Black America Web - Dr. Day

'Touchscreen-toddlers' sleep less, ...

'Touchscreen-toddlers' sleep less, researchers say

Should toddlers play with smartphones?
FGM charge for Detroit doctor Juman...

FGM charge for Detroit doctor Jumana Nagarwala in US first

Jumana Nagarwala could face life in jail if convicted of mutilating young girls over more than a decade.
South Africa mourns the death of On...

South Africa mourns the death of Ontlametse Phalatse

A woman praised for her brave battle against premature aging disorder progeria dies aged 18.
Is Komodo dragon blood the key to n...

Is Komodo dragon blood the key to new antibiotics?

Scientists find a compound based on a molecule in dragon blood helps heal infected wounds in mice.
Dairy-free diets warning over risk ...

Dairy-free diets warning over risk to bone health

Some eating trends could lead to an increased risk of fractures, young people are told.
Dying man Noel Conway can fight rig...

Dying man Noel Conway can fight right-to-die law

Noel Conway, who has motor neurone disease, wants to be allowed a "peaceful and dignified death".


Fertility rate: 'Jaw-dropping' glob...

Fertility rate: 'Jaw-dropping' global crash in children being born

Nearly every country will see their populations fall as the world has fewer babies.
Coronavirus: R number 'lower than t...

Coronavirus: R number 'lower than thought' before lockdown eased in England

A study of 120,000 volunteers in England also suggests those aged 18 to 24 were more likely to test positive.
Coronavirus: Smokers quit in highes...

Coronavirus: Smokers quit in highest numbers in a decade

Action on Smoking and Health estimates one million people have stopped smoking in the UK since April.
Fewer heart attacks seen by NHS ami...

Fewer heart attacks seen by NHS amid coronavirus

Hospital admissions in England dropped by a third, suggesting thousands did not receive expert care.
'Thermographic scans gave my son fa...

'Thermographic scans gave my son false hope'

The family of a young musician who relied on the scans says they didn't warn that his cancer had spread.
Coronavirus: Face masks and coverin...

Coronavirus: Face masks and coverings to be compulsory in England's shops

The health secretary says the new rule aims to give shoppers confidence and protect retail staff.

Nassau Guardian

Hurricanes drive addiction issues i...

Hurricanes drive addiction issues into public square

(AP) ? In the whirr of preparations for Hurricane Irma, a needle exchange program in Miami's Overtown neighborhood handed out extra syringes to heroin users. Others trying to break from the drug's grasp picked up advance medication from methadone clinics.

Disasters cause stress, and stress can cause relapse for people struggling with addiction, whether their problem is alcohol, tobacco, pills or heroin. Authorities planning for the devastating effects of hurricanes now factor in the heightened danger of relapse and overdose.

The problems of alcoholism and addiction become more public in a storm, said researcher Andrew Golub of the National Development and Research Institutes in New York, who studied illicit drug users in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

"During a storm, it becomes harder to hide and cope with one's addiction in private," Golub said.

Scientists learned from Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy. Drug users took chances during storms, researchers found, avoiding evacuation to stay near their dealers or sharing needles with strangers putting themselves in danger of HIV and hepatitis. Those in treatment missed doses of medications and went back to street drugs to avoid withdrawal sickness. During Sandy, clinics that lost power measured methadone by candlelight.

"Disasters like this interrupt treatment," said Enrique Pouget, whose team interviewed 300 injection drug users in New York after the 2012 storm.

Methadone programs, highly regulated by the government, are required to have disaster emergency plans. The state of Florida, in cooperation with federal authorities, granted methadone clinics discretion to provide up to five days of medication ahead of Hurricane Irma.

In Texas and Louisiana, some patients took home advance doses of methadone. Others received it in shelters or from alternative facilities.

Florida's first needle exchange program ? aimed at preventing overdoses and blood-borne infections ? faces its biggest challenge yet with Irma. This past week, Dr. Hansel Tookes and his team gave away a week's supply of clean needles and overdose reversal kits, or Narcan.

