Dr. Alfred Griffin, Craig Sidorchuk, and Dr. Lou Shuman.

      A dental resident walked into a bar full of Harvard graduate students. No, it’s not the beginning of a bad joke, but actually the genesis of venture-backed startup LightForce Orthodontics, which officially launched at this year’s American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) Annual Session. The team is making what it calls the world’s first customized 3D printed bracket system for the digital orthodontics field.

      The startup’s founder and CEO, Dr. Alfred Griffin, comes from a long line of dentists, and had just completed a combined dental and PhD program at the Medical University of South Carolina before moving to Boston in 2015 to attend the Harvard School of Dental Medicine for his residency. He wasn’t used to the whiteout conditions of a hard New England winter, and spent a lot of time holed up in his apartment, dreaming up the innovative bracket system.

      Dr. Larry Andrews and A-Company first introduced fully programmed brackets in 1970, and not a lot has changed since then.

      “Standard orthodontic prescriptions are essentially a compromise from the outset,” explained Dr. Griffin in the special edition AAO issue of this year’s Orthodontic Practice US. “They are an “all patients equal” proposition. But no two patients have exactly the same tooth morphology or exactly the same bite. So why would we think they should all have the same ‘ideal’ finish?

      “The concessions with pre-programmed brackets have been imposed by several constraining factors. Two of the primary constraints are inflexible bracket manufacturing technologies and the imprecision of analog treatment planning.”

      It costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and takes anywhere from six to twelve months, using injection molding, to create molds for one standard prescription, which is about 20 brackets of different programming and shapes – not a realistic environment for patient-specific customization. So Dr. Griffin turned to 3D printing, which already has many applications in the dental and orthodontics fields, such as creating aligners, molds, implants, dentures, and even braces.

      Most braces are “off the rack,” and even though skilled orthodontists can make this work, Dr. Griffin knew that 3D printing, which is a good fit for custom applications, could be used to make patient-specific braces. So he created a patented system for 3D printed orthodontic treatment brackets, using material nearly identical to injection modeled ceramic brackets but that’s been formulated specifically for 3D printing.

      “Delivering a patient-specific prescription for each case, the LightForce system is unlike anything you’ve ever used,” claims the website. “Each bracket is custom created and 3D-printed, bringing a new level of flexibility and clinical possibilities. This enhances treatment efficiency and minimizes time-consuming adjustments in all phases of treatment.”

      That same snowy winter, Dr. Griffin attended a local happy hour with Harvard graduate students, and after buying a few rounds, explained his idea to the group. Engineer Kelsey Peterson-Fafara immediately recognized the potential, and would soon be employee #1. Not long after LightForce, originally titled Signature Orthodontics, was accepted into the Harvard Innovation Lab accelerator, Dr. Griffin met orthodontist Dr. Lou Shuman, who had been an important member of the executive team for another dental company using 3D printing: Invisalign. He soon asked Dr. Shuman to be the company’s co-founder, and help reach out to the venture capital community.

      LightForce Orthodontics was one of 128 applicants chosen to join the MassChallenge Accelerator program in 2016, and became entrepreneurs-in-residence at the MassChallenge facility, later receiving $50,000 in equity-free financing as one of the 15 winners. The next step was locking down venture capital, but Dr. Griffin didn’t want to work with just anyone – he was looking to change how orthodontics works at a fundamental level, not just for a cash grab. The company’s first major funding came from AM Ventures (AMV), which is dedicated to investing in 3D printing.

      “We wanted a strategic investor — not just someone with money,” Dr. Shuman said. “We wanted expertise in our fundamental technology. AMV was an ideal partner for LightForce.”

      Speaking of expertise, AMV introduced Dr. Griffin and Dr. Shuman to EOS founder and industry pioneer Hans Langer, who believes that LightForce has achieved the two most important components in the future of 3D printing: creating high value customization, and having a market that’s large enough to support it.

      LightForce continued to grow, staying on as Alumni in Residence at MassChallenge through 2017, hiring expert dental software developers, finalizing the bracket design, and receiving FDA clearance for the system. The startup closed its Series A funding round last summer, enjoyed a successful debut at the 2019 AAO Annual Session, and has multiple patients in treatment who wanted to be the first to sport customized, 3D printed braces.

      The brackets can be perfectly contoured to any tooth morphology. The initial system was made to compete with metal brackets, and LightForce is now working on higher-aesthetic options and looking at different materials, as well as perfecting its service and supply chain logistics. It’s a simple three-step digital workflow: scan, create the 3D model, and print. The online interface is intuitive, with cloud-based treatment planning software that allows users to make adjustments directly on the model, before the custom 3D printed appliance is shipped in just 7-10 business days after approval.

      In order to keep up with a changing industry, LightForce’s treatment planning system will keep evolving as necessary. Aligners are becoming more capable, but many orthodontists still use braces for their patients, which is why LightForce is looking at the larger marketplace.

      Dr. Griffin explained, “We don’t want to bring the idea to market and say `here’s how to use it.` We want to bring this to the orthodontist and ask them, ‘What can you do with it?’”

      As direct-to-consumer companies gain popularity, Dr. Griffin wants the startup to acknowledge the expertise of the orthodontic community, and help the field, not just take it over.

      Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.

      The post Introducing LightForce Orthodontics and Its Customized 3D Printed Bracket System appeared first on 3DPrint.com | The Voice of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing.

      This content was originally published here.

      Fauci assures World Health Org. Biden regime is committed to funding abortions

      Big Tech is censoring us. Subscribe to our email list and bookmark LifeSiteNews.com to continue getting our news.  Subscribe now.

      WASHINGTON, D.C., January 21, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – In comments made to the World Health Organization (WHO) today, Dr. Anthony Fauci announced the Biden regime’s commitment to the promotion of abortion, as well as a new relationship between the United States and the WHO.

      Fauci has been named as Chief Medical Adviser to Joe Biden, who was sworn in as president yesterday, and became Biden’s de facto spokesman to the WHO at the 148th session of the Executive Board of the organization which is currently taking place. Fauci is the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who became famous for his constant media appearances during the coronavirus outbreak.

      He made clear that the Biden regime would be very closely aligned with the WHO, noting that Biden had already “signed letters retracting the previous Administration’s announcement to withdraw from the organization.”

      “I am honored to announce that the United States will remain a member of the World Health Organization,” Fauci declared.

      Under Biden’s authority, the U.S will be “fully engaged in advancing global health,” he added, and would “work constructively with partners to strengthen and importantly reform the WHO.”

      However, the newly appointed Chief Medical Adviser also highlighted Biden’s commitment to the promotion of “sexual and reproductive health,” and “reproductive rights,” both of which are common euphemisms for abortion and contraception.

      “And it will be our policy to support women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights in the United States, as well as globally. To that end, President Biden will be revoking the Mexico City Policy in the coming days, as part of his broader commitment to protect women’s health and advance gender equality at home and around the world.”

      The Mexico City Policy prohibits federal funding of abortion abroad. Under former President Donald Trump, it was expanded into a policy called Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance.

      Biden is very public about his claims of being Catholic, even attending Mass shortly before his inauguration, yet has been very open about his strong support for abortion as well as LGBT ideology. He has called abortion an “essential health service” and wishes to enshrine abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy into federal law.

      Pope Francis extended his congratulations to Biden yesterday, yet did not call mention the issue of abortion in his message.

      In the flurry of executive orders which Biden signed by yesterday evening, he gave permission for gender-confused soldiers to serve openly in the military.

      Aside from committing the U.S. to assist the WHO in funding, and promoting abortion, Fauci repeatedly mentioned the close relationship which would exist between the two going forward. He thanked the WHO for its “role in leading the global public health response to this pandemic,” and assured the organization that that U.S. “intends to fulfill its financial obligations.”

      Trump had defunded the WHO for its botching of the coronavirus response and its close ties to Communist China.

      In a “directive” to be signed by Biden today, Fauci related that the U.S. would “join COVAX and support the ACT-Accelerator to advance multilateral efforts for COVID-19 vaccine, therapeutic, and diagnostic distribution, equitable access, and research and development.”

      “We will commit to building global health security capacity, expanding pandemic preparedness, and supporting efforts to strengthen health systems around the world and to advance the Sustainable Development Goals,” he added, referring to the U.N.’s 2030 pro-abortion goals.

      Despite advocating for a renewed focus on promoting abortion and contraception, Fauci closed his speech by claiming that the U.S. would work to “improve the health and wellbeing of all people throughout the world.”

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      Joe Biden picks transgender woman for assistant health secretary / LGBTQ Nation

      “Dr. Rachel Levine will bring the steady leadership and essential expertise we need to get people through this pandemic — no matter their zip code, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability — and meet the public health needs of our country in this critical moment and beyond,” Biden said in a statement. “She is a historic and deeply qualified choice to help lead our administration’s health efforts.”

      If both are confirmed, Levine will serve under California’s attorney general Xavier Becerra, who has been nominated to the position of secretary of HHS.

      Nominating Levine signals the importance of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic for the Biden administration. As surgeon general of the state of Pennsylvania, she has led the state’s response to the pandemic, at times facing heavy criticism – and straight-up transphobia – from conservatives in her state.

      “Dr. Rachel Levine is a remarkable public servant with the knowledge and experience to help us contain this pandemic, and protect and improve the health and well-being of the American people,” said Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in a statement. “President-elect Biden and I look forward to working with her to meet the unprecedented challenges facing Americans and rebuild our country in a way that lifts everyone up.”

      Her appointment also signals the incoming Biden administration’s commitment to end attacks on LGBTQ health. HHS was at the center of numerous attacks on LGBTQ people during the Trump administration.

      HHS spent the last four years attempting to roll back LGBTQ protections based on Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act so that health care providers could more easily discriminate; rolling back anti-LGBTQ discrimination protections for the recipients of HHS grant money, funds that often go to adoption and fostering agencies as well as health care and homelessness programs; redefining “gender” to mean “sex assigned at birth” in order to legally erase transgender identity; scrubbed LGBTQ health care information from its website; and stopped funding HIV/AIDS research that involves fetal tissue, which is necessary for many aspects of HIV/AIDS research.

      While she has been confirmed three times by the GOP-controlled state senate during her tenure at Pennsylvania’s Department of Health, she faced an unprecedented deluge of transphobic attacks this past year as she tried to get Pennsylvanians to wear masks and practice social distancing.

      Last year, an evangelical minister exhorted his followers to “rise up” and “chase” the doctor out of the state. He repeatedly referred to her as “it,” “a man,” and a “freak transvestite.”

      “You are absolutely insane if you let that transvestite freak rule your life,” pastor Rick Wiles screamed. “You’re going to that transvestite freak? Seriously?”

      In July, a Pennsylvania tavern apologized for a transphobic menu item designed to taunt Dr. Levine. And around the same time, a popular Pennsylvania fair, the Bloomsburg Fair, used a Dr. Levine “impersonator” (which was a man in a wig and a dress) in their dunk tank and published a mocking Facebook post about it.

      Leaders of both the fair and tavern apologized, but Dr. Levine still felt it was important to address the transphobia directly at one of her daily briefings.

      “I want to emphasize that while these individuals may think that they are only expressing their displeasure with me, they are in fact hurting the thousands of LGBTQ Pennsylvanians who suffered directly from these current demonstrations of harassment,” she said during her July 28 briefing. “Your actions perpetuate the spirit of intolerance and discrimination against LGBTQ individuals and specifically transgender individuals.”

      This content was originally published here.

      Dentistry: Root canal work not so bad after all — ScienceDaily

      Dr Tallan Chew, postgraduate student, Adelaide Dental School, University of Adelaide co-authored the study.

      “Information about 1096 randomly selected Australian people aged 30-61 was collected through questionnaires, dental records and treatment receipts in 2009. Their self-rated dental health score was checked when they had their dental work and two years later,” she says.

      “Patients who had root canal work reported similar oral health-related quality of life as people who had other types of dental work.

      “The effect of root canal work on patients’ oral health-related quality of life was compared to other kinds of dental work such as tooth extraction, restoration of teeth, repairs to the teeth or gum treatment, preventative treatment and cleaning.”

      Every year millions of root canal treatments are performed globally (more than 22 million in the USA alone), which may have a profound positive effect on the quality of life of patients. A root canal treatment repairs and saves a tooth that is badly decayed or is infected. During a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp are removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed. Most people associate having root canal work with a lot of pain and discomfort.

      “There is growing interest in the dental profession to better understand the effect and impact oral diseases and their associated treatment, such as root canal work, have on patients’ quality of life,” says Professor Giampiero Rossi-Fedele, Head of Endodontics at Adelaide Dental School, University of Adelaide who co-authored the study.

      “A biopsychosocial view of health is increasingly replacing a purely biomedical model.

      “Treatment outcomes need to be re-examined from a patient-based perspective using self-reported measures as this more accurately reflects the patients’ perception of treatment outcomes and the effect it has on their overall well-being.

      “Patient-reported treatment outcomes are now the principle driving force behind treatment needs, as opposed to clinician-based treatment outcomes.

      “With this change in emphasis, the perspectives of patients and their relatives are important factors in identifying need for treatment, treatment planning, and determining outcomes from any health care intervention as part of shared decision making,” says Professor Rossi-Fedele.

      This content was originally published here.

      Mental Health Tips for the Holidays | Intuit®: Official Blog

      The holidays are just around the corner and while often considered a joyous season, we know that this year may be especially difficult. When stress is at its peak, it’s hard to stop and regroup. 

      We want to help! That’s why we’ve partnered with our Intuit Abilities Network to share some actionable tips to help minimize holiday stress: 

      Be realistic. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few favorites to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. Find new ways to celebrate together, such as setting up a date for a video call, or exchanging favorite photos from throughout the year.

      Maintain healthy habits. Find ways to incorporate healthy habits into your daily routine. Try out some new recipes, keep a glass of water nearby to help you stay hydrated and don’t forget to move your body daily. Whether its enjoying a light walk around your neighborhood or exploring a new park, getting some exercise while enjoying some fresh air can help lift your spirits while mixing up your day.

      Take a breather. With all the hustle and bustle of the season, be sure to take some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may help refresh you enough to handle everything on your to do list. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm. This could include listening to your favorite music, reading a book, meditating, writing down the things you’re most grateful for or even exploring a new hobby.

      Acknowledge your feelings. If you can’t be with loved ones, acknowledge that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. Don’t feel like you have to force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season. 

      Seek help from a professional. You still may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, feeling physically exhausted, unable to sleep, irritable, and/or unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, remember that it’s ok to talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. If you or a loved one is experiencing emotional distress, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7 support. Call 1-800-273-8255 for free and confidential help. 

      At Intuit, we celebrate diversity and value inclusion. We strive to ensure employees and their families have access to the support they need through comprehensive global benefits programs and initiatives like our Employee Resource Groups. 

      It’s ok to not feel perfect during the holidays. Remember that this time is fleeting and make sure you take the time you need to take care of yourself.

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      How Young Can Kids Get Braces? An Orthodontist Weighs In

      Youve adored your childs goofy grin since forever. Then, those beautiful little baby teeth fall out and in come the permanent ones. If your kids teeth begin to grow in crooked or flaring, you might find yourself thinking about correcting that dental dilemma. So how young can your child get braces if it turns out they might need it not only for a straight smile, but also help the way they might eat and speak.

      “The American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) recommends that children have their first orthodontic consultation at the age of seven, Dr. Erika Faust, an orthodontist at Elite Orthodontics in New York City, tells Romper. By this age, your childs first adult molars have appeared and her permanent bite has been established. So, if there is any deviation from a normal bite we can take steps to correct it early. Of course, there are some exceptions to this rule, such as correcting a thumb-sucking habit or for a patient who might need to learn proper tongue placement while swallowing, reported the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO).

      During an initial visit, there are some things that orthodontists look for to see if getting braces at an early age might be necessary. At the first consultation, we determine if there are any severe bite or alignment issues that need to be immediately addressed, and if so, we begin treatment, says Dr. Faust. In many cases, more moderate orthodontic treatment is recommended and the patient can wait until most baby teeth have come out. That said, an early intervention procedure might be performed prior to getting braces, such as removing a baby tooth, so that a permanent tooth can take its place. Orthodontists also evaluate for proper tooth development and eruption to make sure that all of the permanent teeth are coming in properly. Thats why taking your child to the orthodontist for an initial appointment sooner rather than later can help determine if early intervention methods might be necessary.

      In most cases, braces go on around ages 11-13. At this point, pretty much all of your childs baby teeth will have fallen out and hell have his permanent ones. And thats when you might start seeing superficial issues, like crowding or crooked teeth. But theres a small window when orthodontics will work, and thats mostly due to your child’s age and attitude. Starting treatment later than ages 11-13 risks poorer patient cooperation and the likelihood that treatment wont be finished before important life events like senior pictures, prom, and graduation, explains Dr. Faust. That’s why it’s best for your child to brace himself (ha) and get braces before becoming a full-blown teenager.

