Category Archives: Blog

blood pressure check-up

Misconceptions About High Blood Pressure

check_upDoes high blood pressure worry you? If so, your concern is well-founded. If we leave this condition untreated, hypertension can lead to a range of other health problems, including heart disease and stroke. By knowing more about high blood pressure it can help you to prevent this from damaging your health or that of someone you love.

The following are some misconceptions about high blood pressure to help you.

1. High blood pressure isn’t a big deal

Well, this can definitely kill you if you ignore the warnings. Your heart normally beats regularly, pumping blood through the vessels over your entire body. The blood pushes against the sides of your blood vessels as the blood is pushed by the heartbeat. These vessels are flexible and can widen or constrict as needed to keep the blood flowing. If your blood begins to push too hard against the vessels, this is high blood pressure that can cause the arteries to become stiff over time, leading to damage of your blood vessels, heart, kidneys and other organs. Heart disease and stroke are both caused by high blood pressure. You may not even know you have it.

2. High blood pressure can’t be prevented

Even if you are at a greater risk of high blood pressure, there are things you can do to prevent it. Keep our weight at a healthy level, eat a healthy diet, limit how much salt you eat, limit how much alcohol you drink, don’t smoke tobacco, get regular exercise and don’t let stress build up.

3. It’s OK as long as one number is normal

There is sometimes confusion with the two numbers. The top one is your systolic blood pressure and represents the force of blood through your blood vessels during your heartbeat. 119 or below is normal systolic blood pressure. If it is 120-139 it is prehypertension, 140 and greater is high blood pressure and 150 and greater is high blood pressure in those over age 60. The bottom number is your diastolic blood pressure and represents the force of blood through your blood vessels in between heartbeats, while your heart is resting. A number of 79 or below is normal, 80-89 is prehypertension and 90 and greater is hypertension. Experts say the heart can tolerate a high top number better than a high bottom number. Blood pressure does change throughout the day.

4. Treatment

Some things you might have heard as treatment and put fear in you are giving up your favorite foods or taking drugs with annoying side effects. Your doctor will work with you to come up with a suitable plan of foods and drugs for you. Some approaches might be using the DASH eating plan of less fat and saturated fat as well as eating more fresh fruits and veggies. Weight control will lower your risk of high blood pressure and decreasing the amount of alcohol you consume. Tobacco smoke can make blood pressure rise, so quit! Medications will likely be prescribed to control our high blood pressure as diuretics, ACE inhibitors, alpha-blockers and calcium channel blockers or beta-blockers.

5. Treatment doesn’t work

Your doctor can develop a comprehensive program for management of your high blood pressure. Check your blood pressure often, follow your treatment plan, see your doctor often, ask your doctor for information about meds and their side effects and reduce the in take of salt. You can remain healthy for years to come by following your treatment plans.

Dr Fredda Branyon

Girl Wearing a Hat

Hats for Cancer Patients

I recently saw a report on the media about the availability of hats that can be used for cancer patients. I searched for information on this subject as I think this is an innovative idea that will make life easier for that woman having to deal with her cancer and hair loss. Why should losing the hair be another issue at a time like this?

There are stores, catalogs and websites that now specialize in hats, caps and turbans for people that are experiencing hair loss caused from their cancer treatment. You don’t have to spend a lot of money for specialized head coverings, as any type of hat can work for you. Spice it up and choose something fashionable that makes you feel better.

When you are selecting the hat, be aware that it should be deep and will fit down over your head. Many men’s-style of hats and 1920’s make a statement and will work well. Avoid those that you can see through and will give little protection from the sun and won’t mask your hair loss as well.

Where will you be wearing the hat? A wide-brimmed hat is fun for outdoor use and does a really great job of shading those UV rays, also blocks overhead lighting at the office but might be rather awkward in crowded spaces like elevators, trains and restaurants. This type might also be difficult to wear while driving when it hits the back of your seat.

Those adjustable baseball caps are popular and you can find a really wide variety and choose a nice, casual look. Some of them expose part of your scalp so use that sunscreen if this is the type you choose. There is a wide variety of hats available through the American Cancer Society’s TLC catalog. The turban is made of soft stretch fabrics that come in a comfortable and wide range of colors. There are public service programs for women with cancer that will teach various beauty techniques and will show you how to make quick and easy turbans out of t-shirts. Spice that turban up with a broach, but don’t venture into “Madam Zorba the Fortune-Teller” area! You can even give a little extra height to the hair underneath by adding a shoulder pad or two.