"We want to make sure all of our people have Narcan so they can save lives and be first responders in the storm," Tookes said of the 400 drug users who rely on his program . Drug users equipped with Narcan can save others who overdose.

Mark Kinzly, co-founder of the Texas Overdose Naloxone Initiative, said his group distributed around 500 kits to clinics along the Texas coast in the midst of Harvey cleanup. Storms can be disastrous for people with addictions because they interrupt routines and schedules, he said.

"There's people that are going to be without jobs and without homes because of this hurricane," Kinzly said. "They're going to be less stable in their overall lives to begin with. That can be dangerous."

In the aftermath of flooded Houston, Julie Boon oversaw repairs at a sober-living home while giving advice to residents based on her own 30 years of sobriety.

"Have faith in the foundation you've built," said Boon of Eudaimonia Recovery Homes. "If you get into fear, reach out and speak to somebody."

People in long-term recovery have the ability to cope with disasters, said Julia Negron of Venice, Florida, a former injection drug user and organizer of the Suncoast Harm Reduction Project, a grassroots group working to prevent overdoses.

"You deal with life as it comes. So here you go: Here's a test," she said.

Prostate cancer awareness

Prostate cancer awareness

Six years ago, Anglican Bishop Laish Boyd said the best gift a person could give their family is health, after a routine annual health checkup detected he had elevated prostate specific antigen (PSA), which meant he had cancer in his prostate. It was in its very early stages, and he was successfully treated.

Meanwhile there are people like Valentine ?Val? Maura, who has never been diagnosed with this life-threatening disease, but who fight daily to ensure their fellow men can receive an early diagnosis, treatment and give their family the precious gift of their health and life.

Prostate cancer is a life-threatening disease and a topic that most men ?sweep under the rug?. If they have it, they don?t talk about it, and they don?t bother to allow the doctor to perform the simple check to see if it?s developing so that it can be caught in the early stages and be treated.

When it comes to prostate cancer, most men adopt a ?don?t ask, don?t tell? strategy. They see the disease, one of the most common types of cancer in men, as shameful and a threat to their manhood.

Prostate cancer occurs in the prostate, a small, walnut-shaped gland in men, which produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm.

?For a long time, associated with prostate cancer has been erectile dysfunction, which means that the man either can?t, or has problems, performing with his wife on an [intimate] basis,? said Maura, a member of US Too, a prostate cancer education and support group. ?Also, a lot of men don?t get examined because they know they have to take a digital rectal exam (DRE), and when a doctor says you have to drop your pants, most men have all kinds of trepidation. Because of that examination, most men wait until it?s kind of late.?

It?s recommended that men without familial history have the exam performed for the first time at age 40.

Maura, now in his 60s, is one of those men who did not have his first prostate examination until late in life. He had his first prostate exam at age 55.

?I wanted to know what my situation was and I was eager to find out what my condition was,? Maura told The Nassau Guardian in an earlier interview.

But, he said, as soon as he got near the examination room, he became a little ?chicken?.

?I was real apprehensive when I found out what it entailed, but I said I had come that far and the only way I would find out my condition was to actually be examined.?

Most men have no early symptoms of prostate cancer, but some have urinary symptoms and discomfort. Men of African descent are also considered to be at higher risk of prostate cancer.

Maura did the test and received a clean bill of health on his prostate. But along with relief, he said, came concerns as to whether the examination had been properly done and whether he was really safe. He has had his prostate checked every year since. He?s not a survivor like Boyd and many other men, but he?s willing to stand up and promote awareness of a life-threatening disease most men shy away from speaking about.

?I became interested in cancer some years ago, in the embryonic stage of the Cancer Society, some years ago. And I don?t know if I have an inquiring mind, or a wavering mind, but if I get involved in something, I like to know about it as much as possible. I don?t like to just be a member,? he said.

Prostate Cancer Awareness Month is observed during September to bring recognition to the disease and the Us Too organization, where men can seek support.