      But having straight teeth isnt the only end goal of electing to get braces. Proper orthodontic treatment can allow your child to chew and eat correctly as well as speak more clearly. Jaw discrepancies are corrected much easier and faster in growing children than in adults, says Dr. Faust. Neglecting these issues can result in the need for a much longer time in braces in adolescence, extraction of permanent teeth, and in severe cases, jaw surgery later in life.

      Getting braces is almost a rite of passage in the tween years. While most children should be assessed during their elementary school years, middle school is often when many kids begin orthodontic treatment. And before you know it, your child’s smile will be picture-perfect once again.

      This content was originally published here.

      Unarmed Black Pastor Having Mental Health Episode Is Killed By ‘Aggressive’ Texas Police Officer After Family Called for Wellness Check

      A wellness check for Patrick Warren Sr., a Black pastor, turned fatal Sunday, Jan. 10, when an officer in Killeen, Texas, shot Warren after his family had called 911 to request assistance from a mental health professional. The family was concerned that 52-year-old Warren, who lives with mental health issues, was having an episode, according to civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, who is representing the family.

      “They noticed their loved one deteriorating, undergoing some sort of psychosis it appeared,” Merritt said in an exclusive interview with ABC25. “They spoke with medical professionals. They wanted to get him some help.”

      According to Merritt, the family was told a mental health deputy was not available so the police department dispatched an officer who has been identified as Reynaldo Contreras instead.

      Merritt said the family described Contreras as “an aggressive officer who’s speaking in an abrasive tone who clearly had an attitude.” Merritt also said Contreras slammed the door on the way out of the family’s home before killing Warren, which is corroborated by video footage from the family’s ring camera.

      The video footage shows Warren, who also was a veteran, coming out of the door with his hands up. Then his behavior seems to become increasingly more erratic. At that point Warren goes offscreen and the family can be seen in distress asking Warren to sit down and begging the officer not to shoot. However, a taser can be heard being deployed off-camera followed by three shots. “No, no I told you don’t use a gun,” a family member screams over and over on the video.

      “When Patrick’s family protested, ‘Don’t shoot,’ an officer fired his first shot into Patrick and redirected his weapon toward Patrick’s wife, Barbara, telling her to get back from Patrick. The officer again trains his weapon on Patrick’s body and continues to fire his weapon, killing him,” a press release from Merritt’s firm states.

      Warren was taken to Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center where he later died. Merritt said the family is calling for “the immediate firing and arrest of the officer.” Warren’s son, Patrick Warren Jr., said Warren was “tragically killed by Killeen Police … in front of his family in a nonviolent encounter.”

      Warren Jr. created a GoFundMe campaign to assist with funeral expenses. On it, he noted his father was the “sole provider” for their family and had lost his job due to the coronavirus pandemic. He added his father’s life insurance policy had expired three months prior and that the family would be grateful for any contribution. The campaign had raised over $34,000 at time of publication.

      Warren Jr. also created an Instagram account, Justice For Patrick Warren. It had over 3,000 followers at time of publication.

      Patrick Warren,sr Husband Father and Pastor Was shot and killed by local police in his front yard he was unarmed #BLM #BlackTwitter pic.twitter.com/HhOjzOXuNV

      — Ananda Robinson (@AnandaRobinson3)

      The Killeen Police Department released a statement that said Contreras was dispatched “in reference to a psychiatric call” and when he arrived “he encountered an emotionally distressed man.” They added Contreras initially used his taser but it didn’t work so he “then discharged his duty weapon during the encounter, striking the subject.”

      Dr. Jeremy Berry, professor of Counseling and Psychology and a mental health crisis advocate, said there was a way to deescalate the situation without killing Warren.

      “I’ve been on calls that looked exactly like that, hundreds of them, and I know that there’s a way that that plays out better. I know there is. I’ve seen it. I’ve been involved in it,” Berry told ABC25. “There are other methods to address that situation that might not require someone to lose their life.”

      Activist Shaun King, who said he has gotten involved with helping the Warren family, shared video footage of the encounter on Instagram. He described Warren as “a pastor … beloved father” and “cherished husband.”

      On Twitter, Merritt said Warren Sr. was “killed in his front lawn during a wellness check. Shot 3 times in his chest for being ill.” He also listed eight other Black men who were killed by police for similar reasons.

      Everyone must say #PatrickWarrensr’s name. He was killed in his front lawn during a wellness check. Shot 3 times in his chest for being ill. Just like #DariusTarver#StephenTaylor #DamianDaniels🇺🇸 #EverettPalmerJr🇺🇸#BrandonRoberts #DewayneBowman#AdrianRoberts🇺🇸#toomany pic.twitter.com/Z2pAautKWS

      — S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw)

      Many on social media said Warren’s death was another painful reminder that Black and white Americans face two justice systems.

      “Wow all that restraint the police had with thousands of aggressors in my city but this officer couldn’t handle one man coming towards him,” Instagram user @mealnin_monroe wrote.

      “We saw last week it’s possible for police to not kill aggressive people. Even actually attacking people. But a family calls for HELP for a mental episode and this unarmed man is shot in the chest and dies. Like…..I OBVIOUSLY get it, but I don’t f—ing get it,” user @Nikkilooovesit wrote on Twitter.

      The Killeen Police Department said there is an ongoing investigation being conducted by their Criminal Investigation Division and the Texas Rangers.

      For Merritt, the evidence is clear. “A mental health call should not be a death sentence,” he said.

      This content was originally published here.

      Magic City Dentistry owner Dr. G. Robin Pruitt, Jr. puts FUN in your dental visit

      Sponsored

      Dr. Robin Pruitt. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

      Earlier this year, after realizing that the dental needs of patients were not being met in downtown Birmingham, Dr. Robin Pruitt finding this unacceptable, decided to open up a second office, Magic City Dentistry, on 1st Avenue North between 20th and 21st Street next to the Atomic Lounge. And, this is anything but your typical dentist office!

      Nearly 25 years of experience

      A dentist, doctor, and surgeon, Dr. Pruitt has been practicing dentistry for nearly 25 years at his practice, Vestavia Family Dentistry & Facial Aesthetics.

      “I went to undergraduate and dental school at UAB. Immediately after I graduated, I purchased an existing practice from Dr. Joe Schilleci. He was going to stay with me for 7 months, but he stayed a little bit longer, about 19 years,” said Dr. Pruitt with a chuckle.

      UAB School of Dentistry Interim Dean, Dr. Michelle Robinson and Dr. Robin Pruitt

      As owner of Magic City Dentistry, Dr. Pruitt wanted to establish a new dental office downtown that was anything but ordinary. He wanted patients to begin to actually like going to the dentist. He wanted his patients to “EXPERIENCE SOMETHING DIFFERENT”

      “Your average dental office does what I call your basic “bread and butter” dentistry – your fillings, crowns and cleanings,” stated Pruitt. “When it comes to having teeth surgically removed, sedating patients, root canals, implants surgically placed, gum work and major cosmetic dentistry, most dentists refer that out. Most doctors haven’t received the advanced training in dental school needed to proficiently perform these complex procedures.

      What I realized a long time ago is that if you are good at what you do and your patients like you, then they want to stay with you. They don’t want to bounce around and be sent to multiple different doctors. I also learned that in general, no one likes going to the dentist. It’s not a massage day. It’s not a mani-pedi. It’s not a day at the hair salon. So understanding this principle and making the visit to the dentist as enjoyable as possible is what my offices strive for each day as our number one priority.”

      A Broad Practice

      Over the years, Dr. Pruitt broadened his practice learning, training and techniques especially with all of the things they didn’t teach in dental school like taking wisdom teeth out, learning how to sedate patients, training to become an expert in implantology (implant placement), and with cosmetic dentistry and facial aesthetics such as Botox and dermal fillers.

      “We have patients everyday of the week, male and female, who are in for their regular cleanings and then they stay for a few extra minutes to do Botox,” added Pruitt. “We do a little bit more than just regular dentistry in both my offices. Downtown at Magic City Dentistry and in Vestavia Hills, we do cosmetic dentistry, implant placement, sedation, Zoom whitening, veneers and all types of oral surgery including wisdom teeth. Patients are constantly asking us to change their smile with cosmetic dentistry and Dr. Sollenberger and I do a beautiful job at that”

      Passing down love of dentistry to his children

      What makes Magic City Dentistry and Dr. Pruitt’s practice in Vestavia special is his love of dentistry. His own personal example has led two of his three sons to choose dentistry for their career.

      “I have three sons, 19, 21 and 23 years old. All my sons know, I love what I do career-wise, and never have I said you have got to do this as your profession. But my oldest son Carson is in his 2nd year of dental school. My middle son Chance who is a senior at Auburn, is in the process of interviewing at different dental schools, and hopefully he will be starting dental school in the Fall. My youngest son Cam, who is 19, is starting off as a sophomore at Auburn in business and engineering, but who knows if he’ll end up in dentistry. As my wife says, they all act just like you Robin! I’m not sure if she means that as a compliment. Ha Ha!”

      Dr. Pruitt’s practice in Vestavia Hills is located in The C.A.P. Stone Building on Columbiana Road. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

      “They see their dad loves to do what he does. I don’t come home and complain about my work. I enjoy seeing the patients, I enjoy making a difference in another individuals life, I enjoy my interactions with people everyday and I love wearing a lot of hats everyday.”

      Carson, Kelly, Chance & Cam Pruitt

      Along with his two dental offices, Dr. Pruitt provides consulting to multiple different Dental offices across the state and owns a dental assistant school that trains about 100 dental assistants a year.

      He is a big supporter of the UAB School of Dentistry. He lectures as a volunteer during the school year, and annually hosts along with his wife Kelly, a reception for the school’s Dean, faculty and students at his home. He also regularly travels to Guatemala, to perform much needed dental work and provides oral surgery advanced training to Guatemalan dentists in that country’s impoverished communities.

      Dr. Pruitt and his middle son, Chance last year in Guatemala
      Dr. Pruitt also makes the occasional “house call” when a patient is physically unable to leave their home, to help them out when they are in pain.

      Magic City Dentistry, a Special Vibe

      Dr. Pruitt is especially proud of his Magic City Dentistry office. Built to fit the vibe and feel of the downtown Birmingham scene. The place, with its urbane design, loft appearance and exposed brick walls, looks more like an art gallery than a dental office. In fact, two open house-like events have already been held since July exhibiting the works of local artists John Lytle Wilson and Paul Cordes Wilm.

      Dr. Pruitt, Kelly and Kevin Casey at MCD’s second Art Exhibit last month.
      EXPERIENCE SOMETHING DIFFERENT!!

      Most importantly, Magic City Dentistry offers much needed affordable dental services, in the downtown area.

      Pruitt summed the new office up best, “We Made it FUN!”

      That seems to be the secret of Dr. Pruitt’s success. Having fun, loving what you do and making a difference in other people’s lives.

      Sponsored by:

      The post Magic City Dentistry owner Dr. G. Robin Pruitt, Jr. puts FUN in your dental visit appeared first on Bham Now.

      This content was originally published here.

      Megachurches fined for violating public health orders » Albuquerque Journal

      A social media post on Reddit discussing a Christmas Day service at Legacy Church in Albuquerque. (Source: Reddit)

      They sat close together — hundreds of them — holding candles in the cavernous sanctuary of Legacy Church on Christmas Day, few of them appearing to wear masks.

      Photos and video of that gathering and a Christmas Eve service at Calvary Church have drawn public outrage on social media and on Monday the state Department of Health notified the two churches that they were each being fined $5,000 for violating New Mexico’s public health orders. Those orders, aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19, limit occupancy of churches and other public spaces, mandate the wearing of masks and urge social distancing.

      The DOH notice said that in addition to the $5,000 fines, “other remedies against the same conduct” will be taken as allowed by state statute, although these were not detailed.

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      A spokesman for the governor blasted the churches for the “illegal and selfish gatherings,” saying they “will directly contribute to more suffering and illness in our state.”

      But the churches are pushing back.

      Legacy Church, in a statement, accused state officials of trampling on their rights.

      “We have taken the pandemic seriously from the start, and have prudent measures in place. But when governments exceed their constitutional authority and contradict what we are called on by God to do, we answer first to His authority.”

      Calvary’s chief Pastoral Officer, Neil Oritz, explained that the church “experienced a significant attendance on one of the most celebrated and sacred days of our Christian faith.” In response to the large turnout, the church “chose not to break fellowship with any worshiper by requiring them to leave the gathering of their church family.”

      Ortiz maintained that Calvary continued “to urge and provide opportunity for our congregants to maintain safe social distance, wear face coverings, and properly sanitize.”

      Church seating at Calvary, he said, was staggered with every other row cordoned off, indoor overflow rooms and an outdoor screen were provided, and masks were handed out to those who did not have one as they entered.

      Tripp Stelnicki, a spokesman for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, said the parishioners and leaders of the two churches violated both the state’s public health order “and common sense.”

      “They endangered the lives livelihoods and health of not only their parishioners but their entire communities — and given how quickly this virus can spread, potentially our state as a whole.”

      Stelnicki went on to say that while all New Mexicans wish that the pandemic was over, it clearly is not and no pastor “may deem it so.”

      “These church leaders should reflect on the danger they’ve unleashed in their communities,” he said.

      As of Monday, the virus had already infected more than 138,000 state residents and killed 2,380.

      Many people in the community blasted the churches on social media.

      “Albuquerque, here’s our next super-spreader event,” said one person.

      “You should all be ashamed of yourselves,” wrote another. “So many of us are giving up so much to care for each other, only to have people like you throw our efforts away by callously disregarding all public health guidelines (and the law).”

      A few defended the churches, with one person posting, “You understand Jesus is bigger than Covid, right?”

      Ortiz acknowledged that some will disagree with the decisions made by Calvary’s spiritual leaders.

      “We do care about people’s physical health, and we take great precautions,” he said. “… At the same time, we believe that people can be responsible adults and make their own choices about their life and health and that of their families.”

      The large turnout for their Christmas service indicates “the deep conviction many people have that corporate worship is essential and that as long as health considerations are maintained, it is safe and necessary to worship their God.”

      New Mexico has adopted a three-tiered color system to show the infection rate in different counties, with green being the lowest percentage of infections, increasing to yellow and then red, with the highest — which is the current status statewide.

      Under the state’s pandemic public health mandates, as long as New Mexico hovers in the red zone, churches may not have in-person services that exceed 25% of the fire marshal’s rated occupancy for that space.

      In April, Legacy Church filed a lawsuit against then-New Mexico Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel and the state of New Mexico, maintaining that the public health orders violated the church’s religious freedoms.

      U.S. District Judge James O. Browning in July handed down a ruling in that lawsuit, saying the state has the right to ban large gatherings in houses of worship during a public health crisis, and that the public health orders neither violated the church’s free exercise rights nor its assembly clause rights.

      Further, Browning ruled, that the public health orders “are unrelated to the suppression of speech or religion, serve a compelling state interest, and significantly less restrictive alternatives are not available.”

      This content was originally published here.

      Candid adds connected device to remote orthodontics – MedCity News

      The ScanBox connected device helps to monitor patients who are using aligners virtually.

      The device looks like a virtual-reality headset. But instead of covering people’s eyes, it peers into their mouths.

      A teledentistry startup — Candid — hopes the device can give it an edge in the crowded field of straightening people’s teeth.

      The company is one of several offering clear teeth aligners and treatment plans to match. This year the company has been field-testing a technology called Dental Monitoring that involves handing patients a connected device, called a ScanBox. The device connects to a patient’s smartphone, captures images and sends them to a remote orthodontist. The uploaded images also are scanned using an AI algorithm that can track a patient’s progress, assess their oral hygiene and detect any potential health issues, such as visible cavities or gingival recession.

      Patients are asked to send images every seven to 10 days, more often than they would go for checkups at a traditional orthodontist, said Dr. Lynn Hurst, chief dental officer for Candid, in a phone interview.

      Hurst, who is based in Austin, Texas, had been using an earlier version of the technology in his own practice since 2016. The introduction of the ScanBox has made it easier to use, he said.

      “It’s extremely robust,” Hurst said.

      Based in New York City, Candid was founded in 2017 and features a network of several dozen orthodontists. Some patients may be assessed in one of Candid’s retail studios in major cities like Atlanta, Chicago, San Diego and Seattle. Others come through online channels.

      An orthodontist reviews each patient’s case, determines whether they are eligible for treatment and, if so, comes up with a treatment plan. The aligners are then mailed to patients, who generally must be at least 16 years old and have mild to moderate alignment issues. Orthodontists monitor their treatment.

      Altogether, the program costs about one-third as much as traditional teeth straightening, said Nick Greenfield, Candid’s president and CEO.

      Dental Monitoring will add a couple hundred dollars to the price. But patients using the ScanBox have been more likely to stick to their treatment plans and complete their plans more quickly, Greenfield said in a phone interview. Compliance typically is around 80% range. Patients on Dental Monitoring were 95% compliant, he said. And their treatment time was 27% shorter on average.

      The company evaluated other devices but its orthodontists liked the Dental Monitoring program best. The ScanBox and the program are the products of a company itself called Dental Monitoring.

      “For us it was a really exciting opportunity,” Greenfield said, adding that Candid’s goal is to make care safe, accessible and affordable.