Just be sure your choice of hat fits snuggly but not restrictive where you might get a headache. You can add a layer of foam to the inside of a loose-fitting hat to tighten it. If the hat has an inner hatband, slip the padding between the hat and band or buy the foam that has an adhesive backing and attach it directly to the hat. The elasticized inner bands that adjust to the size of your head can usually be found at camping and travel stores.

You will need to wear a wig cap, sleeping cap or scarf underneath to protect your scalp from irritation unless the hat is made of extremely soft material. Retailers and many stores online often offer sleep caps and wig caps. If you choose to use a scarf, be sure to use a cotton scarf and not silk, as it will be too slippery. Just remember that bald can be beautiful, too!

Dr Fredda Branyon

herbal_med

What Is Homeopathy?

Homeopathy is a medical system that is based on the belief that the body can cure itself. Tiny amounts of natural substances such as plants and minerals are used that they believe will stimulate the healing process. In the 1700’s in Germany, this belief was developed and is common in many European countries. It is not as popular in the United States and is sometimes poo pood. I must say that I had two years of Homeopathy education by some of the world’s best teachers. I have seen what would be thought of as miracles with certain patients that used Homeopathy. In certain countries, there are Homeopathy hospitals.

herbal_medThe belief behind homeopathy is “like cures like”, or rather something that brings on symptoms in a healthy person can treat an illness with similar symptoms, given in a very small dose. This is supposed to trigger the body’s natural defenses. As an example a red onion makes your eyes water and this is the reason it is used in homeopathic remedies for allergies. Other treatments for ailments are made from poison ivy, white arsenic, crushed whole bees and an herb call arnica.

The homeopathic doctors, who are called homeopaths, weaken these various ingredients by adding water or alcohol. It is then shaken as part of a process called potentization, which they believe, transfers the healing essence. They also believe that the lower the dose, the more powerful the medicine. Many of these remedies no longer contain any molecules of the original substance and they come in a variety of forms like sugar pellets, liquid drops, creams, gels and tablets.

When visiting a homeopath they will ask a number of questions about your mental, emotional and physical health to prescribe the remedy that best matches all of your symptoms and then will tailor the treatment best for you.

Over-the-counter homeopathic remedies can also be purchased at drugstores and health food stores. The dosage and quality of these various products will depend on the manufacturer.

Some conditions treated by homeopathy are:
✓ Migraines
✓ Depression
✓ Chronic fatigue syndrome
✓ Rheumatoid arthritis
✓ Irritable bowel syndrome
✓ Premenstrual syndrome

Homeopathy can also be used for minor issues like bruises, scrapes, toothaches, headaches, nausea, coughs and colds.

Homeopathic medicine should not be used for life-threatening illnesses like asthma, cancer, heart disease or in emergencies. Avoid using it in place of vaccines. The homeopathic products are called “nosodes” and are marketed as an alternative for vaccines, but there is no research to prove they are effective.

placebo_effectThe research on whether homeopathic medicine works or not is mixed. There are some studies that show homeopathic remedies are helpful while still others don’t. When symptoms improve because you believe the treatment is working, it is considered the placebo effect. Some critics attribute the benefits of homeopathic remedies to this effect. This can trigger the brain to release chemicals that will briefly relieve the pain or other symptoms that you might be having. Because some of the theories behind homeopathy don’t line up with the principles of chemistry and physics, the doctors are divided. The scientists argue that a medicine with no active ingredient should not have any effect on the body.

The FDA oversees the homeopathic remedies but they aren’t checked to see if they’re safe or effective. Most of these are watered down and don’t cause any side effects. Some exceptions can occur because these medicines can contain a large amount of an active ingredient like a heavy metal, which can be dangerous. In 2016 a warning was issued by the FDA against using homeopathic teething tablets and gels because of possible health risks to infants and children.

Before trying any of these alternative treatments, talk to your doctor. He will make sure that they are safe and won’t interact with any of the other medications that you might be taking.

Dr Fredda Branyon

Anise

Benefits of Anise Oil

Anise oil has a licorice-flavored taste that offers body-wide benefits that were used by many ancient civilizations. Many of today’s pharmaceuticals take advantage of anise’s benefits by adding this herb to some drugs, like cough syrup and throat medications. These drugs are neither all natural nor safe according to pharmaceuticals. It needs to be used in its natural form for maximum benefits, or as anise oil.

The anise essential oil originally came from Asia and is prevalent in Mediterranean nations. Spain, France and Russia also produce it as well as being found in the wild of other countries. The Romans originally introduced anise to Europe and early settlers brought it to North America. One primary use was to promote digestive health and was often added with cumin and fennel in ancient Rome to a cake that was eaten after meals. The Egyptians used the herb as an ingredient in breads. There are many uses for anise oil that range from cooking to flavorings to medications.