More than a decade later, Maura said there has been a lot more openness about the disease and the test to check for prostate cancer, because men like himself and brave survivors have been talking about it. Despite the increased awareness, he said there needs to be even more talk among men. And he encourages them to discuss it the way breast cancer is so much more easily spoken about today than in years past.

The members of Us Too encourages that much-needed chat.

Over the years, prostate cancer screening statistics by Us Too have, for the most part, increased during prostate screening clinics staged by the organization, as awareness has also improved. In 2003, statistics showed a total of 313 persons were tested. In 2004, the number dropped to 231, then again in 2005 to 227. In 2006, a total of 481 persons were tested during the clinics, with 373 presenting in 2007. In 2008, a record 771 tests were performed, with 624 prostates checked in 2009; and last year, 687 men presented to have their prostates checked.

Statistics showed that most men reported that they took the test at the urging of their wives.

Maura says the information now suggests that men should have their prostates checked as early as 35, especially if they have a family history. He says prostate cancer is a disease that can be treated and men don?t have to die from it if it?s caught early enough.

?Men are worried about their manhood, but aren?t doing much, or waiting too late to take the requisite steps to protect the very thing that could destroy their manhood,? said Maura.

In an earlier interview with The Nassau Guardian, Boyd said the experience was one of the most frightening of his life, but he was glad he took action for himself and those who would be affected by his choices. He advised other people, especially men to take precautions and to take their health seriously.

?Your health is a gift you give your loved ones, so if you can preserve it, you should do all you can,? said Boyd.

With several tests to detect prostate cancer the DRE is an early test to screen for the disease when it is most treatable. Maura said Us Too touts the DRE as it measures the degree of enlargement that a prostate has undergone and medical professionals are able to detect textural changes. A PSA blood test can be done in conjunction to the DRE.

?The PSA test alone won?t be able to tell you what condition the prostate is in, because it has no way of measuring the degree of enlargement the prostate has undergone. There have been studies done that show that the PSA itself has no way of measuring what is happening to the prostate, so you could be falsely feeling safe or you could be way off the mark,? said Maura. ?The DRE measures the degree of enlargement the prostate has undergone and it has a certain texture that it develops because of the enlargement, and so therefore you need both to tell you the true picture, because you can have an elevated PSA count, but it cannot tell you what is actually happening with the prostate itself.?

Maura says checking your prostate is an overall health concern, and younger men who don?t take care of their prostates now will suffer from it later.

?A lot of people think when you get prostate cancer it automatically progresses to stage four and you die, but that?s not the case. There?s a process where it becomes an embarrassment; it becomes painful; it becomes everything before you eventually die. Men tend to want to protect their manhood, but they?re dealing with the very source of their manhood,? he said.

While there are no warning signs or symptoms of early prostate cancer, once a malignant tumor causes the prostate gland to swell significantly, or cancer spreads beyond the prostate, men may have a frequent need to urinate, especially at night. Other symptoms include difficulty starting or stopping a stream of urine; a weak or interrupted urinary stream; inability to urinate standing up; painful or burning sensation during urination or ejaculation or blood in their urine or semen. These are not symptoms of the cancer itself, but symptoms of the blockage from the cancer growth within the prostate and surrounding tissues.

Symptoms of advanced prostate cancer include dull, incessant deep pain or stiffness in the pelvis, lower back, ribs or upper thighs, and arthritic pain in the bones of those areas. Other symptoms include loss of weight and appetite, fatigue nausea or vomiting, swelling of the lower extremities and weakness or paralysis in the lower limbs.

Maura says he knows of people who are undergoing prostate cancer treatment who have finally come to the realization that they are not going to die and that the disease is not necessarily fatal.

?They now find that because they?re undergoing the treatment, they?re looking at it much better. They still haven?t been brave enough to speak about it in a public forum, but they have at least come to grips with the fact that they don?t have to die,? said Maura. ?Some are recovering from the surgery. Some only have one or two more regimens of chemotherapy and radiation and are realizing it?s a whole different ball game than the death knell they thought it was when they first found out.?