      The global market for clear aligners is valued at roughly $2.2 billion but is expected to reach $8.2 billion by 2026, according to a report by Fortune Business Insights. Candid has plenty of company in the market. There are Invisalign clear aligners made by Align Technology Inc. and mail-order provider SmileDirectClub Inc. SmileDirectClub went public this year but has faced criticism, as has remote orthodontics in general. The American Association of Orthodontists has issued a consumer alert on direct-to-consumer orthodontic companies.

      However, Candid executives defended their approach saying that it exceeds the standard of care offered in bricks-and-mortar offices.

      “Not only am I doing what they’re doing in their practices, I’m actually going beyond that,” said Hurst, a co-founder of Candid. He sees patients through the Candid platform and noted that it is designed and implemented by orthodontists themselves.

      “I think that’s extremely critical,” Hurst said. “We’re the experts in that space.”

      Hurst was one of five orthodontists in the Candid network who field-tested the Dental Monitoring program. It was offered first to patients who came in through Candid’s studios, where aides could train patients in using the ScanBox. In early 2020 it will be available to patients online.

      The program also could allow Candid to expand into moderate and moderate-to-severe cases of misaligned teeth, a condition known as malocclusion, Hurst said.

      For now, he said, “We’re just choosing to stay in the shallow end of the pool.”

      Hurst said his practice also has been testing remote services for patients under 16, though it means ensuring parents are on board as well.

      So far Hurst has tested starting treatment of children with in-person consults at a Candid studio and with remote consults via audio-video conference. Those have gone well, he said. The next step is to start treatment entirely online, where a patient uploads information and waits for the orthodontist’s response and treatment plan.

      “Ultimately our patients will tell us, and our parents will tell us, does that make them comfortable,” Hurst said.

      Photo: Candid

      CORRECTION: An earlier version of the story wrongly identified the chief dental officer of Candid. His name is Lynn Hurst and not Nick Hurst. The company is based in New York, not Austin.

      This content was originally published here.

      Andrew Pollack: Our Public Health Officials Have Literally Lied to Us in Order To Kill Us

      Anthony Fauci is a liar.

      We know this because he has told us so.

      Fauci told us that masks don’t work. His exact words were “there’s no reason to be walking around with a mask.” Then he told us that everyone should wear masks. He then explained that he was lying when he said we shouldn’t, apparently in order to preserve masks for medical professionals.

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      Fauci told us that to get to herd immunity, maybe 60 percent of Americans would need to be vaccinated. Then he told us that nearly 90 percent would need to take the vaccine. He then explained that he really thought 90 percent the whole time, but was lying to the American people earlier based on what he thought they could handle.

      Despite these lies, Fauci remains a sort of cultic hero figure to millions of American liberals.

      Some people, I guess, don’t mind being lied to as long as it’s being done for their own good.

      The thinking goes: “Fauci might not be necessarily telling us the truth at any given moment, but he’s surely not just lying in order to maintain a dopamine high from steady CNN hits. No, he has a wide view of the situation, and if he misleads the public with lies it’s really in order to manipulate Americans to think or act in ways that will save the most lives.”

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      And maybe that’s true. I’ve never met the man, and can’t tell you what’s really in his heart. But, unfortunately, I can tell you that our public health officials don’t always lie to us in order to save lives. Sometimes, they lie to us in an effort to kill us.

      That might sound a little crazy. But it’s an entirely fair description of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s original recommendations regarding who to prioritize for vaccination.

      Do you think public health officials have repeatedly lied to the American people?
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      The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Protocols recognized that vaccinating the elderly first would save more lives, but recommended that we should vaccinate essential workers first because – and this is really true – the elderly are disproportionately white so allowing more of them to die would decrease racial disparities.

      Liberal journalist Matt Yglesias pointed out that because the elderly are at such dramatically higher risk, the CDC’s original plan would have led to more deaths of black and brown people.

      The CDC knew that, and recommended it anyway, because it would lead to even more dead white people. As one Ivy League professor put it: “Older populations are whiter. … Instead of giving additional health benefits to those who already had more of them, we can start to level the playing field a bit.”

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      To be clear: By “level the playing field” he means killing people — or at least allowing them to be more likely to die — based on their race.

      As Washington Free Beacon editor Aaron Sibarium pointed out in his in-depth analysis of this controversy, the CDC lied along the way to issuing this recommendation.

      Officials in the Department of Health and Human Services and the president of the American Geriatric society both registered strong objections against plans that would not prioritize the elderly, who were at the most risk.

      The CDC took their statements entirely out of context, and slapped them onto a table in such a way as to make it look like they were both actually against vaccinating the elderly first.

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      As Sibarium wrote, “The CDC committee thus took two statements that championed the interests of the elderly and used them to justify a plan that would disproportionately kill senior citizens.”

      The fact that our public health officials have proven themselves willing to lie in order to promote a plan that would kill more of us ought to shock and appall every American. But it won’t.

      Because, you see, they are “experts.” And the co-chair of Biden’s COVID-19 advisory board commended the CDC for its plan, saying that the experts took “political interference out of the process,” and showed a “grounding in inequity.”

      I can understand people who don’t mind being lied to as long as they believe it’s being done to save more lives. But it has become apparent that millions of American liberals don’t mind being lied to even when it’s being done in an effort to kill their friends and family.

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      It’s a mental illness that I can’t really explain to you and that I certainly don’t know how to treat. But anybody who still holds up people like Anthony Fauci and our public health establishment as heroes really ought to have their head examined.

      The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

      We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

      This content was originally published here.

      iTero Element® Scanner Digital Applications for Comprehensive Dentistry. – Oral Health Group

      The unexpected evolution of oral health.

      Throughout a dental career, it is inevitable to experience moments we wish we could take back, re-do or have another chance. Expressed in words of wisdom offered by Bill Gates, “It is fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”1 The dental hygienist is a primary educator and advocate of patient oral health; a periodontal therapist focused on keeping the integrity of soft tissue, bone, and teeth. If given the time, tools and opportunity, we can likely recall a few, (if not several) patients we wish we could retreat, spend more time educating or complete a more thorough evaluation.

      The following case demonstrates how traditional data collection for healthy patients can overlook valuable information over time. Kathy is an existing patient of 10 years. She is happy with her smile, and as a young, accomplished adult she does not have any dental concerns. Historically Kathy has minimal restorative dentistry and previous orthodontic treatment with fixed brackets and wires. Although her original orthodontic treatment was nearly 15 years ago, she still maintains a fixed lower lingual wire. Kathy schedules routine preventive dental hygiene appointments that include radiographs as prescribed, periodontal charting and digital imaging in the form of photography and intraoral camera use. Her dental chart sings praises of healthy tissue color and tone with minimal scanty deposits at every visit.

      In 2016, at Kathy’s bi-annual dental hygiene appointment, the dental hygienist of record notes that Kathy has not had any digital photographs taken in 9-years. Annual full-mouth comprehensive periodontal charting and routine bitewing radiographs throughout the 9-years showed little changes to the overall dental hygiene assessment, treatment plan, implementation, and evaluation.

      “Shocked” is an understatement when the dental hygienist viewed the pictures of Kathy’s teeth from 2007 and 2016 side by side (Figures 1,2). Many questions surfaced “Why?”, “How?” and “When?” did this happen?

      Fig. 1

      Fig. 2

      The photographs provided evidence that Kathy’s oral environment had changed. The dental hygienist expressed her concern that Kathy’s teeth were shifting and gums were receding regardless of her fixed orthodontic retainer and good oral self-care habits. Fifty percent of adults between 18-64 years of age present with recession; studies show causes of gingival recession include: trauma, male gender, malpositioned teeth, inflammation, and tobacco consumption.2 Previous notes indicated that orthodontics was suggested at the initial onset of recession however Kathy did not understand the value of treatment as her smile looked fine and she already had braces in the past. The dental hygienist suggests taking an intraoral digital scan with the iTero Element® scanner to do a bite analysis.

      The dental hygienist explains to Kathy that the color map of the Occlusogram allows for easy identification of the size of tooth contact, location, symmetry, and intensity of her bite. It provides an instant, relatable visual to the patient to be able to see areas at risk, create awareness and determine interest for prevention strategies. Today’s patients seek a customized experience. Leveraging technology helps make the complicated and sometimes overwhelming diagnosis more manageable and easier to understand. An iTero Element® scan can be captured and processed within minutes for use as an immediate chairside education tool. Existing patient scans can also be accessed using myiTero.com on an operatory computer with internet access; both formats allow access to the Viewer tool and Occlusogram.

      Let’s look at Kathy’s Occlusogram (Figure 3). With its intuitive visuals, it was easy to explain how the misplaced pressure on the buccal inclines of the maxillary posterior teeth and buccal surfaces of the mandibular posterior teeth (non-working cusps) could contribute to the collapsing of Kathy’s arch forms, increasing horizontal force vectors and placing additional strain along the gum line due to improper axial stimulation. Vertical forces are less harmful because they provide axial stimulation to the teeth and bone while horizontal forces are extremely damaging via torqueing and off-loading.3 We explain to Kathy, that although her bite is fairly evenly distributed across her back teeth, the pressures are too heavy and not ideally positioned. By looking at the occlusal views, Kathy can also appreciate that the overall arch form has changed since completing her initial orthodontic treatment years ago, setting the stage to show Kathy what can be done to minimize the risk for additional recession.

      Fig. 3

      The iTero Element intraoral scanner offers proprietary software to engage and educate patients about their current dental condition and possible outcomes with clear aligner therapy. To help Kathy comprehend and visualize the goals of treatment, we utilize the Invisalign® Outcome Simulator (Figures 4 and 5). By placing a picture of Kathy’s current dentition next to the simulated outcome, she can see the projected changes to correct the lingual inclinations of her posterior teeth significantly reducing the risk for future gum recession and the overall change in the arch form. The dental hygienist invites the doctor to review and re-enforce her findings.

      Fig. 4

      Fig. 5

      With practice and teamwork, the dental hygienist and dentist collaborate to assess and diagnose the malocclusion. These conversations are most impactful when supportive and co-operative relationships exist between the dental hygienist and dentist. The dentist continues the conversation by explaining how utilizing clear aligner therapy to position the teeth and the bite correctly would make a difference in Kathy’s overall health, stability, and longevity of her teeth and gums. Providing orthodontic treatment on the ground of deleterious effect of malocclusion and mal-positioned teeth on periodontal condition is justified.4 Cultivating a collaborative effort between the dental hygienist and dentist builds patient confidence and increases treatment acceptance.

      Kathy underwent 82-weeks* of clear aligner therapy. By up-righting, the posterior sextants the arch form changed from an omega-shape to a broad, wide arch. The first molar width increased from 27mm to 34mm increasing the overall oral volume. The bite forces were redistributed to support good future teeth, bone and gum health by eliminating deleterious horizontal force vectors. These TimeLapse images (Figures 6 and 7) show how despite re-positioning of the teeth, no additional recession resulted. The dental hygienist will be able to utilize future scans to monitor the existing recession and ensure no “surprises” happen again! Best of all, Kathy feels that her smile is more beautiful and confident than ever (Figures 8 and 9).

      Fig. 6

      Fig. 8

      Fig. 9

      In summary, periodontal disease will become more evident once complete records are part of the dental hygiene process of care. Patients must understand their periodontal status to make good health care decisions. When we can perform to the highest standards of our profession, everyone benefits including the patient, the practice, and dental professionals. The periodontal exam is not optional; it is the foundation of how we treat patients today to protect their oral and overall health for the future. However, what is the most valuable records we can accumulate in order to monitor the progression of periodontal disease? With the iTero Element® scanner, dental hygienists can have confidence with data collection and analysis in the form of the Occlusogram, Invisalign® Outcome Simulator and TimeLapse technology to provide exceptional periodontal therapy and recommendations as the oral environment evolves.

      Dr. Dana Colson practices wellness-based dentistry in midtown Toronto. She graduated from the University of Toronto in 1977. Dr. Colson holds accreditation in several professional organizations, including the ODA, CDA, IAOMT and HAPA. She is a graduate of both the Pankey Institute and a current Mentor at the Kois Center in Seattle. In 2016, she graduated from Rotman Business School, University of Toronto with a global MBA and an eMBA from St. Gallen, Switzerland. Dr. Colson has authored the book, “Your Mouth: The Gateway to a Healthier You” and has lectured extensively in Canada and internationally on Invisalign, lasers, the mouth body connection, cosmetic dentistry and integration of her unique wellness-based approach to dentistry.

      Ljiljana Hinton RRDH, a clinician of 20+ years, received her Honours Restorative Dental Hygiene degree from George Brown College where she is a part-time Clinical Instructor. Ljiljana has continued studies in periodontics, esthetics and occlusion with the Kois Center, Spear Education, the Dawson Academy and the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. She enjoys her role educating internationally as a Lead Clinical Trainer and Faculty Member with Align®. Ljiljana works full-time in a general practice advocating comprehensive dentistry to optimize patient health.

      Footnotes:
      Moore JI. Bill Gates Quotes About Life, Business and Love [Internet]. Everyday Power Blog. Everyday Power Blog; 2019 [cited 2019Feb6].
      Available from: https://everydaypowerblog.com/bill-gates-quotes/
      Kassab MM1, Cohen RE.J Am Dent Assoc. 2003 Feb;134(2):200-5
      McCoy G. “The Etiology of Gingival Erosion”. J Oral Impanto. 1982
      Ngom PI, Diagne F, Benoist HM, Thiam F. “Intraarch and interarch relationships in the anterior teeth and periodontal conditions.” Angle Orthod. 2006 March;76(2)236-42
      * Treatment times may vary depending on case complexity and must be determined by the doctor
      The opinions expressed in this white paper are those of the author(s) and may not reflect those of Align Technology.
      The author was paid an honorarium by Align Technology in connection with this white paper.
      ©2019 Align Technology, Inc. All rights reserved. Invisalign, iTero, iTero Element, the iTero logo, among others, are trademarks and/or service marks of Align Technology, Inc.
      or one of its subsidiaries or affiliated companies and may be registered in the U.S. and/or other countries. www.iTero.com | MKT-0003086 Rev A

      This content was originally published here.

      New York State Democrat Lawmaker Proposes Bill to Detain “Disease Carriers” the Governor Deems “Dangerous to the Public Health”

      The New York State Assembly proposed a bill to detain “disease carriers” the Governor deems “dangerous to the public health.”

      The bill was authored by N. Nick Perry, a Democrat member of the New York State Assembly.

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      Bill A416 relates to “the removal of cases, contacts and carriers of communicable diseases that are potentially dangerous to the public health.”

      The Governor would have sweeping powers to indefinitely detain American citizens and put them in internment camps.

      According to the proposed bill, the Governor will also be able to detain people who have come in contact with the “carrier.”

      The only way an individual would be released from detainment is if the “department” determines the person is no longer contagious.

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      Read the text from the proposed bill:

      Section 1. The public health law is amended by adding a new section 2120-a to read as follows:

      § 2120-A. REMOVAL AND DETENTION OF CASES, CONTACTS AND CARRIERS WHO ARE OR MAY BE A DANGER TO PUBLIC HEALTH; OTHER ORDERS.

      1. THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE UTILIZED IN THE EVENT THAT THE GOVERNOR DECLARES A STATE OF HEALTH EMERGENCY DUE TO AN EPIDEMIC OF ANY COMMUNICABLE DISEASE.

      2. UPON DETERMINING BY CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE THAT THE HEALTH OF OTHERS IS OR MAY BE ENDANGERED BY A CASE, CONTACT OR CARRIER, OR SUSPECTED CASE, CONTACT OR CARRIER OF CONTAGIOUS DISEASE THAT, IN THE OPINION OF THE GOVERNOR, AFTER CONSULTATION WITH THE COMMISSIONER, MAY POSE AN IMMINENT AND SIGNIFICANT THREAT TO THE PUBLIC HEALTH RESULTING IN SEVERE MORBIDITY OR HIGH MORTALITY, THE GOVERNOR OR HIS OR HER DELEGEE, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE COMMISSIONER OR THE HEADS OF LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENTS, MAY ORDER THE REMOVAL AND/OR
      DETENTION OF SUCH A PERSON OR OF A GROUP OF SUCH PERSONS BY ISSUING A SINGLE ORDER, IDENTIFYING SUCH PERSONS EITHER BY NAME OR BY A REASONABLY SPECIFIC DESCRIPTION OF THE INDIVIDUALS OR GROUP BEING DETAINED. SUCH PERSON OR GROUP OF PERSONS SHALL BE DETAINED IN A MEDICAL FACILITY OR OTHER APPROPRIATE FACILITY OR PREMISES DESIGNATED BY THE GOVERNOR OR HIS OR HER DELEGEE AND COMPLYING WITH SUBDIVISION FIVE OF THIS SECTION.

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      3. A PERSON OR GROUP REMOVED OR DETAINED BY ORDER OF THE GOVERNOR OR HIS OR HER DELEGEE PURSUANT TO SUBDIVISION TWO OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE DETAINED FOR SUCH PERIOD AND IN SUCH MANNER AS THE DEPARTMENT MAY DIRECT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THIS SECTION.