Some uses of anise oil include:

  • Narcotic and sedative as easing epileptic and hysteric episodes
  • Pain reliever for relief of arthritic pain
  • Antiseptic to clean wounds and help protect against infections
  • Decongestant/expectorant to help eliminate congestion in the respiratory tract
  • Flavoring agent for food and beverages and as an ingredient in salads and soups
  • Food processing in meats like pepperoni, pizza toppings, Italian sausage and
    similar food products
  • Breast milk production as it has phytoestrogenic properties
  • Libido enhancer as a sex drive enhancer and as an aphrodisiac (in ancient times)
  • Natural head lice remover as a safer alternative to chemical lice treatments
  • Insecticide as it is toxic to insects
  • For oral health when added to toothpastes, mouthwashes and syrups
  • Fragrance when added to soaps, detergents, lotions and skin cream

Anise oil has antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, stimulant and expectorant properties and is added to medicines, such as cough syrups and lozenges. The antibacterial properties of this oil are useful against bacterial strains like Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus, pyogenes, Escherichia coli and Corynebacterium ovis. It is useful against Candida albicans and fungal strains like Alternaria, Aspergilus, Cladosporium, Fusarium and Penicillin. Relieving indigestion, flatulence and acute chest pains are also benefits of anise oil as well as spasms, cramps, diarrhea, convulsions, muscle pain, acute chest pain and will also aid in promoting the elimination of excess gas in the digestive system. The oil will help to loosen mucus or phlegm and help ease breathing troubles as asthma and other respiratory issues.

Five drops of anise oil mixed with 1 tablespoon of almond oil that is massaged onto your stomach will relieve stomach cramps, mixing 1 to 2 drops with warm water to gargle with will freshen breath, using 2 to 3 drops in a diffuser helps respiratory conditions, a couple drops in a carrier oil and massaged in the affected area will ease menstrual pain. Anise oil will also help treat hiccups and treat nausea, migraine and vertigo.

Anise oil is deemed generally safe for human consumption and does not pose a threat when it is consumed or used in moderation. In heavy doses it can aggravate certain type of cancers. Pregnant and nursing women may benefit from its use. Avoid administering the oil directly on the delicate skin of infants and young children. Any side effect might be an allergic reaction, mouth or lip inflammation or nausea, vomiting or seizures. If any of these occur, call your doctor immediately.

Dr Fredda Branyon

Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Truck

Ben & Jerry’s Being Sued

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) alleges that Ben & Jerry’s do-good reputation and marketing campaigns are all smoke and mirrors because they state the ice cream is made using milk from happy cows and raised in caring dairies. The lawsuit claims that promoting their program as involving family operated farms that must meet the program’s basic requirements, leads consumers to believe the products are produced using animal-raising practices that are more humane than in regular factory-style dairy operations.

Ben & Jerry’s sets itself apart from other ice cream makers because of their claims of values-led sourcing and carrying dairy promises. Consumers seek out products produced with farming and grazing practices that lead to humanely raised animals, clean water, healthy soil and a toxin-free environment.

They claim that their labels do not list what’s really inside like milk from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO’S). Their milk and cream is acquired from a co-op in St. Albans City, Vermont. About 360 different farms contribute milk to the co-op but less than 25% adhere to Ben & Jerry’s Craig dairy standards. So they believe when all the milk is mixed together, they don’t know how much has met the company’s varying dairy standards.

Another complaint is on the company’s claims that their products help reduce environmental impact, an ironic marketing claim for a product tainted by chemical pesticides. In July 2017 it was reported that 10 of 11 samples tested came back positive for glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide.

Ben & Jerry’s released a vision of sustainable agriculture that they would stop using ingredients made with crops chemically dried using glyphosate by 2020. They intend to come out with a new product line this year that will include organic dairy in the base mix and anticipate will only represent up to 6% of total US sales. It is OCA’s belief that they have no intention of sourcing the bulk of their dairy from organic sources in the future.

Dairy is a major source of pollution in Vermont, a state that is feeding their cows heavily on pesticide-sprayed genetically engineered corn. OCA hopes the lawsuit will prompt Ben & Jerry’s to clean up its ice cream. As long as consumers continue to buy their product, they have little reason to change. OCA has created a petition to encourage Ben & Jerry’s to convert to organic and stop tricking customers into thinking they’re organic by claiming to be all-natural and environmentally responsible.