The disease that is becoming more ...

The disease that is becoming more prevalent

Diverticular disease is a relatively common condition that happens as a result of aging muscles in the wall of the large bowel. Small bulges or pockets develop in the lining of the intestine, and when those pockets become inflamed or infected, diverticulitis occurs, and it?s estimated that five percent of the population will develop these pockets by the age of 40, and at least 50 percent by the time they reach age 80.

While diverticulitis is not a commonly known topic, it?s becoming more and more prevalent in The Bahamas, according to Dr. Ross Downes, general and laparoscopic surgeon. He says it?s a disease for which prevention is definitely better than cure.

While in most cases, rest, a liquid diet and some oral antibiotics can resolve the issue, for patients with severe symptoms, or who have had two or more severe attacks of diverticulitis, surgery may be necessary.

?In diverticulitis, when these pouches are formed, sometimes stool gets caught in the base of them, that [waste] that gets caught in the base of them leads them to have infection, they break down and they perforate, or create a hole. That hole makes [waste] seep into the intestines.?

Dr. Downes said diverticular can happen two ways ? the body makes them happen, or a person is born with them.

When the pouches form the doctor said they put a person at risk for one of four things ? bleeding, perforation and inflammation, or a stricture, as it blocks off the intestine and they are unable to pass their fecal matter, or have pain.

?You may not realize you?re having an attack ? some people think it?s just gas, and they have recurring attacks of this so-called gas pain, and then the pain becomes constant, they have it all the time, it happens in episodes. They don?t realize a pattern and it becomes something that changes their lifestyle and how they eat because of how bad the pain is.?

Speaking at the recent Doctors Hospital Distinguished Lecture Series, Dr. Downes said one of the main theories behind why people develop diverticular is because of a diet low in fiber. And he said this is one of the main reasons why the disease is starting to become more common in The Bahamas.

?We have lot of fast food chains, a lot of quick food. We don?t eat at home as much, and those meals that we eat are a lot lower in fiber than typically what we ate in the past. Because of that decrease in fiber, you have a decrease stool bulk. And it?s important that your stools are bulky, because it allows your intestines to compress against them very easily and allows you to pass your stool out. When that mass is decreased the bowel has to work a lot harder and there?s a lot more pressure within the intestine. That pressure causes those areas of weakness, which is where the pouches formed, which is where diverticular forms to develop that disease. So we?re finding that a lot more people in our population are having a lot more symptoms from their diverticular. That decrease in fiber weakens the intestine quite a bit, and exposes and increases risk for more and more pouches, or diverticular.?

How it happens

The inflammation erodes and break down means that human waste matter seeps into the abdominal cavity forcing the body to start trying to resist the infection. That starts the inflammation process. The doctor said that process depends on how a person?s body respond, whether it?s mild with just a little pain, or severe during which waste continues to seep into the abdomen and they become very ill. Both conditions, he said, would bring a person to the hospital.

?If you do not have a strong enough immunity, then you?re not able to keep that infection in one place and localize it. So what happens is that infection then spreads throughout the abdomen, and you get pain throughout the entire abdomen. The problem is not just the pain, the problem is also the stress on your body. Sometimes the infection can be smoldering which means it?s not significant enough to make you think you need to go to the hospital or seek treatment. And because you have pain in the abdomen and it can mimic a lot of other conditions.?

?When we look at diverticula, under the age of 40, only five percent of us will have those. It does mean we will have symptoms, it just means that they?re present, and it goes up in age, so by age 50 and older, almost half of us have diverticular; when we get to the age of 80, almost all of us, 80 percent of us have diverticular, so it means the older we get, the more at risk we are for having diverticular, which means the more at-risk we are for having symptoms of diverticular.?

The doctor says there is no difference between men and women when it comes to this disease. He said they are both equally exposed to developing symptoms. But he added that it?s rare in undeveloped countries where they tend to have high-fiber diets.