      Click here to read to entire bill proposed by Democrats in New York.

      This content was originally published here.

      Vaccine rollout hits snag as health workers balk at shots

      The desperately awaited vaccination drive against the coronavirus in the U.S. is running into resistance from an unlikely quarter: Surprising numbers of health care workers who have seen firsthand the death and misery inflicted by COVID-19 are refusing shots.

      It is happening in nursing homes and, to a lesser degree, in hospitals, with employees expressing what experts say are unfounded fears of side effects from vaccines that were developed at record speed. More than three weeks into the campaign, some places are seeing as much as 80% of the staff holding back.

      “I don’t think anyone wants to be a guinea pig,” said Dr. Stephen Noble, a 42-year-old cardiothoracic surgeon in Portland, Oregon, who is postponing getting vaccinated. “At the end of the day, as a man of science, I just want to see what the data show. And give me the full data.”

      “It’s far too low. It’s alarmingly low,” said Neil Pruitt, CEO of PruittHealth, which runs about 100 long-term care homes in the South, where fewer than 3 in 10 workers offered the vaccine so far have accepted it.

      Many medical facilities from Florida to Washington state have boasted of near-universal acceptance of the shots, and workers have proudly plastered pictures of themselves on social media receiving the vaccine. Elsewhere, though, the drive has stumbled.

      While the federal government has released no data on how many people offered the vaccines have taken them, glimpses of resistance have emerged around the country.

      In Illinois, a big divide has opened at state-run veterans homes between residents and staff. The discrepancy was worst at the veterans home in Manteno, where 90% of residents were vaccinated but only 18% of the staff members.

      In rural Ashland, Alabama, about 90 of some 200 workers at Clay County Hospital have yet to agree to get vaccinated, even with the place so overrun with COVID-19 patients that oxygen is running low and beds have been added to the intensive care unit, divided by plastic sheeting.

      The pushback comes amid the most lethal phase in the outbreak yet, with the death toll at more than 350,000, and it could hinder the government’s effort to vaccinate somewhere between 70% and 85% of the U.S. population to achieve “herd immunity.”

      Administrators and public health officials have expressed hope that more health workers will opt to be vaccinated as they see their colleagues take the shots without problems.

      Oregon doctor Noble said he will wait until April or May to get the shots. He said it is vital for public health authorities not to overstate what they know about the vaccines. That is particularly important, he said, for Black people like him who are distrustful of government medical guidance because of past failures and abuses, such as the infamous Tuskegee experiment.

      Medical journals have published extensive data on the vaccines, and the Food and Drug Administration has made its analysis public. But misinformation about the shots has spread wildly online, including falsehoods that they cause fertility problems.

      Stormy Tatom, 30, a hospital ICU nurse in Beaumont, Texas, said she decided against getting vaccinated for now “because of the unknown long-term side effects.”

      “I would say at least half of my coworkers feel the same way,” Tatom said.

      There have been no signs of widespread severe side effects from the vaccines, and scientists say the drugs have been rigorously tested on tens of thousands and vetted by independent experts.

      States have begun turning up the pressure. South Carolina’s governor gave health care workers until Jan. 15 to get a shot or “move to the back of the line.” Georgia’s top health official has allowed some vaccines to be diverted to other front-line workers, including firefighters and police, out of frustration with the slow uptake.

      “There’s vaccine available but it’s literally sitting in freezers,” said Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey. “That’s unacceptable. We have lives to save.”

      Nursing homes were among the institutions given priority for the shots because the virus has cut a terrible swath through them. Long-term care residents and staff account for about 38% of the nation’s COVID-19 fatalities.

      In West Virginia, only about 55% of nursing home workers agreed to the shots when they were first offered last month, according to Martin Wright, who leads the West Virginia Health Care Association.

      “It’s a race against social media,” Wright said of battling falsehoods about the vaccines.

      Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said only 40% of the state’s nursing home workers have gotten shots. North Carolina’s top public health official estimated more than half were refusing the vaccine there.

      SavaSeniorCare has offered cash to the 169 long-term care homes in its 20-state network to pay for gift cards, socially distanced parties or other incentives. But so far, data from about a third of its homes shows that 55% of workers have refused the vaccine.

      CVS and Walgreens, which have been contracted by a majority of U.S. nursing homes to administer COVID-19 vaccinations, have not released specifics on the acceptance rate. CVS said that residents have agreed to be immunized at an “encouragingly high” rate but that “initial uptake among staff is low,” partly because of efforts to stagger when employees receive their shots.

      Some facilities have vaccinated workers in stages so that the staff is not sidelined all at once if they suffer minor side effects, which can include fever and aches.

      The hesitation isn’t surprising, given the mixed message from political leaders and misinformation online, said Dr. Wilbur Chen, a professor at the University of Maryland who specializes in the science of vaccines.

      He noted that health care workers represent a broad range of jobs and backgrounds and said they are not necessarily more informed than the general public.

      “They don’t know what to believe either,” Chen said. But he said he expects the hesitancy to subside as more people are vaccinated and public health officials get their message across.

      Some places have already seen turnarounds, such as Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

      “The biggest thing that helped us to gain confidence in our staff was watching other staff members get vaccinated, be OK, walk out of the room, you know, not grow a third ear, and so that really is like an avalanche,” said Dr. Catherine O’Neal, chief medical officer. “The first few hundred that we had created another 300 that wanted the vaccine.”

      Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Jake Bleiberg in Dallas; Heather Hollingsworth in Mission, Kansas; Janet McConnaughey in New Orleans; Candice Choi in New York; Kelli Kennedy in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Jay Reeves in Birmingham, Alabama; Brian Witte in Annapolis, Maryland; Jeffrey Collins in Columbia, South Carolina; John Seewer in Toledo, Ohio; Melinda Deslatte in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Bryan Anderson in Raleigh, North Carolina.

      This content was originally published here.

      Braces on the Road: How to Travel With Invisalign

      There are a lot of things to consider when hitting the road full time. You have to think about how you will make money, how you will get mail, and what kinds of memberships you’ll invest in to save some money. Adding kids into the mix only adds to the long list of things to consider, and dealing with braces on the road is one of the things that perplexes parents the most.

      One of the best ways to go about straightening your teeth while traveling full time? Invisalign is a fantastic option that more and more travelers are choosing. Are you going to travel full time and worried about your invisible braces?

      Read on to know how to clean Invisalign and how to take care of Invisalign while on the go!

      The foremost important thing is your packing checklist. Here’s an essential checklist for the travel kit on tour with Invisalign.

      1. Travel toothbrush
      2. Floss or floss picks
      3. Pocket-size mouthwash
      4. Retainer remover
      5. Pain reliever (as first aid)
      6. Aligner case
      7. Extra aligners

      Keep Up Your Good Habits!

      You need to wear aligners for at least 22 hours a day. Thus it might seem tedious to remove your aligners while eating out and putting them back again after cleaning. But, it’s important to avoid slips that can hinder your progress.

      Thus it is advised to take out a few minutes for your Invisalign each time you eat or drink anything and enjoy your travels without any worry.

      Now let us check out some useful tips on how to take care of Invisalign during traveling.

      • Everyone on the Invisalign treatment knows that you need to change the set of aligners in a week or fortnight according to the dentist’s instruction. Sometimes you switch to a new set, or you might need to go back to your previous set of aligners. Take them all with you during traveling so that you can change according to your requirement. Consult your orthodontics before leaving for the trip.
      • In case you are taking a flight to your destination, keep your Invisalign with you in your handbag or cabin bag. As you need to wear them for the maximum time of the day, you must keep them within your reach all the time.
      • Heat is not suitable for Invisalign as it can deform its shape. If you are traveling to a tropical or hot region, keep your aligners in a cool place. Keep them in the refrigerator if required. But don’t make the mistake of taking them in your handbag under the sun.
      • The list of avoidable food items, while you are on your retainers, is mentioned as below:
      • Hard bread
      • Popcorn
      • Nuts
      • Pretzels
      • Chewy food
      • Tough Meat
      • Hard Cady
      • Gum
      • Do not forget to remove retainers before eating or drinking anything. You can only have water with your aligners on. And brush your teeth and retainer before putting them on again. If you can’t brush, at least rinse them well.

      Final Word!

      So you see! Braces on the road aren’t even necessary. Instead,  travel with Invisalign. Once you know how to take care of Invisalign it’s a cinch. That said, it is advisable to consult your orthodontics before hitting the road full time.

      Author Bio

      Emily Taylor found the perfect fit for herself as the Online Marketing Manager at Thurman Orthodontics in Fresno CA as she believes that a great smile does more than just make a person look great – it makes them feel great as well. The power of a smile has always been a mystery to Emily, and she loves researching and writing about it. She loves to write about everything to do with a healthy bite and a beautiful smile – weather is it ways to achieve it or the importance of it in the various aspects of life. What brings a big smile on Emily’s face is her family and surfing. She also likes to bake, and her children and co-workers call her the cookie fairy!

      The post Braces on the Road: How to Travel With Invisalign appeared first on Fulltime Families.

      This content was originally published here.

      Nina Kraviz’s New Video Game Character Reminds the Producer of Her Former Career in Dentistry: ‘It’s Mental’

      Nina Kraviz is well-acquainted with the nightlife, but the world of afterhour sets are a far cry from the more violent midnight realm that the techno producer occupies in the new videogame, Cyberpunk, 2077. Out today (December 10) via developers CD Projekt, the game is set in the fictional metropolis of Night City, Calif., where chaos abounds.

      It is amidst this virtual landscape that Kraviz appears in the game as a “ripper doc,” an underground type of plastic surgeon who fits people with less-than-legal cybernetics like robotic arms and robotics-enhanced eyes. One of the game’s primary ripper docs, Kraviz has major interaction with other players, fitting them with the same clinical precision that real life Nina used to clean teeth when she worked in dentistry, before her DJ career skyrocketed.

      “She has this metal thing on her hand,” Kraviz says of her character, “and it looks like the dental drill that I know so well.”

      Recording her lines in English and her native Russian, the producer also made five original tracks for Cyberpunk 2077, contributing to a soundtrack also featuring Run the Jewels, A$AP Rocky, Grimes and more. Her contributions include, she says, “Italo-disco, another murky, trippy techno track, one proper dance banger and… abstract soundscapes.” Watch IRL Kraviz play a live set featuring her music from the game below.

      With the game launch, Kraviz joins the list of DJs moonlighting as video stars, with Moodyman, Keinemusik and Palms Trax appearing as resident DJs in the new in game nightclub of Grand Theft Auto V and Diplo showing up as a player in FIFA 21’s Volta Football series.

      Here, Kraviz talks about Cyberpunk, music and why she’s been careful to not get too obsessed with gaming.

      What compelled you to get involved with this project? 

      When Cyberpunk approached about collaborating on the in game music, I immediately said “yes.” The idea to compose music for such a special computer game was a dream come true. I felt like the aesthetic and vision of Cyberpunk fit in line with what I’m doing, sound-wise. Later on, we discussed how I could get a bit more involved with the game, and the idea of the in-game character was born.

      Are you a gamer yourself?

      I feel like I’m a potentially obsessive gamer, so I’m being careful with that. I have to adhere to reasonable disciplinary standards in order to finish my new album.

      How collaborative has the process of inserting yourself into the game been?

      The look of my character was a total surprise to me! A pleasant one! This was one of the rare occasions where I let loose of control. I have been taking maximum pleasure in my part though: from making the music and dubbing my character in the studio to witnessing the creation of it.

      How similar is Cyberpunk Nina to real life Nina?

      Did you see that chair in the ripper doc clinic where she works? It’s so reminiscent of a dentist chair in the hospital where I worked. It’s mental. She also has this metal thing on her hand, and it looks like the dental drill that I know so well. It’s thrilling that my former profession was somehow implemented in my character.

      There is also this one little detail that I noticed: when you talk to Cyberpunk Nina, she kind of shifts from one foot to another and looks away every now and then. Perhaps it’s because behind this storm-beaten woman dressed in kitschy clothes hides a shy, child-like person. I found it really sweet.

      What mood were you attempting to create with your songs on the soundtrack? Was producing for a game in any way different than making music otherwise?

      In some tracks, the vibe is very dark and scary, in some very dreamy, but more on the hopeful side. The only difference in terms of production was that on some of the tracks I had the game in mind. I imagined Night City and how it would feel walking or driving there.

      Anything else you want to say?

      I haven’t been this excited in a very long time. I can’t wait to play the game myself and drive around Night City listening to my own radio station in the car. I heard the city is quite big, and by the time I get to one of the six ripper doc clinics in the game I would probably get the chance to test all my songs on the radio. Mental!

      This content was originally published here.

      With COVID-19 at record levels, reopening schools is unwise, say health experts | The Star

      Epidemiologists are warning that reopening elementary schools on Monday as planned, at a time when COVID-19 transmissions are at record-high levels in Ontario, would be unwise.

      “One of the real challenges that this virus presents is that you have transmission that can occur before people are symptomatic, and the additional challenge is that many kids show very few symptoms if any,” said epidemiologist Amy Greer, a Canada research chair in population disease modelling at the University of Guelph.

      In a long Twitter thread posted on Sunday, she characterized the decision to let children back into school as “reckless and dangerous.”

      Education Minister Stephen Lecce reassured parents on the weekend that elementary school classrooms will reopen on Jan. 11 and high school students will return to classrooms Jan. 25, two days after the current provincial lockdown is scheduled to end.

      In the face of soaring COVID-19 cases, Quebec is considering keeping schools closed for at least another week. Schools in the U.K. are closed until Jan.18, and possibly longer in areas hardest hit by the pandemic.

      It made sense to let students back into classrooms in September when community transmission rates were low, said Greer. But with the positivity rate approaching 10 per cent, the number of daily cases in Toronto often approaching 1,000 and Ontario surpassing 3,000 new cases a day, the level of community transmission is so high it will mean more children infected with the virus showing up for class and infecting their classmates, who will bring the virus home to their families.

      Screening tools don’t work on children who are asymptomatic, Greer pointed out. If they don’t have a fever; if they’re not coughing or sneezing or fatigued, checklists and thermometers won’t catch the illness and won’t prevent infected students from taking a seat beside a classmate.

      If other measures are in place to prevent transmission, the impact of the asymptomatic cases can be attenuated — for example if classes are smaller and children are seated far apart, if ventilation has been optimized — students without symptoms are less likely to pass along the virus. But Greer said classrooms have not been sufficiently modified to prevent that kind of transmission.

      “I feel frustrated that we don’t appear to have a plan for how we’re going to compensate to keep schools open in the context of high community transmission,” said Greer, in an interview with the Star.

      Dr. Andrew Morris, a professor of medicine at the University of Toronto and the medical director of the Sinai Health System-University Health Network Antimicrobial Stewardship Program, said the role schools play in transmission of COVID-19 remains unclear — although they are a contributing factor.

      He said the COVID-19 numbers are so bad now it’s hard to imagine keeping anything open beyond what is absolutely essential.

      “I think that opening schools up now as we have an up going trajectory and when we really have a fair amount of uncertainty about the role of schools in transmission, is not wise,” Morris said.

      Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s medical officer of health, has said in the past that schools are critically important and provide an important conduit for social services and even food, through school nutrition programs, for children who need support.

      She echoed those concerns at the first COVID-19 update from city hall on Monday, adding on Tuesday that the subject is under active consideration and discussion.

      “What we are trying to do is balance control of COVID-19 along with ensuring that we’re meeting the health needs of children and their families, and we know that there is a specific benefit, a clear benefit to having children attend school in person … but it is a very delicate balancing act, and one that may seem like a relatively straightforward decision, but actually has much more complexity underneath it,” she told CBC’s “Metro Morning.”

      The decision to open or close schools is a provincial one. Students are currently receiving virtual instruction.

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      The Ministry of Education did not respond to questions from the Star in time for this story’s deadline.

      Lecce told parents in a letter sent out over the weekend that “schools are not a source of rising community transmission.”

      Francine Kopun is a Toronto-based reporter covering city hall and municipal politics for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @KopunF

      Do you think it’s too soon to send kids back to school in Ontario?

      Anyone can read Conversations, but to contribute, you should be registered Torstar account holder. If you do not yet have a Torstar account, you can create one now (it is free)

      Conversations are opinions of our readers and are subject to the Code of Conduct. The Star does not endorse these opinions.

      This content was originally published here.

      Large numbers of health care and frontline workers are refusing to get the coronavirus vaccine

      Despite having been prioritized as the first recipients of the coronavirus vaccine, a large number of health care and frontline workers are passing on the vaccine. Early reports from across the country show that health care and frontline workers are refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

      In Ohio, 60% of nursing home employees decided not to take the coronavirus vaccine. Last week, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) reacted to the low participation numbers by
      saying, “We aren’t going to make them but we wish they had a higher compliance.” He added that he was “troubled” by how many nursing home workers rejected the vaccine.

      DeWine warned frontline workers that they soon would no longer be in front of the line, “Our message today is: The train may not be coming back for awhile. We’re going to make it available to everyone eventually, but this is the opportunity for you, and you should really think about getting it.”

      Dr. Joseph Varon, chief of staff at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, is frustrated that over half of the nurses in his unit will refuse to get the vaccine.

      “Yesterday I had a — not a fight, but I had a friendly argument with more than 50% of my nurses in my unit telling me that they would not get the vaccine,” he told
      NPR’s “Morning Edition.”

      “Some of those nurses have had family members admitted to the hospital, gravely ill with COVID-19,” NPR reported. “But he said some nurses and hospital staff members — many of whom are Latinx or Black — are skeptical it will work and are worried about unfounded side effects.”

      In California, an estimated 50% of frontline workers in Riverside County turned down the COVID-19 vaccine, Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari told
      the Los Angeles Times.

      “At St. Elizabeth Community Hospital in Tehama County, fewer than half of the 700 hospital workers eligible for the vaccine were willing to take the shot when it was first offered. At Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, one in five frontline nurses and doctors have declined the shot,” the LA Times reported. “Roughly 20% to 40% of L.A. County’s frontline workers who were offered the vaccine did the same, according to county public health officials.”

      Dr. Nikhila Juvvadi, the chief clinical officer at Chicago’s Loretto Hospital, surveyed the hospital staff right before the coronavirus vaccine came out, and 40% of the employees said they would not get vaccinated, according to
      NPR.

      In an early December survey of New York Fire Department members, approximately 55% of uniformed firefighters said they would opt to not get the shot, according to
      WNBC-TV.

      A survey by the
      Kaiser Family Foundation published on Dec. 15 found that 29% of those who work in a health care delivery setting probably would not or definitely would not get the shot. The poll also found that 33% of essential workers would pass. Overall, 27% of Americans are “vaccine-hesitant.”

      There is a stark divide among Americans who are willing to get vaccinated depending on their political affiliation. According to the survey, 86% of Democrats say that they will definitely or probably get the coronavirus vaccine, compared to 56% of Republicans who said the same.

      According to the
      KFF, the top concerns about being reluctant to get the coronavirus vaccine are:

      Sheena Bumpas, a certified nursing assistant at a home in Oklahoma, told
      the New York Times that she was reluctant to get the COVID-19 vaccine because “I don’t want to be a guinea pig.”

      April Lu, a 31-year-old nurse at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in California, refused to take the vaccine because she is concerned that it is might not be safe for pregnant women, and she is six months pregnant.

      “I’m choosing the risk — the risk of having COVID, or the risk of the unknown of the vaccine,” Lu told
      the Los Angeles Times. “I think I’m choosing the risk of COVID. I can control that and prevent it a little by wearing masks, although not 100% for sure.”

      Last week, Dr. Anthony Fauci noted that coronavirus vaccines could become mandatory in order to attend school or travel internationally.

      This content was originally published here.

      ClearCorrect vs Invisalign: Benefits, Before and After, Safety, and Cost

      Contents

      If you’ve been thinking of getting your teeth straightened, you probably know how difficult it is to find a treatment option that’s tailor-made to your unique goals. Traditional braces have been proven effective, but there’s a host of downsides, too — they’re bulky, uncomfortable, and not the most attractive option.

      Enter invisible braces. Chances are you’ve already heard about Invisalign, but there’s another company that’s out to revolutionize the way we smile. ClearCorrect invisible braces are a new kind of orthodontic treatment that promises straight teeth with the least amount of fuss.

      Bonus points: these industry-disrupting braces are made in the United States by a socially conscious company that uses recycled and eco-friendly packaging. These details, coupled with the fact that they’re more affordable than the competition, make ClearCorrect a popular choice among millennials.

      What is ClearCorrect?

      ClearCorrect aligners are a unique alternative to traditional metal braces. The primary benefit is that they’re totally invisible — in theory, they’ll give you a straight smile without anyone even noticing. They’re also removable, which means you can take them out before eating or during special occasions.

      Like most clear aligners, ClearCorrect braces provide gradual adjustments to the teeth. Your orthodontist will first take photos and x-rays of your smile and then submit your prescription to ClearCorrect. Next, the company will create a set of custom aligners just for you. Occasionally, your orthodontist will request new sets that change along with your teeth.

      Most people are required to wear their clear braces for up to 22 hours a day until an orthodontist deems the treatment plan complete. Treatment time varies from person to person, but most people see full results within one to two years.

      Orthodontists recommend this treatment for both adults and teenagers to correct crowded teeth, spacing, underbites, overbites and crookedness.

      Does ClearCorrect work?

      ClearCorrect has been proven effective in a wide range of orthodontic studies.

      One study showed that it was a valuable tool in correcting anterior crossbite, a condition where the top teeth rest behind the bottom teeth when the mouth is closed. Another showed that it was a great option for treating the correction of crowding, an issue that makes it hard to floss between teeth and compromises a perfectly straight smile.

      Not only that, but ClearCorrect can be used in instances where traditional orthodontics failed. For example, some orthodontists use ClearCorrect as a solution to issues caused by traditional orthodontic bonding. In other words, clear braces are as good as — and in some cases even better — than traditional methods that are commonly used to straighten teeth. There’s even evidence to suggest that they’re just as effective at treating severe crowding as standard methods.

      What’s better, ClearCorrect or Invisalign?

      ClearCorrect and Invisalign are often compared, primarily because they both provide clear, custom-fit aligners that are more appealing to those who don’t want to fuss with traditional braces.

      Both are excellent options with successful track records for mild to extreme cases of various dental issues. In either case you will be required to wear your custom-fit aligners for the majority of the day, except when you’re eating, drinking, flossing or brushing your teeth.

      Still, there are some differences. The most significant reason why many orthodontists and patients are beginning to favor ClearCorrect over Invisalign is the cost: since ClearCorrect only charges the dentist a third or less of the cost of Invisalign, many dentists feel that it’s a more profitable option.

      What’s more, many people report that ClearCorrect aligners are more comfortable than Invisalign. This is because ClearCorrect fabricates several trays at a time to ensure that they fit perfectly. Some patients also prefer ClearCorrect because their aligners are made in America.

      >>To learn more frequently asked questions about Invisalign, check out our article on how Invisalign works

      Does ClearCorrect hurt?

      Doctors often recommend the use of ClearCorrect and other invisible braces as a more effective treatment option for patients who have “appliance-phobia.” This means that people who have fears associated with fixed appliances on the teeth (i.e. traditional braces) tend to do better with removable aligners that aren’t permanent.

      Metal braces can be uncomfortable and even painful, which is why many people are hesitant to go the traditional route. On the other hand, ClearCorrect is virtually pain-free. A multi-stage polishing process ensures that no sharp or rough edges are found on the aligners, making ClearCorrect a relatively comfortable experience, even when worn for long periods of time. And while most patients do experience some mild discomfort in the first couple of days of wearing ClearCorrect aligners, this typically fades away relatively quickly.

      When you’re wearing ClearCorrect aligners that are properly fitted to your teeth and gums (achieved through a 3D model that perfectly matches your teeth), you shouldn’t feel a thing. With that said, some patients do complain of sore gums. You should see your orthodontist if this persists for more than two days — he or she will be able to tell if your aligners are not the ideal size and shape for your mouth.

      Are ClearCorrect aligners safe?

      Most people aren’t too keen on the idea of having a foreign object inside their mouth for most of the day. That’s totally understandable.

      The good news is that ClearCorrect aligners are designed to be safe for long-term use. They contain no BPA or phthalates, and have been approved for use by the FDA. Because of this, ClearCorrect is generally considered safe for use by pregnant or nursing patients. Nevertheless, you should speak with your primary care physician and orthodontist if you become pregnant while using ClearCorrect.

      How much does ClearCorrect cost?

      As mentioned above, the cost of ClearCorrect makes it one of the most desirable orthodontic treatment options on the market for those who dream of straight teeth.

      ClearCorrect treatment costs less than Invisalign and other clear aligner treatments because the company itself charges ClearCorrect providers significantly less.

      There are several different treatment plans which differ in terms of cost. Your customized treatment will help you determine the right option for your budget and dental needs. The company offers Flex (limited) and Unlimited pricing options. Those who require the full treatment option can expect to pay anywhere between $4,000 and $5,000 for the best results. The Flex option is a good choice for those who don’t have severe crowding or crookedness, and costs between $2,500 and $3,500 total.

      Will my insurance cover it?

      Another great thing about ClearCorrect is that many dental insurance companies cover the procedure right alongside traditional braces and other orthodontic treatments.

      Make sure to check with your insurance provide to see whether or not this type of treatment — which typically falls under the category of clear aligners — is covered. Those who do qualify for some relief under insurance may be able to save up to $3,000 on ClearCorrect braces.

      Is ClearCorrect better than traditional braces?

      As modern dentistry advances, it’s becoming more and more apparent that clear braces have the capacity to do all of the same things that metal braces can and more. In fact, one of the biggest myths associated with clear braces is that they move teeth more slowly than their metal counterparts. This just isn’t true. A good straightening treatment will work as quickly (or as slowly, depending on your perspective) whether the aligners are made of metal, ceramic or plastic.

      Metal braces aren’t the most economical option — a full treatment rings up for as much as $6,000 — but they are almost always at least partially covered by insurance. However, metal braces are by and large considered the most durable solution out there.

      The fact that metal braces last longer than other types makes them appealing for people who have to wear braces for long periods of time. Make sure to talk to your orthodontist or ClearCorrect provider about all of your different treatment options before committing to one.

      This content was originally published here.

      California business owner blocks in health inspector’s car after he threatens lockdown citations: ‘If we can’t work, he can’t work’

      A California restaurant owner has gone viral for his actions after blocking in a health inspector’s vehicle after the inspector threatened citations for being open amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

      What are the details?

      In video obtained by the Daily Caller, Carlos Roman — owner of Bread and Barley in Covina, California — can be seen arguing with a police officer who is called to his restaurant after he moved his vehicle to block in a health inspector’s car.

      The unnamed health inspector reportedly arrived at the restaurant, took photos of patrons dining outside the restaurant, and allegedly told Roman that he would be issuing a citation related to COVID-19 restriction orders.

      According to KCBS-TV, the incident took place last Sunday outside the Covina restaurant when a health inspector came to enforce coronavirus guidelines at the restaurant.

      “A citation from the health department said the inspector found two customers dining outside, which goes against current protocols,” KCBS reported. “Roman says they were on a public bench, and not his property.”

      “We weren’t going out. We weren’t serving them,” Roman told the station.

      Roman, who adamantly refused to move his vehicle after the confrontation with the inspector, said that if he and his employees could not work, the health inspectors would not be able to work, either.

      “This isn’t about me,” he said of the closures. “They can’t pay their bills. The cook just had a baby. He’s with his family right now.”

      The officer on the scene told Roman that a tow truck was on its way and would remove his truck from the premises if he refused to let the health inspector leave.

      According to the Daily Caller, “The officer told Roman ‘it wasn’t [the health inspector’s] fault’ and that he was following orders from his supervisor.”

      The officer also told Roman that his blocking the inspector’s vehicle “is not the way to settle things.” Roman ultimately moved his vehicle, but not before advising the officer and the inspector that he is desperate to feed his children.

      “We’re all in this together, we’ll just all starve to death and die,” he said.

      What else do we know about Roman’s situation?

      KCBS reported that Roman invested thousands of dollars in his restaurant by opening an outdoor patio when outdoor dining was still permitted in Los Angeles County and even began digging into his own personal savings account to pay staff and serve customers.

      “I think we have entered into the realm of a lose-lose situation,” he admitted.

      A GoFundMe page to benefit Roman’s restaurant and employees has received more than $32,000 in donations at the time of this reporting.

      In a statement, the Covina Police Department said, “The peace was kept and Mr. Roman’s vehicle was moved from the roadway, allowing the health inspector to leave. We have no information on citations or fines issued by L.A. County Health Inspectors as they are a different entity.”

      The L.A. County Public Health Department has not responded to the Daily Caller’s request for comment at the time of this reporting, but KCBS reports that Roman is facing two $500 fines for failure to comply and interfering with the health officer.


      Restaurant Owner Blockades Health Inspectors Car After Receiving Citation For Outdoor Dining

      www.youtube.com

      This content was originally published here.

      COVID-19 ‘super-spreader’ event feared in L.A. as Christian singer defies health order

      A conservative evangelical Christian singer with a history of defying COVID-19 health mandates plans three days of New Year’s gatherings in the Los Angeles area, including stops on skid row and at a tent city in Echo Park, raising fears that the events will be viral “super-spreaders.”

      Skid row activists plan a car blockade to stop Sean Feucht — a Redding, Calif., volunteer pastor and failed Republican congressional candidate — and his followers from staging what is billed as a “massive outreach” Wednesday evening on skid row, at the height of Los Angeles County’s pandemic crisis. Feucht’s plans come as California, facing record case counts and a severe shortage of intensive care hospital beds, has extended its stay-at-home order.

      Feucht began hosting “Let Us Worship” open-air concerts nationwide to push back against government restrictions on religious gatherings, then broadened his focus to cities that erupted in protest after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

      The Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry caused a super-spreader event in Redding.

      Feucht’s events have featured hundreds of maskless worshipers tightly packed together and singing and dancing. He has another homeless outreach planned Thursday at Echo Park Lake, site of nearly 100 homeless tents, followed by a New Year’s Eve party and concert at a church parking lot in Valencia.

      In a YouTube video —part of an extensive social media campaign to promote the L.A. dates — Feucht said a couple of thousand glow sticks had been ordered for a bash he predicted could rival his worship service this year on the National Mall, which drew hundreds of people.

      Charles Karuku, a Feucht associate who travels with the singer, said they tell followers to heed government health guidelines, “but we are not law enforcement. It’s up to the people how they choose to come.”

      But Stephen “Cue” Jn-Marie, pastor of Church Without Walls, a skid row congregation, said, “We know based on his track record whatever he’s going to do is going to be maskless.” Jn-Marie is organizing the car blockade with Los Angeles Community Action Network, a skid row anti-poverty activist group.

      “The problem we’re facing is even prior to the stay-at-home order, people come into the community and say they’re bringing resources but what they’re bringing is the disease,” said Jn-Marie, adding that the outreach event could undo the self-help measures the skid row community took, including distributing masks and street wash stations and sponsoring testing events. “It doesn’t take thousands to start an outbreak.”

      The homeless population in Los Angeles has generally avoided serious COVID outbreaks throughout most of the pandemic, although it has seen a significant uptick in recent weeks, in keeping with the wider surge in infections nationwide.

      One reason L.A.’s homeless people have avoided a COVID disaster could be that they live outside

      The California Poor People’s Campaign wrote a letter calling for city and county officials to quash Feucht’s events. The campaign offered a legal justification for enforcement of county health orders, but Los Angeles has not generally used police powers on individuals to back up pandemic restrictions, and homeless outreach events do not require permits.

      “Police know how to show up and issue orders to disperse an illegal gathering,” said Nell Myhand, co-chair of the California Poor People’s Campaign.

      Asked for a response to the enforcement question, mayoral spokesman Alex Comisar said Mayor Eric Garcetti implored everyone to wear masks and practice social distancing.

      L.A. Councilman Kevin de León, who represents skid row, said his office and the mayor’s staff will be on skid row Wednesday morning distributing personal protective equipment and sanitation kits to homeless people, but did not comment on possible enforcement of county COVID-19 health orders.

      Our expectation is that those attending the scheduled outreach event take steps to care for our community and protect vulnerable Angelenos on skid row by wearing masks and honoring social distancing guidelines,” de Leon said in a statement.

      Feucht has upcoming events scheduled in Orange County and San Diego, according to his website. Tom Grode, a skid row resident and activist who began petitioning the city a month ago to stop the skid row event , called Feucht’s plan to come to Los Angeles “incredibly foolish … divisive and dangerous.”

      “The problem is any of these events could get weird in different ways,” Grode said.

      Cathy Callahan, who has been following Feucht’s career online with dismay, spent two hours Tuesday calling the Los Angeles Police Department, the mayor’s office, county health officials and the state attorney general, asking if they were going to shut the New Year’s events down. She said she was bounced from office to office without receiving an answer.

      ”If not, why is California issuing lockdowns or stay-at-home orders?” Callahan asked.

      This content was originally published here.

      CDC issues new guidance about vaccinations for people with underlying health conditions

      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Saturday issued a new guidance stating that people with underlying health conditions can receive a coronavirus vaccine. 

      The guidance explains that “adults of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19.”  

      Thus, the CDC added that those vaccines that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “may be administered to people with underlying medical conditions provided they have not had a severe allergic reaction to any of the ingredients in the vaccine.” 

      The CDC explained that people with weakened immune systems due to other illnesses or medication may also receive a COVID-19 vaccine, but they should be aware that limited safety data is available on the effects of the vaccines on these individuals. 

      Additionally, while people living with HIV were included in clinical trials, safety data for this group is also not yet available. 

      The CDC also stated in its Saturday guidance that individuals with autoimmune conditions may take the vaccine, although there is no data currently available for the safety of the vaccine in this demographic.  