At Doctors Hospital, he said the diagnosis is quite significant.

?If we had to roughly estimate, if you come into the hospital and you?re over 50, one in 10 people that present to us would have some problem with their diverticular.?

He said the 20 percent of people require surgical therapy, a statistic that he said is not good, and is actually a high number.

?We?re looking at patients over the age of 50, having a significant amount of diverticular, which means they are at increased risk of presenting with the condition, and which means they are at increased risk for having some type of surgery. The problem itself is not just the surgery, the problem is also that these patients present at this age tend to have something else going on ? hypertensive, have a heart problem, so not only are they at risk for a condition that can be quite devastating, but they also have other problems that we have to deal with at the same time.?

In terms of race, the majority of people he said would have pain on their left side, as that is where the piece of the intestine that is most at-risk for developing diverticulitis is.

?Once you?re over the age of 50, one of our first diagnoses, and high up on that list is diverticulitis.?

With the influx of other races into the population, he said medical professionals now have to look out for when they see a patient of Asian descent present to the hospital with right-sided pain. He said they tend to get their diverticular on the right side.

?There is no relation between the male and female and, of course, we see that the disease increases with age.?

Other than having the classic left-sided pain, patients usually don?t have an appetite and they almost always have high-grade fever because of the inflammatory process and the body trying to fight the waste matter that?s spilled out into their abdomen, and try to contain it. He said they present with their heart beating fast, looking dehydrated, blood pressure not normal and lower than usual.

?Once you present to us with left-sided pain, have a high fever and are sick and ill, our consideration in all cases, our number one diagnosis, especially if you?re over the age of 50 is that there?s a perforation there ? stool has already spilled out. We now have to determine how much stool has spilled out, and how your body has responded to that infection. In those situations, almost all times you will be admitted to hospital.?

With diverticular patients would either have inflammation or bleeding and that very few would have both symptoms when they present to the hospital.

Worst case scenario

If by some chance, medical professionals err in their diagnosis of the disease, Dr. Downes said organs can get stuck together, and holes happening across the organs, resulting in the waste going into organs it?s not supposed to ? such as the bladder. In females he said the vagina can be negatively connected, and if the infection is bad enough, waste matter would come out of it, which he said is not a good sign and has to be dealt with immediately.

?One of the considerations that is not as bad is a change in your bowel habits is when two pieces of intestine connect to each other. It changes how your body is able to absorb a lot of its nutrients, because it bypasses a lot of your intestine which essentially doesn?t work, so you have a lot of diarrhea, you?re losing weight, you don?t really get the nutrients from your food, and that?s because if you have diverticulitis, you may have developed a fistula, abnormal connection between one piece of the intestine and the colon.?

Dr. Downes said it?s important for doctors to make the right diagnosis. He said there are a significant amount of different infections and organs involved that can mimic diverticular. In making that diagnosis, that determines how a patient is treated.

He said it?s important that they take a good history, understand the patient?s symptoms, and why they presented, and examine a patient in completeness including blood tests to looks for any infection.

?The good thing about diverticulitis is that in a lot of patients there is an elevated white count or elevated number of cells that fight infection. The problem is that it?s not specific for the disease, so we know there is some inflammation and a problem, but to determine if it?s diverticulitis, we have to combine that with the history and how we?ve examined you, and then it will give us an answer.?

He said abdominal x-rays also aid doctors in their determination as it allows them to see air outside the bowel or if the layer of the intestine wall is thickened, which he said tells them something abnormal is happening. But that a CT scan gives even more information and allows them to be a lot more specific and help doctors localize the exact piece of intestine involved.

?We can see some signs on there that tells us there is a perforation in the bowel wall, and some of the stool that has seeped out, and how bad it is.?


At Doctors Hospital they?ve added a CT colonoscopy to their arsenal in the diverticulitis fight as it gives them even more information, he said.