      Those who have experienced Guillain-Barre syndrome — a condition in which the body begins to attack parts of its own nervous system — may also receive the vaccine doses. The guidance adds that following vaccination during clinical trials, there have been no instances of the syndrome. 

      People who have previously experienced Bell’s palsy — a condition that causes muscle weakness in one side of the face — may also receive a vaccine. Some participants during clinical trials did develop Bell’s palsy following vaccination, but it did not occur at a rate above that expected in the general population. 

      Despite the start of distributions of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, the CDC recommends that people who get vaccinated should continue to follow current coronavirus health and safety protocols, such as wearing a mask, social distancing and avoiding crowds. 

      According to the CDC, nearly 2 million people have received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine as of Saturday. Both the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech and the one from Moderna require two doses to be administered several weeks apart. 

      Final trial data on both vaccines showed them to have a roughly 95 percent efficacy rate at preventing COVID-19, although Moderna’s vaccine has an 86 percent efficacy rate for those over the age of 65.

      Health care workers have been prioritized in the initial distribution of the vaccine, and the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted last week to advise the CDC to include those 75 and older and specific front-line essential workers, including emergency responders and teachers, in the next phase of coronavirus vaccinations.

      This content was originally published here.

      California health system buckling under COVID-19 pandemic

      LOS ANGELES (AP) — California’s health care system is buckling under the strain of the nation’s largest coronavirus outbreak and may fracture in weeks if people ignore holiday social distancing, health officials warned as the number of people needing beds and specialized care soared to previously unimagined levels.

      Top executives from the state’s largest hospital systems —Kaiser Permanente, Dignity Health and Sutter Health, which together cover 15 million Californians — said Tuesday that increasingly exhausted staff, many pressed into service outside their normal duties, are now attending to COVID-19 patients stacked up in hallways and conference rooms.

      The CEO of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital in Los Angeles, Dr. Elaine Batchlor, separately said patients there have spilled over into the gift shop and five tents outside the emergency department.

      “We don’t have space for anybody. We’ve been holding patients for days because we can’t get them transferred, can’t get beds for them,” said Dr. Alexis Lenz, an emergency room physician at El Centro Regional Medical Center in Imperial County, in the southeast corner of the state. The facility has erected a 50-bed tent in its parking lot and was converting three operating rooms to virus care.

      California is closing in on 2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19. The state on Tuesday reported nearly 32,700 newly confirmed cases. Another 653 patients were admitted to hospitals — one of the biggest one-day hospitalization jumps — for a total approaching 18,000.

      State data models have predicted the hospitalizations could top 100,000 in a month if current rates continue.

      Even more worrying than lack of beds is a lack of personnel. The pool of available travel nurses is drying up as demand for them jumped 44% over the last month, with California, Texas, Florida, New York and Minnesota requesting the most extra staff, according to San Diego-based health care staffing firm Aya Healthcare.

      “We’re now in a situation where we have surges all across the country, so nobody has many nurses to spare,” said Dr. Janet Coffman, a professor of public policy at the University of California in San Francisco.

      California is reaching out to places like Australia and Taiwan to fill the need for 3,000 temporary medical workers, particularly nurses trained in critical care.

      Around the country, outbreaks are being blamed on lack of social distancing and mask-wearing during Thanksgiving and officials fear an even worse surge if people gather for Christmas and New Year’s.

      Fresno County in California’s agricultural Central Valley is in desperate condition. Dr. Thomas Utecht, chief medical officer for Community Medical Centers Fresno, related how medical staff daily see sobbing families, desperate patients and people dying in isolation wards with their loved ones watching remotely.

      Doctors and health officials there are begging people to avoid gathering outside of their immediate families.

      “If people don’t stay home … we’re going to see something that’s, it’s hard for me to even imagine,” said Dr. Patrick Macmillan, palliative specialist in Fresno County. “I think it will break the health care system.”

      Similar warnings echoed around the country, from Tennessee, which is seeing the nation’s worst new COVID-19 infection surge per capita, to Mississippi and West Virginia, which surpassed their previous highs for virus deaths reported in a single day on Tuesday.

      COVID-19′s impact isn’t just on the infected. Lack of beds or nurses means that there are long lines to emergency rooms for other patients as well, such as those with heart attacks or trauma, and paramedics who must wait for an ER nurse to take charge of a patient may not be able to immediately answer another 911 call, said Dr. Anneli von Reinhart, an emergency physician at Community Regional Medical Center in downtown Fresno.

      In the midst of the surge, the distribution of thousands of doses of COVID-19 vaccine to health care workers does mark light at the end of the tunnel but “it also feels like the tunnel is narrowing,” said Dr. Rais Vohra, interim health officer for Fresno County.

      “It’s just a race against time to try to get people through this tunnel as safely as possible,” he said. “That’s exactly what it feels like to be working on the front lines right now.”

      Thompson reported from Sacramento, California. Associated Press reporters from around the U.S. contributed to this report.

      This content was originally published here.

      Biden selects Becerra to lead Health and Human Services – POLITICO

      POLITICO Dispatch: December 7

      Last semester didn’t go too well. But colleges and universities across the country are looking for a do-over in the Spring. POLITICO’s Juan Perez reports on how schools are trying to beat coronavirus next semester — and what lessons they’ve learned from the past year. Plus, the U.K. plans to start vaccinations Tuesday. And Trump says Giuliani has tested positive for Covid.

      A veteran of Washington, he spent nearly 25 years in the House of Representatives culminating in a stint as chair of the Democratic caucus. Becerra also sat on the powerful House Ways and Means subcommittee overseeing health issues. Yet unlike earlier contenders to be Biden’s HHS secretary, he has not held a top health policy position before. Then-California Gov. Jerry Brown tapped Becerra to be attorney general in 2017, replacing Kamala Harris after she was elected to the Senate.

      If confirmed, Becerra would be the first Latino to run the health department — a role that will thrust him into the middle of a high-stakes pandemic response set to determine the trajectory of the next four years. The New York Times first reported Becerra’s selection.

      Biden’s decision to choose Becerra for the top health post marks the conclusion of a turbulent process, in which the Biden camp had to scramble to fill one of the administration’s leading health positions as they prepare to take on the country’s worst health crisis in more than a century.

      The president-elect team’s focus on setting up a pandemic response team within the White House has raised questions about the role the health secretary will play in the Biden administration, according to four people familiar with the process, creating additional uncertainty around the Cabinet post.

      Becerra emerged as a top contender late in the process after Biden’s team considered a number of other candidates including former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy — who will be reprising that role in the Biden administration — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo. The Biden transition did not respond to a request for comment.

      The Biden team has been planning to announce a slate of top health positions this week, which will include Jeff Zients as the coronavirus coordinator and Murthy as surgeon general. Murthy will take on an expanded portfolio, working closely with Zients on the coronavirus response. Marcella Nunez-Smith, a professor at Yale who is an expert on health care inequality, will have a senior role focused on health disparities. That announcement may be pushed back because of the delay in selecting Becerra.

      At one point last week, plans were in place for Biden to announce Raimondo as his HHS nominee. The president-elect never directly offered the position to Raimondo, but people close to him indicated the job was hers if she wanted it, and preparations were underway with the assumption she would fill the role, according to three people familiar with the process.

      But then Raimondo made a public announcement Thursday, saying she would not be Biden’s health secretary. Josh Block, a spokesman for Raimondo, pushed back against the notion that Raimondo turned down the Biden staff, saying her focus remained on Rhode Island.

      “Certainly on this one, they are struggling,” one of the people familiar with the transition’s efforts said before they settled on Becerra. “They had the person they wanted, and that person isn’t doing it. Are there plenty of qualified people? Yes. Do they have the setup they wanted? No.”

      Still, a source close to Biden stressed that this kind of last-minute scramble is not unprecedented, pointing to President Obama tapping Tom Daschle as HHS Secretary only to have him withdraw amid revelations over delinquent taxes and Kathleen Sebelius assume the post instead.

      “We’d rather feel good and get it right instead of rushing to get something out the door,” the source said. “Poor personnel choices can create much more sustainable problems than an extra day or two or three of vetting.”

      Raimondo was always ambivalent about leaving Rhode Island in the middle of her term to move to Washington, D.C., a place she has never wanted to live, according to two people familiar with her thinking. Raimondo has two school-aged children and had major trepidations about relocating them to a new school — she made it clear to advisers that the position had to be the right one. Raimondo wanted to be Treasury secretary (Biden selected former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen for that position), but she would also likely accept Commerce secretary if it was offered, the people said.

      Advisers to Raimondo were particularly concerned about how the health secretary position was being set up in the Biden administration. They worried that when anything went wrong in the coronavirus response, she would be pinned with the blame, but any success in fighting the virus would be credited to the Covid-19 response operation being run out of the White House, according to people familiar with their thinking.

      Zients, who will be in charge of the White House’s coronavirus office, and Raimondo have a personal relationship that dates back years, according to one person familiar with their friendship, but Raimondo’s advisers were worried she would play second fiddle to Zients in the administration.

      The source close to Biden told POLITICO that the transition team is aware of these concerns, but that those who worry the HHS won’t have any real power in the administration are guilty of “an insulting misunderstanding.”

      “The only person who can truly undermine the Department of Health and Human Services is the president,” the source said. “Biden has clearly said he will listen to the scientists. He’s raised up Fauci, who works at NIH, who reports to the secretary … At the end of the day, HHS writes the regs, implements them, obtains the data, and presents the data.”

      By selecting Becerra, Biden is elevating a longtime politician who became a star in Democratic circles during the Trump era, winning praise for his flurry of lawsuits challenging the president’s most divisive policies.

      California has sued the Trump administration more than 100 times over a wide range of issues, from immigration to the environment to health care. That effort has included challenges to Trump regulations rewriting parts of the Affordable Care Act, as well as rules affecting access to federal health benefits like Medicaid.

      Becerra is also leading the multistate defense against a Republican-led lawsuit aimed at striking down Obamacare in its entirety — a suit that the Trump administration has backed and that the Supreme Court is expected to rule on within months.

      Yet while allies touted his ability to organize dozens of blue states in opposition to the Trump administration, Becerra has little experience managing a bureaucracy as large and diverse as HHS. He also has little background in public health, a drawback that could raise questions about his readiness to direct a pandemic response and vaccine distribution campaign that rank among the most complex federal undertakings in U.S. history.

      Others fear his record of vocally supporting Medicare for All and abortion rights could endanger his confirmation if Republicans hold the Senate majority. The influential anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List slammed him Sunday night as an “extremist,” and wrote that “Republican senators must stand firm and stop this unacceptable nomination from going forward.”

      A source familiar with the transition decision responded that Becerra has a history of reaching across the aisle, citing his work with California Republicans on anti-vaping initiatives and experimental drugs to treat Covid-19. Asked about Becerra’s calls for a single-payer health system, the source said the team is confident he will support Biden’s pledge to create a public insurance option that will compete with private plans.

      Still, the selection is likely to calm the nerves of Democrats puzzled by the drawn out search for a health secretary — and narrow the race for a pair of other high-profile positions. Becerra had been among the contenders to be Biden’s attorney general, as well as to fill the California Senate seat vacated by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

      It may also ease tensions between the Biden camp and Latino groups that have pushed hard for Lujan Grisham to run the health department.

      Minutes after the news of his appointment broke, Latino lawmakers and advocacy groups said they were excited and relieved that a son of Mexican immigrant would be in charge not only of addressing Covid-19 but health access more broadly.

      “To have someone who knows our community is really gratifying,” said Janet Murguia, the president of UnidosUS and a former adviser to President Bill Clinton. “Diverse communities have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and I think the country is going to benefit from the wealth of his experience.”

      The Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which had been lobbying for Lujan Grisham, called Becerra “a champion for working families.”

      Lujan Grisham, a co-chair of the transition, had made it clear that she wanted to serve as the health secretary, but people familiar with the process said Biden’s team had favored other candidates. Grisham, who served as New Mexico’s secretary of health, turned down the Biden team’s offer to be secretary of Interior, which hurt her candidacy for other positions in the administration, those familiar with the conversations said.

      On Sunday night, Lujan Grisham released a statement saying she already has “the best job in the world as Governor of New Mexico” and that she looks forward to working with the Biden administration from that post.

      New Mexico Sen.-elect Ben Ray Lujan criticized Biden’s top advisers in a meeting Thursday with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus for how the transition team had treated Lujan Grisham, especially for leaks that the governor had declined to lead the Department of Interior. The group has been frustrated with the lack of Latinos chosen for top positions in the Biden administration. Becerra is now the second Latino selected for the Cabinet after Biden picked Alejandro Mayorkas to serve as secretary of Homeland Security.

      Joanne Kenen contributed reporting.

      This content was originally published here.

      Humanitarian Dentistry Amid the Pandemic – the Open Wide Foundation in Guatemala – Spear Education

      The last week of February marked my fifth trip to Guatemala as a volunteer with the Open Wide Foundation. I traveled with my colleagues, Spear dentists Dr. Everett Heringer and Dr. Rick Timm, along with our families and staff from our practices. It was inconceivable at the time that the trip would mark the last week of volunteers in the Open Wide clinic for the reminder of 2020 due to the global emergence of COVID-19. When I returned home to Atlanta, I presented a photo slideshow of our trip to my staff and listened to the office buzz … “Dr. Merriman just returned from Guatemala …” It became clear to me that my patient community wanted to know what I do beyond this practice. Sharing my contribution to the story of Open Wide makes my staff and patients proud to incorporate “How we give back” into our office culture.

      During one of my initial trips, I brought my daughter to experience a week in the Open Wide clinic in Peronia. It was shortly after the clinic was built by the local community in collaboration with the Open Wide Foundation and it was open year-round and staffed by the local municipal dental team. At this early point, it was only practical to focus on basic dentistry. One morning, I had a 14-year-old girl sit in my chair who had an abscess and caries exposure on an upper molar. I will never forget it. As I do in my practice in Atlanta, I told her and her mom, through the translator, that she needed a root canal. “We must get her sent over to get this done,” I said. Her mom without hesitation replied, “That’s not going to work. We can’t afford a root canal. Please, just extract it.” That was not something that I wanted to do; she had beautiful teeth except for this one. But I also could not leave her in immense pain. Reluctantly, I extracted the tooth. It just left me in an emotional moment, thinking, “That’s not what I feel good about.” I knew extractions were necessary on most outreach trips where the resources are unavailable to save a tooth. Still that time, I’ll never forget, I was at lunch and I could feel my daughter watching me talk about it with such emotion. That interaction really led me to see how we might be able to do more here. I realized it could be possible to provide quality restorative work in the Open Wide dental clinics.

      Supporting the development of permanent clinics in underserved areas that would eventually be adopted by the local communities was exactly what the founders had in mind when envisioning the foundation. At Spear Summit 2011, I remember myself and many other Faculty Club members deciding to say “yes” to the initial call by Glen Wysel and Imtiaz Manji to invest in the development of the Open Wide Foundation – before the actual clinic in Peronia was even built. The mantra was “Open Minds, Open Hearts.” It was a heart tug that made me say “yes.” I could just hear my daughter’s voice and I knew she would go if I asked her. To step out into an experience like this, in a developing country, I needed to be able to trust it was going to be safe to bring my family and it was going to be set up where I could use my skills to truly serve the people. I trusted that Spear leaders would put things together in a quality way because Spear had such a network for success.

      From the beginning we recognized in Guatemala similar needs that many of us had witnessed while doing mission dentistry in other remote areas across the globe. Dentistry is not often a priority in communities where good health care is unaffordable and families struggle to feed their families. In most impoverished areas there are no trained dentists or established clinics. Guatemala has the highest rate of caries in the Western Hemisphere. Those were reasons enough to start there.

      Empowering Guatemalan communities with restorative dentistry

      This groundwork of permanent clinics with ongoing care really made it possible for the advanced restorative program to get a foothold. Our volunteer group was collectively moving in that direction, to the point that it evolved to program committee planning where we now can review patient cases as a team, months in advance of a trip. To support us, the local staff selects patients and sends photographs, X-rays and the patient charts so that we can prepare our materials. (Our corporate representatives from Brassler, Cosmedent, Ultradent and Patterson are so generous in their support of donated materials that we often have leftover supplies to leave at the clinic.) This allows us to be prepared when we arrive, so we can focus on complex cases. Many who have missing front teeth or badly decayed front teeth are made whole again. With a restored smile, the patients we serve will have access to more opportunities in life … it is clear they value their smiles just as much as we do

      What I will say about Open Wide – is that the foundation has such a network for success; it is always being improved. The organization’s vision stays focused on the concept of sustainability. The teaching we do with local Guatemalan dental students and dentists during our advanced restorative weeks, gives them the tools and training to be able to do it themselves after we’ve returned to the U.S. It is such a unique experience to share your skillset, time and money in a sustainable model and watch it resonate in the community for years to come. What we are accomplishing in our advanced restorative week is lasting. We are teaching the dental students and staff, who come up and watch us work at the chair, how to do the best clinical work possible. Over the years, I have seen the local team become more engaged and inspired to apply what they are learning. The staff and students are now following standard operating procedures and protocols developed and written by Open Wide’s team of dentists. Most recently, newly written COVID-19 protocols developed with guidance from Open Wide dentists and health experts in the field of infection control have guided the process of reopening when the time comes.

      The staff we have worked with over the last 10 years will keep striving to improve and they will continue to have our support when they need it. Support not just from Spear dentists, but from the partnership with manufacturers such as A-dec and Dentsply Sirona who have provided critical equipment that has led to the Peronia clinic being known as the most technically advanced public dental clinic in Central America.

      Advanced Restorative Week in Guatemala

      There are so many patients that have impacted me over the years. These patients are incredible. Patients travel many hours overnight across the country in buses in preparation for an appointment during advanced restorative week. Access to these services are very rare in the public health setting around the world and the patients selected know that. They are so appreciative, grateful and you know that it is a pure situation that is rewarding to see. When we hand a mirror to the patients – and that could be any of the eight that we saw that week – as you see them looking at themselves, you just see the look on their face and it’s an amazing expression to see. You just can’t believe how they react, and nothing is taken for granted.

      One of my colleagues, Open Wide Foundation Clinical Director Dr. Mike Johnson, shared one of his unforgettable memories about when one of his team members had completed eight upper anterior composite veneers on the teeth of a young lady in her 20s whose mouth was riddled with tooth decay. After three hours of tedious work, they gave her a mirror. She was speechless at first and then burst into tears. She told them, “I am one of nine children from a very poor family and this is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me.” Being able to use our skills to give patients such a life-changing experience is a feeling difficult to put into words.

      There is no amount of money that could substitute for those experiences. The local staff call us the “crying dentists,” and we hope that patients know that we’re crying because we are touched to see patients look in the mirror with their new smiles, not because we are tired after working at the dental chair for four hours. Those experiences are just too numerous to name them all. It is just every time you work on these people, they are so grateful.

      COVID-19 in Guatemala – not just numbers on a chart

      Since the pandemic has forced the closures of Open Wide clinics and borders, volunteers have had to postpone their trips and find new ways to support the work in Guatemala.

      The COVID-19 numbers we see on the charts or hear in the news about Guatemala aren’t just data to us. They are real people, many of them friends. In response to the immediate needs since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, Open Wide was able to donate its clinic inventory of 1,300 masks and 4,200 gloves to be used in “The Market,” which is the public health service complex for the Municipality of Villa Nueva that includes Peronia. The local team in Guatemala continued to support their municipality, working as public health responders during the shelter in place order issued by the government. Open Wide worked with the team throughout the summer to develop COVID-19 protocols to prepare them to present them to the Municipal Directors of Health, as required.

      We are not there and can’t be there right now, but we still want to make sure that all the effort that has been put forth to make Open Wide’s mission a success continues. We want to sustain this work. That’s the whole point of sustainability – meaning we support start-up clinics in underserved communities with equipment and supplies, and then we mentor, train and teach local dentists so that they can continue when we go home. But we still need to get over the hurdle that COVID-19 has created for us. Open Wide’s program funding comes from donations given by each volunteer team that works in the clinics, so when volunteers can’t go, the funding stops. So, I think we must recognize that we must step up to ensure that we, keep it viable.

      Personally, I can’t wait to get back to Guatemala again. Hopefully restrictions will be lifted by February 2022, when my next trip is scheduled. But if I had to say to anybody who’s thinking about doing this trip to the clinic or volunteering – I wish I hadn’t waited so long to have done something like this. But I’m glad when I did, that I did. If you are thinking about volunteering, you could go by yourself or with someone. If I had a preference, it would be to share this experience with someone as I do with my family, staff and colleagues.

      Jim Merriman, D.M.D., F.A.G.D., is a Spear Faculty Club and Visiting Faculty member in private practice in Atlanta.

      How to support Open Wide’s efforts in Guatemala

      As 2021 dawns, there’s a line of teams waiting to go. Open Wide still doesn’t know for sure when that will be as it cannot know when COVID-19 advisories will be lifted. But until then, the foundation continues to move forward with gratitude for all the volunteers and donors who have been steadfast in their commitment to the work they set out to do 10 years ago. During this COVID-19 pause, Open Wide leaders spent some time looking back at thousands of photos shared by volunteers and hundreds of stories told, like Dr. Merriman’s. They are inspired by friendships across borders, camaraderie among volunteer teams, adventure and fun, and of helping others and, in doing so, returning home with life-changing memories to share, as Jim does, with staff and patients.

      Open Wide is about more than words a dentist speaks to a patient. It is an opening of the mind, the heart, the spirit. It is about opening a door to a better way of life. It means to give generously and in doing so receive far more than you could have hoped for.

      OPEN MOUTHS. OPEN HEARTS. OPEN MINDS.

      This content was originally published here.

      PA Health Department Offers COVID Advice… For Orgies

      That old expression, “Ya can’t make this stuff up,” comes to mind.

      Under the command of transgender Health Secretary Rachel Levine (aka Richard Levine), The Pennsylvania Department of Health just burned tax cash issuing new COVID19 guidelines forrrr…

      …People attending orgies.

      Thanks to talk radio host and writer Rose Unplugged Tweeting the pertinent section, we who, like her, still cling to vestiges of sanity, get to see the Kafkaesque display of a state government forbidding people from attending church or choir, but offering tips to those who insist on participating in orgiastic hedonism.

      WTH: From PA’s oh so smart Sec of Health:
      Where to Start??

      – IF you attend a Large Gathering where you might end up having sex
      * ORGY??

      – If you USUALLY meet sex partners online – consider;
      *PORN?? pic.twitter.com/S6TK3p8OYm

      — Rose Unplugged (@rose_unplugged)

      The actual government document has been around for weeks, but it took Rose to dig in and find the pertinent section, which reads:

      Large gatherings are not safe during COVID19, but if you attend a large gathering where you might end up having sex, below are tips to reduce your risk of spreading or getting COVID-19 through sex:

      Limit the number of partners.

      Try to identify a consistent sex partner.

      Wear a face covering, avoid kissing, and do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

      Wash your hands with soap and water often, and especially before and after sex.  If soap and water are not available use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

      If you usually meet your sex partners online, consider taking a break from in-person dates. Video dates, sexting, subscription-based fan platforms, or chat rooms may be options for you.

      Isn’t that awesome…?

      It’s all so sanitary and sane.

      Heck, why not spend other people’s money writing some “health advice”? Then, to pile on more insults, don’t tell people that sexual intercourse naturally can lead to the creation of new human life, that it creates physical, emotional, and spiritual complications for participants with or without conception, that sexual relations outside marriage make these factors even more complex and difficult, and that they raise health risks… Instead, offer a perfunctory “warning” about the virus, then give folks tips, assuming they’ll engage in unbridled “relations”, anyway.

      This is a state where Democrat Governor Tom Wolf has childishly refused to acknowledge the US Bill of Rights and the Contract Clause of the US Constitution, even as he turned a blind eye to a September court ruling smacking down his lockdowns of businesses and churches, and he continued to target and fine restaurateurs for trying to welcome customers.

      This is a state where said Governor, Tom Wolf, was caught laughing with leftist State Rep Wendy Ullman (D) as she joked that she would keep on her mask… for the cameras, for, as she put it, “political theatre.”

      And this is a state where said Governor issued a November statement ORDERING people to wear masks in their homes (the policing of which would require warrants, according to the Fourth Amendment, which also appears to be something Wolf doesn’t bother to respect).

      At what point do these people ever feel shame?

      The entire exercise of lockdowns is not only toweringly immoral and unconstitutional, it is based on fraudulent “statistics” for “cases” and “COVID19 deaths”, and, even more generally, on a revised use of the term “pandemic” that has lowered the threshold for its application such that it can be bandied about virtually any time, for anything. As Dr. Joseph Mercola wrote on December 10:

      The WHO’s original definition of a pandemic specified simultaneous epidemics worldwide “with enormous numbers of deaths and illnesses”

      This definition was changed in the month leading up to the 2009 swine flu pandemic. The WHO removed the severity and high mortality criteria, leaving the definition of a pandemic as “a worldwide epidemic of a disease”

      This is how COVID-19 is still promoted as a pandemic even though it has caused no excess mortality in nine months

      Does their continued consumption of other people’s money numb these PA tyrants to their own perfidy, or do they enjoy mass suffering as much as their public “health guidelines” seem to assume that people enjoy mass hook-ups?

      It might be difficult to get any answers from said government agents. Rather than engage in debate and discussion, they seem to prefer issuing edicts and “advice” — neither of which are helpful.

      This content was originally published here.

      Psilocybin Treatment for Mental Health Gets Legal Framework – Scientific American

      Oregon made history on November 3, becoming not just the first U.S. state to legalize psilocybin, the psychoactive compound in “magic mushrooms,” but also the first jurisdiction in the world to lay out plans for regulating the drug’s therapeutic use.

      The next day, on the opposite coast, Johns Hopkins University researchers published results from the first randomized controlled trial of treating major depressive disorder with synthetic psilocybin. Their study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, found 71 percent of patients experienced a “clinically significant response” (an improvement that lasted at least four weeks after treatment). And 54 percent met the criteria for total “remission of depression.”

      At the U.S. federal level, psilocybin remains a completely prohibited Schedule 1 Drug, defined by the Drug Enforcement Administration as having “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” But the state-level ballot measure and positive study results broaden the legal circumstances and settings in which the potent psychedelic can be used for mental health therapy.

      “Our goal was to move psilocybin out of the medical framework so we could provide access to anyone who might safely benefit,” meaning to allow its use by counseling therapists and not just by doctors in a hospital, says therapist Tom Eckert, co-author of the Oregon Psilocybin Therapy Ballot Measure, which passed with more than 1.2 million votes (55.7 percent). Although Oregon is not the first place in the U.S. to loosen restrictions on psilocybin—the cities of Oakland, Denver, Ann Arbor and Washington, D.C., voted in the past two years to effectively decriminalize the drug—it is the first to offer a framework for legal therapeutic use. “This is very different from decriminalization, which only seeks to lower the penalties for possession,” Eckert notes. “We want to bring this therapy out from the underground and into [safe therapeutic environments].”

      Such use will be tightly regulated, however: only licensed therapists and manufacturers will be allowed to grow the mushrooms or extract psilocybin from them, or to synthetically produce the drug, set up a psilocybin therapy center or provide therapy. There will be no dispensaries selling mushrooms for recreational use, as exist for cannabis in California and 15 other states. People must be over 21 to receive the drug, and may only consume it at a licensed facility with a certified therapist present. And Oregon will not be opening any legal psilocybin therapy centers until 2023 at the earliest, as the measure requires a two-year consultation with lawmakers.

      The Oregon vote is the latest step in what many see as magic mushrooms’ march to become “the next marijuana”: a natural therapeutic and mood-altering compound gaining mainstream acceptance in a regulated market. Since 2015 psilocybin retreats have been allowed to operate in the Netherlands, where dozens of them cater to affluent tourists. Even there the drug exists in a legal gray area, however: psilocybin mushrooms are illegal, but “truffles” (clumps of the fungus’s subterranean root-like filaments) are legal.

      PSYCHEDELIC MEDICINE

      The potential benefits of psilocybin, LSD and other psychedelics were widely explored by psychiatrists in the 1950 and 1960s, before such drugs leaked from the lab and were embraced by the counterculture. A subsequent backlash led to a strict prohibition of legitimate research for the next four decades. But in recent years, a handful of dogged psychiatrists have revived the field. A Johns Hopkins 2006 double-blind study (meaning neither trial participants nor researchers knew if a subject was receiving psilocybin or placebo), published in the journal Psychopharmacology, demonstrated that psilocybin could give healthy volunteers “experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning.”

      “What is different about psilocybin, compared to other mood-altering drugs or pharmaceuticals, is the enduring meaning and belief changes that can occur. People feel ‘reorganized’ in a way they don’t with other drugs,” says Johns Hopkins neuropharmacologist Roland Griffiths, lead author of the initial 2006 study as well as the latest one on depression. “It’s almost like reprogramming the operating system of a computer.” Griffiths now leads the new, $17 million-funded Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

      Dozens of other scientific reports in the past 15 years have built on the 2006 study, demonstrating psilocybin’s helpfulness for a variety of mental health conditions. In a 2016 paper in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, Griffiths and his team found that more than 80 percent of patients with a terminal cancer diagnosis experienced a “significant decrease in depressed mood and anxiety” after psilocybin combined with psychotherapy. In the same year, other researchers published the first study demonstrating psilocybin’s potential to alleviate “treatment-resistant depression” that was not relieved by mainstream antidepressants. British researchers at Imperial College London described in The Lancet Psychiatry the “marked and sustained improvements” in 12 patients suffering from this form of depression. This study, however, had no control (placebo) group. The latest randomized controlled trial from Johns Hopkins tested the drug in a double-blind study on 24 people suffering from major depressive disorder, which affects an estimated 300 million people worldwide. Roughly 20 percent of Americans will experience this form of depression at some point in their lives; by comparison, treatment-resistant depression is estimated to affect fewer than 5 percent.

      In 2019 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted “breakthrough” status to a company called Compass Pathways to study the use of psilocybin—in conjunction with psychotherapy—for treatment-resistant depression. This means the FDA recognises that the research “demonstrates the drug may have substantial improvement on at least one clinically significant endpoint over available therapy,” and that research and development will be “expedited.”

      “I welcome the broadening of the indications, because I think psilocybin is likely to be effective in a range of disorders,” says David Nutt, author of the initial 2016 study on psilocybin and depression, and director of the neuropsychopharmacology unit in the division of brain sciences at Imperial College London. “However, it is critical that we have proper screening to protect people who might be vulnerable due to psychotic predispositions.”

      Rachel Aidan, a professional therapist and CEO of Synthesis Group, a Netherlands psilocybin retreat center now looking to expand operations to Oregon, agrees. “As excited as we all are about the power of these compounds, the reality is that they are NOT for everyone,” she says. “Right now we just need to keep our heads down to learn from the situation in Oregon, and plan carefully for the future so we don’t rush into legalization. We don’t want to recreate the 1960s and the backlash that ensued.”

      AN ANTIDEPRESSANT ALTERNATIVE

      Because psilocybin is thought to be most effective when given in combination with psychotherapy, the cost (possibly involving a dozen or more hours of therapy sessions) could remain in the thousands of dollars for the near future—and even more if the treatment involves synthetic psilocybin. Nonetheless, many hope the latest study will lead to psilocybin treatment being viewed more as a first line of defense for depression, rather than a quirky option for people who are desperate after conventional treatments fail. Psilocybin appeals to many because of the treatment’s rapid and sustained effects, combined with the lack of unpleasant side effects such as weight gain and loss of libido, which are typically associated with widely prescribed SSRI antidepressants.

      “This isn’t about selling people a box of pills. This is about exploring a new way to deal with depression by going into the underlying issues,” says Rosalind Watts, a psychologist who was formerly clinical lead on the psilocybin for depression study at Imperial College London. “It’s not that this is better than antidepressants—it’s just better for some people. Some people will still prefer antidepressants because they are simply more convenient. It just makes sense to have different options, and for us to understand that different things work for different people at different times.”

      Watts has now left Imperial to operate as the clinical director at Synthesis, where she works to develop psilocybin therapies outside of medical academia. “Rather than conduct more small trials,” she says, “I wanted to help set up something for people to access psilocybin therapy now.”

      Actions like this by clinicians around the world are nudging psilocybin from a fringe treatment toward mainstream medicine. As Rick Doblin, founder and executive director of the Santa Cruz, Calif.–based Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, puts it: “Our long term goal is mass mental health.”

      Johns Hopkins and Imperial researchers have already planned more psilocybin studies for a range of difficult-to-treat conditions, hoping to harness the drug’s ability to “unblock” people by shifting perspectives, catalyzing insights and changing problematic and habitual mindsets and behaviors. Studies on anorexia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, smoking cessation, opiate addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder are all in the works.

      Griffiths, however, is wary of efforts to rush the drug out from tightly regulated settings. “I’m sympathetic to people who are impatient, but we don’t want to end up in a situation where people underestimate the potential risks of using these compounds. They do have significant risks, such as panic, anxiety and dangerous behavior,” he says. “In Oregon, the devil is in the details in how things will unfold.”

      This content was originally published here.

      10 Equine Dentistry Resources on TheHorse.com – The Horse

      The American Association of Equine Practitioners recommends adult horses receive annual oral and dental exams by licensed veterinarians. Doing so can help horses avoid nutritional and behavioral issues related to tooth pain. To help you brush up on your equine dental knowledge, we’ve scoured our archives and collected 10 important resources available to you for free on TheHorse.com.

      Find more equine dentistry information by searching “dentistry” or by visiting the dentistry and dental problem subtopics on TheHorse.com.

      ARTICLE: Study: Dental Work Improves Feed Digestibility in Horses Increased feed digestibility means greater conversion of feed to energy and–ideally–reduced feed bills.

      ARTICLE: EOTRH: An Important Dental Condition in Aged Horses Scientists reviewed research on this painful disease that affects a horse’s teeth, gums, and bone.

      ARTICLE: Signs Your Horse Needs a Dental Exam Are your horse’s teeth bothering him? Here are some common signs to watch for.