?Doctors Hospital is probably one of the pioneers in the region in adding this into their arsenal in treating patients, because what we can do now is we can offer a safe procedure that will give us a lot of information about exactly what is going on. It can tell us what?s happening with the lining of the entire intestine and be done pretty quickly.?

For mild diverticulitis, the recommendation is rest, a liquid diet and oral antibiotics; after a few days a soft, low-fiber diet is introduced, and after one month, a high-fiber diet can be started. A colonoscopy is suggested at four to six weeks as diverticulitis can mimic colon cancer.

For severe symptoms the patient is admitted to hospital, given intravenous fluids and antibiotics, and is on bed rest and can intake nothing by mouth until the symptoms subside.

?About 20 percent of people who have diverticulitis require surgery because the condition does not improve. But prevention is better than cure, which is why we recommend screening colonoscopies and high fiber diets and lifestyle changes, because you don?t want to get to the point of even the first stage, because you end up with a whole bunch of problems and it?s difficult to treat,? said Dr. Downes.

In surgery for diverticulitis, he said, at Doctors Hospital they have moved into performing more minimally invasive surgeries to lessen the stress on the body, and of complications from wound infection, wound break down, and hernia breaking down which were all feared complications.

Only in very ill patients, where they have to get in quickly and see what?s going on will they do regular surgery, because they don?t have the luxury of time to get the patient prepared as they?re not stable enough to tolerate that type of procedure.

?You need to get in that belly, get them washed out and solve the leakage,? he said.

?Once you are the ideal candidate, meaning that you are not sick, not unstable to tolerate the procedure, we do one tiny incision by the belly button and are able to go in there, wash out the belly, deal with the diseased part of the intestine, connect it together or bring out the end if we need to. So the less incisions or size of incisions means the less stress your body is going to tolerate, as well as the decreased number of complications that we find associated now that we are doing more of these minimally invasive procedures.?

Stressing that prevention is better than cure, Dr. Downes encourages people to ingest a high-fiber diet, recognize the condition, and seek medical advice as early as possible.

$260K-plus raised to date by Sixth ...

$260K-plus raised to date by Sixth Annual CIBC First Caribbean Walk For the Cure

Fundraising for one of the region?s largest cancer care and awareness events has kicked off across the English-speaking and Dutch Caribbean with over $267,119 being raised so far from over 160 corporate supporters.

The sixth edition of CIBC FirstCaribbean?s Walk for the Cure is expected to again attract over 20,000 walkers and runners across the 17 territories where the bank operates. The walks will take place over the weekend of September 30 and October 1.

?We are really excited about this year?s walk. There is a surge of energy throughout our organization as hundreds of our staff are already busy with a number of fundraising events as well as planning for the various walks,? said Trevor Torzsas, executive co-chair of the walk and managing director, customer relationship and management.

?Last year we raised $500,000 all of which we donated to support the life-changing work of our partner cancer care organizations in each of the countries where we operate. This year we are going to do all that we can to ensure that we surpass last year?s figures,? said Mark St. Hill, the other executive co-chair and managing director, retail and business banking.

?As a corporate family we know the pain and loss that cancer inflicts. Raising awareness, championing early detection and making life just a little more comfortable for those with cancer, their families and caregivers is what our walk is about,? said St. Hill.

The funds raised are used to provide assistance, care and counseling to patients and their families as well as to raise awareness through education campaigns across the region. They also help the various organizations to assist with the purchase and maintenance of equipment used in the diagnosis and treatment of patients.

Over the past five years the bank has raised over $1.3 million from the event primarily supported by generous corporate donors and diverse fundraising activities hosted by staff members.

The co-chairs said the bank will be launching its revamped walk registration and donation website very shortly which is expected to offer increased opportunities for further fundraising.

They praised the fundraising efforts of the bank?s staff and the enthusiastic support of the business community who have been coming on board as platinum, gold, silver and bronze sponsors.