      ARTICLE: Complications Rare Following Equine Tooth Extractions Researchers reviewed dental records from 428 tooth extractions. Here’s what they found.

      ARTICLE: The Evolution of Equids and Dental Work The modern horse’s dentition results from millions of years of evolution in response to changing food sources and climates. Likewise, how veterinarians treat today’s equine teeth must evolve and improve constantly.

      ARTICLE: Equine Wolf Teeth While these teeth usually don’t pose a health risk to the horse, they are often removed in performance horses.

      ARTICLE: Back to Basics: Equine Dental Terminology and Anatomy Having a basic understanding of dental anatomy and terminology can help owners comprehend this complex topic.

      SLIDESHOW: Equine Dental Care and Health Dental care is an important part of keeping a horse healthy and happy throughout his life. Learn about common tooth problems and regular dental care in this slideshow.

      ARTICLE: Year by Year, Tooth by Tooth Answers to equine dental-care questions will vary with each individual horse and circumstance. Horses do, however, have some general tendencies based on age, gender, career, overall health, and dental health that provide guidelines from which to make recommendations.

      SPONSORED ARTICLE: What to Expect During Your Horse’s Dental Exam Dental exams are safe, routine procedures that will keep your horse feeling his best all year.

      This content was originally published here.

      ‘Healing is coming’: US health workers start getting vaccine

      Health care workers around the country rolled up their sleeves for the first COVID-19 shots Monday as hope that an all-out vaccination effort can defeat the coronavirus smacked up against the heartbreaking reality of 300,000 U.S. deaths.

      “Relieved,” proclaimed critical care nurse Sandra Lindsay after becoming one of the first to be inoculated at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York. “I feel like healing is coming.”

      With a countdown of “3-2-1,” workers at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center gave initial injections to applause.

      And in Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis personally opened a delivery door to the FedEx driver and signed for a package holding 975 precious frozen doses of vaccine made by Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech.

      The shots kicked off what will become the largest vaccination effort in U.S. history, one that could finally conquer the outbreak.

      Dr. Valerie Briones-Pryor, who has worked in a COVID-19 unit at University of Louisville Hospital since March and recently lost her 27th patient to the virus, was among the first recipients.

      “I want to get back to seeing my family,” she said. “I want families to be able to get back to seeing their loved ones.”

      Some 145 sites around the country, from Rhode Island to Alaska, received shipments, with more deliveries set for the coming days. High-risk health care workers were first in line.

      “This is 20,000 doses of hope,” John Couris, president and chief executive of Tampa General Hospital said of the first delivery.

      Nursing home residents also get priority, and a Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Bedford, Massachusetts, announced via Twitter that its first dose went to a 96-year-old World War II veteran, Margaret Klessens. Other nursing homes around the U.S. expect inoculations in the coming days.

      The campaign began the same day the U.S death toll from the surging outbreak crossed the 300,000 threshold, according to the count kept by Johns Hopkins University. The number of dead rivals the population of St. Louis or Pittsburgh. It is more than five times the number of Americans killed in the Vietnam War. It is equal to a 9/11 attack every day for more than 100 days.

      “To think, now we can just absorb in our country 3,000 deaths a day as though it were just business as usual. It just represents a moral failing,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, a public health researcher at Johns Hopkins.

      Health experts know a wary public is watching the vaccination campaign, especially communities of color that have been hit hard by the pandemic but, because of the nation’s legacy of racial health disparities and research abuses against Black people, have doubts about the vaccine.

      Getting vaccinated is “a privilege,” said Dr. Leonardo Seoane, chief academic officer at Ochsner Health in suburban New Orleans, after getting his dose. Seoane, who is Cuban American, urged “all of my Hispanic brothers and sisters to do it. It’s OK.”

      The nearly 3 million doses now being shipped are just a down payment on the amount needed. More of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will arrive each week. And later this week, the FDA will decide whether to greenlight the world’s second rigorously studied COVID-19 vaccine, made by Moderna Inc.

      While the U.S. hopes for enough of both vaccines together to vaccinate 20 million people by the end of the month, and 30 million more in January, there won’t be enough for the average person to get a shot until spring.

      For now the hurdle is to rapidly get vaccine into the arms of millions, not just doctors and nurses but other at-risk health workers such as janitors and food handlers — and then deliver a second dose three weeks later.

      “We’re also in the middle of a surge, and it’s the holidays, and our health care workers have been working at an extraordinary pace,” said Sue Mashni, chief pharmacy officer at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City.

      Plus, the shots can cause temporary fever, fatigue and aches as they rev up people’s immune systems, forcing hospitals to stagger employee vaccinations.

      Just half of Americans say they want to get vaccinated, while about a quarter don’t and the rest are unsure, according to a recent poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Health Research.

      “I know it’s going to be a big hurdle to convince people because it’s new, it’s uncertain,” said intensive care nurse Helen Cordova, who received a vaccination card after getting a shot at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center. “This can be encouraging for others.”

      The FDA, considered the world’s strictest medical regulator, said the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which was developed at breakneck speed less than a year after the virus was identified, appears safe and strongly protective, and the agency laid out the data in a daylong public meeting last week for scientists and consumers alike to see.

      “We know it works well,” said Ochsner infectious-disease expert Dr. Katherine Baumgarten, who got her shot on Day 1. “As soon as you can get it, please do so.”

      Still, the vaccine was cleared for emergency use before a final study in nearly 44,000 people was complete. That research is continuing to try to answer additional questions.

      For example, while the vaccine is effective at preventing COVID-19 illness, it is not clear if it will stop the symptomless spread that accounts for half of all cases.

      The shots still must be studied in children and during pregnancy. But the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said Sunday that vaccination should not be withheld from pregnant women who otherwise would qualify.

      Also, regulators in Britain are investigating a few severe allergic reactions. The FDA instructed providers not to give the vaccine to those with a known history of severe allergic reactions to any of its ingredients.

      Associated Press writers Marion Renault, Andrew Welsh-Huggins, Rebecca Santana, Dylan Lovan, Tamara Lush, Jeff Turner and Kathy Young contributed to this report.

      The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

      This content was originally published here.

      Maxillary First Premolar Extractions for Orthodontics – a Red Flag for Joint Issues – Spear Education

      I had an unusual experience recently when I saw two new patients – incidentally, scheduled back-to-back – who both had three circumstances in common that resulted in a loss of airway volume and joint issues.

      First, I saw a 45-year-old woman who presented with clicking and popping in her left jaw joint and reported the problem was getting worse. She had an average pain of 6/10 with a worst pain of 7/10 in her right jaw joint and an average pain of 8/10 and a worst pain of 10/10 in her left joint.

      She had modified her diet to avoid eating hard or chewy foods and said her joint started clicking when she was in her early 20s.

      Her initial point of contact was 15/18 (27/37) in a fully seated condylar position and had a 2-mm anterior shift from a fully seated condylar position to maximum intercuspation. Her mandibular midline was 2 mm to the right of her maxillary midline in a fully seated condylar position. She opened 30 mm and said she used to click in both her right and left jaw joints.

      She also reported mild muscle tenderness to palpation and had facial asymmetry to the right. She’s worn two different occlusal appliances and was currently using an anterior repositioning appliance, which was not helping her pain.

      Her trauma history included two motor vehicle accidents at age 43 and surgical intubations at ages 40 and 44. Her anterior teeth were uncoupled by 2 mm in a horizontal and vertical dimension.

      Next, I saw a 53-year-old woman – another new patient who presented with a chief concern of clicking and pain in the left jaw joint. She told me the problem got worse about two years ago. She saw her ENT physician who examined her ears and concluded they were not the source of the problem.

      The patient explained it was difficult for her to chew food and she felt her bite did not fit together evenly. She also reported no pain in the right jaw joint but an average pain of 5/10 and a worse pain of 8/10 in her left joint. Like the first patient, this patient also modified her diet to avoid hard or chewy foods.

      In this second case, the patient’s initial point of contact was 2/31 (17/47) in a fully seated condylar position and she had a 3-mm anterior shift from a fully seated condylar position to maximum intercuspation. Her mandibular midline was 2 mm to the right of her maxillary midline in a fully seated condylar position. She opened 37 mm and said she used to click in both her right and left jaw joints.

      She reported minimal muscle tenderness to palpation and had a canted occlusal plane to the right. She’s worn one occlusal appliance, which didn’t help her pain. Her trauma history included falling out of a station wagon at age 11, a snowmobiling accident at age 21, and a dog hitting her chin at age 27. Her anterior teeth were uncoupled by 3 mm in a horizontal dimension.

      3 common threads

      Interestingly, both patients shared three important facts. First, they both had orthodontics from ages 12-14 to treat an overjet problem. Second, they both had audible crepitus in their right and left jaw joints.

      Having audible crepitus in a jaw joint usually means the disk is not covering the bone and the noise (crepitus) is typically the result of bone-to-bone contact between the condyle and the joint socket.

      The third common factor was both patients had their maxillary first molars extracted when they had orthodontics.

      To understand why the maxillary first molars were extracted for the orthodontic treatment for overjet, we must reverse-engineer the treatment plans for both patients. At the time, the thinking was they had genetically small mandibles, so if the upper first premolars were extracted it would be possible to retract the upper anterior teeth, thus reducing the overjet and creating a more normal anterior tooth relationship. However, we now know this is a flawed assumption to think the overjet was the result of a genetically small mandible.

      While genetics can be a reason for a small mandible, the overwhelming majority of small mandibles are due to a structural alteration in the TMJ. When the joints are injured in a growing patient, growth can be interrupted (Figs. 1-4) and result in a Class II occlusion with an overjet problem.

      If thinking about occlusion is limited to the tooth level without considering the condition of the TMJ, it’s easy to see why extracting the maxillary first premolars would make sense.

      The problem now is once the TMJ is imaged with MRI and CBCT, it’s easy to understand the small mandible was not due to genetics, but rather due to incomplete growth of the mandible and the maxilla. The extractions were subtractive dentistry, which led to both esthetic and airway issues in both patients.

      My advice is to always take a closer look at the jaw joints when patients present with maxillary first premolars extracted for orthodontic treatment. In most of these cases, there will be an undiagnosed joint issue that causes the overjet issue.

      We can align with maxillary premolar and retractive orthodontics in the growing patient, but in most cases, the result will be a loss of airway volume along with joint problems in the adult patient.

      Jim McKee, D.D.S., is a member of Spear Resident Faculty.

      Piper, DMD MD, Mark. “Temporomandibular Joint Imaging.” Handbook of Research on Clinical Applications of Computerized Occlusal Analysis in Dental Medicine. IGI Global, 2020.582-697.

      Pirttiniemi, P. Abnormal mandibular growth and the condylar cartilage. European Journal of Orthodontics, 2009;31(1),1-11.

      Manfredini D, Segu M, Arveda N, Lombardo L, Siciliani G, Rossi A, et al. Temporomandibular joint disorders in patients with different facial morphology. a systematic review of the literature. Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.2016;74(1),29-46.

      This content was originally published here.

      Health care worker without history of allergies hospitalized in ICU following severe allergic reaction after receiving COVID-19 vaccine

      A health care worker in Alaska developed a severe allergic reaction after receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, according to
      NBC News.

      At least one other health care worker at the same facility also experienced a less serious reaction following the injection.

      What are the details?

      The unnamed health care worker, an employee at the Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau, Alaska, had to be hospitalized overnight for the severe reaction.

      The worker, a middle-aged woman, reportedly had no history of allergies and never experienced anaphylaxis, according to the New York Times.

      According to the outlet, all 96 workers at Bartlett Regional Hospital received the vaccine on Tuesday. Medical experts observed the workers for 30 minutes following the injection. The woman, however, began feeling flushed about 10 minutes after receiving the shot, and shortly began experiencing other symptoms such as shortness of breath and an elevated heart rate.

      Dr. Lindy Jones, an emergency physician who treated the woman, said, “She had a red, flushed rash all over her face and torso. I was concerned about an anaphylactic reaction.”

      The woman was initially treated with antihistamines, but later received an emergency injection of epinephrine.

      The outlet reported that the worker’s symptoms abated, but returned, forcing physicians to place her on intravenous epinephrine and took her to the ICU for overnight observation.

      The woman was taken off all medications as of Wednesday morning and was expected to be discharged. There is no further information available about the woman or her condition at the time of this reporting.

      CNN reported on Thursday that a second health care worker also experienced a reaction. The second worker was reportedly treated for less severe symptoms and was ultimately released within an hour.

      In a statement, Pfizer said that the biotechnology company is “working with local health authorities to assess” the reactions, and will “closely monitor all reports suggestive of serious allergic reactions following vaccination and update labeling language if needed.”

      What else?

      Last week, two health care workers in the United Kingdom
      experienced allergic reactions following the COVID-19 vaccine, prompting the government to issue an allergy alert in connection with the vaccination.

      U.K. regulators say that people with history of allergic reactions to medicine or food should avoid the COVID-19 vaccine following the reaction.

      Both workers were expected to recover following the reaction.

      This content was originally published here.

      Mental Health Improved for Only One Group During COVID: Those Who Attended Church Weekly | The Stream

      Poll results show that mental health improved for only one group of people during the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s a group that Democratic lawmakers repeatedly restricted.

      Gallup polled a little over a thousand Americans over the age of 18 from Nov. 5–19 and found that only those who attended religious services weekly saw a positive change between 2019 and 2020 in how they rated their mental health.

      In 2019, 42% of Americans who attended religious services weekly rated their mental health as excellent, the poll showed. In 2020, 46% of Americans who attended religious services weekly rated their mental health as excellent — a percentage increase of four points.

      No other Demographic group in the Gallup poll, which had a margin of error of ±4 percentage points and a confidence level of 95%, saw a percentage increase in rating their mental health as excellent.

      34% of Americans say their mental health is excellent, down from 43% in 2019. https://t.co/kjobkuEEVD pic.twitter.com/U6mPW54ZSt

      — GallupNews (@GallupNews) December 8, 2020

      “Houses of worship and religious services provide so much more than just a weekly meeting place — they are where so many Americans find strength, community, and meaning,” the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty’s Director of Research Caleb Lyman told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Findings from this year’s Religious Freedom Index — that 62 percent of respondents said that faith had been important during the pandemic — align with Gallup’s findings on the importance of religious services to Americans’ mental health.”

      The Gallup poll results are particularly striking in contrast to Democratic lawmakers’ restrictions on houses of worship. Governors and mayors across the United States have issued orders throughout the pandemic that restrict or prohibit religious services, and the Department of Justice has pushed back against such restrictions on multiple occasions.

      Governors like Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam banned gatherings of 10 or more people through initial stay-at-home orders, restrictions which effectively banned church services. Authorities have arrested multiple religious leaders for defying coronavirus orders, such as Pastor Tony Spell of the Louisiana Life Tabernacle church and Florida megachurch pastor Rodney Howard-Browne.

      Religious organizations in New York most recently took Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to the Supreme Court over his restrictions on houses of worship, accusing Cuomo of “targeting Orthodox practices.”

      Conservative justices, including Justice Amy Coney Barrett, sided with religious organizations in the 5-4 ruling the night before Thanksgiving, while Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the liberal justices.

      Please Support The Stream: Equipping Christians to Think Clearly About the Political, Economic and Moral Issues of Our Day.

      The majority said that Cuomo’s coronavirus restrictions on religious communities are “far more restrictive than any Covid-related regulations that have previously come before the Court, much tighter than those adopted by many other jurisdictions hard hit by the pandemic, and far more severe than has been shown to be required to prevent the spread of the virus.”

      “New York’s restrictions on houses of worship not only are severe, but also are discriminatory,” Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote in his concurring opinion.

      “In light of the devastating pandemic, I do not doubt the State’s authority to impose tailored restrictions — even very strict restrictions — on attendance at religious services and secular gatherings alike,” Kavanaugh continued. “But the New York restrictions on houses of worship are not tailored to the circumstances given the First Amendment interests at stake.”

      Cuomo’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.

      Earlier this year, the court sided 5-4 in favor of the liberal justices on COVID-19 religious restrictions in California and Nevada, according to CNN.

      The DOJ has fought back against many of these restrictions. Attorney General William Barr set the tone for the DOJ’s attitude towards religious freedom during the pandemic by warning in an early April statement that “even in times of emergency,” federal law prohibits religious discrimination.

      “Religion and religious worship continue to be central to the lives of millions of Americans,” Barr said. “This is true more so than ever during this difficult time.”

      “Government may not impose special restrictions on religious activity that do not also apply to similar nonreligious activity,” the attorney general added. “For example, if a government allows movie theaters, restaurants, concert halls, and other comparable places of assembly to remain open and unrestricted, it may not order houses of worship to close, limit their congregation size, or otherwise impede religious gatherings.”

      Barr also promised that the DOJ would be watching for any state or local government that “singles out, targets, or discriminates against any house of worship for special restrictions.”

      Since this statement was issued, the DOJ has intervened in multiple cases of government crackdowns on churches and pastors, specifically in Nevada, California, Oklahoma, Illinois, Virginia and Mississippi.

      The DOJ did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation for this story.

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