This year the bank?s business in The Bahamas has partnered with Sister Sister Breast Cancer Support Group and the Cancer Society of The Bahamas to stage the Walk for the Cure.

The walk is also held to coincide with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation?s CIBC Run for the Cure sponsored by the bank?s parent company, CIBC. CIBC has been supporting this event for 21 years, donating millions to breast cancer research in Canada.



The importance of flossing

The importance of flossing

Periodontist Dr. Antoine Clarke encourages flossing as one part of a regular hygiene routine that also includes brushing teeth at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day. He says the main purpose of flossing is to decrease plaque (bacteria).

?The long-term benefit number one is it [flossing] decreases plaque that builds up around teeth. Plaque induces inflammation that leads to gingival inflammation, swelling and can also cause tooth decay,? said Dr. Clarke who practices out of Rose North House on Collins Avenue

?I?ve been practicing for over 20 years and I?ve seen the benefits with [people who floss] and those who don?t ? those that come in with regular oral hygiene habits ? that use toothbrushes, interdental cleaners and go for regular checkups, and those that don?t.?

Dr. Clarke is one of many dental professionals who advocate flossing even in the face of reports over the years that have cited research that says that flossing may not be as important as some experts have made it out be, and who say that the medical benefits of dental floss are unproven. Whenever those reports surface, he says he?s never bothered much. He only makes it a point to speak to his patients and remind them of its importance.

?Patients need to always floss at least a minimum of once a day. There is always a tight spot or spots in every individual that need urgent care, and if we leave food particles, plaque, between the teeth or around the gum, you develop either dental caries [cavities], or periodontal disease. It minimizes those two diseases right there.?

The United States (U.S.) federal government has recommended flossing since 1979, first in a surgeon general?s report and later in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans issued every five years.

The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), for specialists in gum disease and implants have cited that flossing prevents buildup of gunk known as plaque, early gum inflammation called gingivitis and tooth decay.

?The main purpose of flossing is to remove plaque [bacteria]. Some individuals don?t have the manual dexterity to get between the teeth. Some individuals over the years may have had numerous restorations ? amalgams, filling, composites, crowns, veneers, bridges ? all these things floss needs to be able to clean. In the absence of floss, those individuals would develop dental decay, which is on the rise. Also what we consider recurrent decay, which is also at a higher increase.?

The periodontist said periodontal disease is influenced and takes place over a period of time, and is also influenced by multiple factors. He said the AAP recommends that studies need to be more detailed as relates to the efficacy of daily flossing.

Over the years, the one thing he?s noticed, he said, is that many people floss incorrectly, moving the floss in a sawing motion instead of up and down the sides of the teeth. According to Dr. Clarke, the wrong way to floss is tying the floss between your fingers and not having control. He said the other wrong way to floss entails using it like a saw between the teeth.

The right way, he said, is to roll off at least 10 inches of floss, wrap it around the two index fingers so that you can control it, wrap the floss around the tooth and proceed in an up and down motion.

Dr. Clarke says patients should continue to include flossing as part of their daily oral hygiene habits.

?Flossing from the early 60s has been one of the main adjuncts in keeping bacteria and oral diseases under control, and is probably one of the least expensive mains in maintenance therapy ? $3 for a box of floss or $600 to $2,000 for a yearly visit to the dentist,? said Dr. Clarke.

The AAP also recommends flossing as one part of a regular hygiene routine that also includes brushing your teeth at least twice a day, and flossing at least once a day.

The AAP in association with the ADA recommends that patients need to floss in conjunction with other home care products.

?Regular dental oral hygiene and care is based on a number of things ? not just flossing,? said Dr. Clarke. ?Flossing alone does not show any strong scientific evidence to prevent any of those things. Flossing is one of a few dental cleaners that helps in dental hygiene,? he said. ?The AAP shows that the interdental cleaners is an essential part of periodontal care and maintenance, and that includes floss, small brushes, special wooden or plastic picks, sticks or water flossers ? all of these are adjuncts to help.?

When flossing first gained acceptance, no proof was required of remedies. Dentist Levi Spear Parmly is credited with inventing floss in the early 19th century. By the time the first floss patent was issued, in 1874, the applicant noted that dentists were widely recommending its use.

The ADA has been promoting floss universally since 1908.



Wellness expert urges new look at h...

Wellness expert urges new look at how diabetes is treated

For patients suffering from Type 2 diabetes, the daily prick is as predictable as the changing of the tides. But the wave of wellness that is sweeping the medical industry may just be changing the way doctors treat diabetes. And one local expert who treated hundreds of patients in emergency rooms at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) and the private hospital in New Providence before dedicating his practice to preventative medicine and healthy lifestyles has already reversed the symptoms in a patient who is now insulin-free.

?It has been estimated that there are nearly 40,000 people living with diabetes in The Bahamas and another 30,000-plus who present with pre-diabetic conditions,? said Dr. Arlington Lightbourne, founder of the Wellness Clinic, Collins Avenue. ?Type 2 diabetes simply means that there is too much sugar in the blood because the cells are not sensitive to the insulin which opens them up to let the sugar in. This is called insulin resistance, meaning the insulin that the pancreas produces is not working, and for years, the treatment has been to either inject or increase the stimulation of insulin. However, evidence suggests that the more insulin you have, the greater the severity of insulin resistance, which means ultimately the more diabetic you are.

?The number one cause of insulin resistance is insulin,? he said.

Dr. Lightbourne compares the increasing reliance on insulin for the diabetic patient to a repeated delivery of a product the recipient already has.

?Let?s say I delivered a five-gallon bottle of water to your door. The first time I deliver it, you are grateful because you were out of water and thirsty so it was great,? said Dr. Lightbourne. ?But if I come back the next day and the day after and I keep offering water, you are going to send me away. It is the same with insulin. The pancreas has no problem making insulin; the problem is that it?s not working.

The doctor said the evidence shows that the key is to decrease insulin and cortisol in the body by removing the stimulus for insulin production using nutritional and lifestyle interventions.

?This results in increased sensitivity by the cell to available insulin and that process begins to reverse insulin resistance,? he said. ?It just takes information and commitment on the part of the patient. And what patient suffering from diabetes two would not want to get better naturally??

Dr. Lightbourne said he has reversed the symptoms in a patient whose diabetes was life-threatening.

?This was a 67-year-old man with extremely high blood pressure,? said Dr. Lightbourne. ?Normal A1C (glucose measurement) should be below 5.7. His was 11. Most physicians, sensing the danger, would immediately put him on insulin.?

Instead, Dr. Lightbourne and support staff, including a wellness coach, got the patient to agree to a structured program including changing his dietary habits, increasing exercise and reducing stress. He was never treated with insulin. The changes in lifestyle were initially dramatic, but the patient adapted well and the results were outstanding. Today the wellness expert said the patient?s A1C count is 5.4 and his blood pressure is well controlled.

Another patient in his early 30s, suffered from clearly identifiable lifestyle-related issues.

?He had a very stressful job that often kept him at work until late. He would go home tired and hungry and eat a whole pizza before falling asleep,? said Dr. Lightbourne. ?So here he was, highly intelligent, very productive and extremely responsible to the company he worked for, but he was killing himself. Not even 35 yet, he weighed in the high 280s, had very high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes. We worked with him on a daily basis, a lot of coaching. He has lost more than 40 pounds, his diabetes is almost gone, and his blood pressure is now well controlled. He feels like a new person, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy diet. He looks great and feels great.?

Dr. Lightbourne says everyone can improve their health and well-being if they really want to.?

?People think healthy food is expensive. The cost of a piece of fruit instead of a bag of chips is negligible by comparison to the cost of poor health in terms of morbidity and quality of life. Once you start on the journey of living well, you will never want to go back. And the beauty is that when you are on that journey, it?s perfectly okay to ?cheat? once in a while and treat yourself to something really special,? he said.


NY Times

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