I lived in Vermont for years and never witnessed dairy farmer’s not abiding by the law of Vermont. Ben & Jerry’s factory was immaculately clean when we visited and at that time, I found everything very sterile and controlled. I personally am a fan of their ice cream and think it is one of the best around. My hope would be that they make an attempt to help the Vermont dairy farmers transition to organic.

Dr Fredda Branyon

old man in pain

Age-Related Pains

old man in pain

If you are having aches, you aren’t alone as there are around 100 million Americans that have some kind of chronic pain that is the long-term kind that sticks around after an injury or illness. Millions more have some sort of short-term pain. Some types of pain are more common during a certain time in your life. If you know ahead of time to plan for them, you might even avoid irritation or injury in the first place, according to Jonathan L. Glashow, MD, chief of sports medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.

Common types of Chronic Pain in Americans and Ways to Help ease the Ache:

1. Lower Back Pain.

This is the most common chronic pain. Those having no back injury and under 50 is usually the result of sitting for long stretches and putting too much pressure on the discs in your back. Back pain is more likely to occur during your 30’s and 40’s, but can happen at any age. Older adults are definitely more likely to have back pain from conditions like arthritis. Strength training and cardio exercise are helpful as they increase blood flow and help to build your core muscles that support your spine. Physical therapy is an option.

2. Headaches

Those migraines, and even regular ones can cause other symptoms, like nausea, and are the second most common type of chronic pain. The cause of why we have headaches isn’t known by the experts, but they can be triggered by things like muscle tension, dehydration, your period, stress, weather changes, and certain foods like chocolate. If it’s just in the forehead and temple area it could be a tension headache so massage the area or apply menthol cream. Meds like acetaminophen, ibuprofen or one especially for migraines that contain caffeine, acetaminophen or aspirin can offer relief but don’t take it for more than 3 days without consulting with your doctor.

3. Osteoarthritis

This happens when the protective cartilage between your joint and bone breaks down and causes pain in the hands, knees and hips. Staying physically active is the key as it keeps blood circulating that can keep your joints healthy and reduce pain while strengthening the muscles around the joint.

4. Non-Arthritis Joint Pain

This feels like it is in or around the joints and isn’t the result of OA. This is usually tendinitis and makes it tough or painful to get moving. It’s caused by activities that involve repetitive motions and likely to strike over age 40. Use RICE, which means rest, ice, compression and elevation. Take a break from the activities that might aggravate your joint.

5. Pelvic Pain

If not caused by your period, it may be the result of another condition like endometriosis or Irritable bowel syndrome. This is more likely to strike between the ages of 18 and 50. Ask your natural doctor what he or she suggest instead of hard pain meds or Over-the-counter pain meds can help but call your doctor if you have below-the-belt pain that lasts very long.

6. Carpal Tunnel

When a nerve runs from your arm to your palm and becomes pressed or squeezed, this causes pain in your fingers and wrist, numbness and/or tingling and is carpal tunnel. Most likely to strike during your mid-40’s to mid-60’s. Physical therapy and short-term use of over-the-counter pain relievers will help, but in some cases surgery is the best treatment.

7. Muscle Strain or Pain

With age your muscle fibers become less dense and makes them less flexible and prone to injury and soreness. With every passing decade you are more likely to get this type of strain. Avoid hurting yourself in the first place by not lifting, pushing or pulling heavy items without help. Stretching and exercises like yoga and Pilates can help with this.

Dr Fredda Branyon

Cancer Cells

IFT20 Protein & Cancer Cells

It has been discovered by an international research team that the IFT20 protein helps some cancer cells to invade by facilitating the transportation of membranes and proteins within parts of the cell. Most human cells have cilia on the surface, acting as cell antenna that receives information from outside the cell. The protein IFT20 is present in most human cells and plays an essential role in the formation and functions of these primary cilia. It acts as a cargo adaptor in healthy cells to transport proteins along microtubules within cilia but many of these cells lose cilia when they become cancerous. For the first time light is being shed from research on the function of IFT20 in non-ciliated cancer cells. That has brought to light that this discovery has potential applications for developing new cancer treatment methods that block invasive cancer cells by targeting the IFT20. The Scientific Reports published the findings online.

An international team including Associate Professor NISHITA Michiru, Professor MINAMI Yasuhiro, Professor Victor W. Hsu and Professor Gregory J. Pazour carried out the research. These professors are affiliated with Kobe University, Harvard Medical School and University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Cell invasion causes most cancer-related deaths and the spread of cancer cells to other parts of the body. Scientists are searching for mechanisms that control the invasive properties of cancer cells to counter this.

It was already known that a cell membrane protein known as Ror2 expresses highly in various cancer cells and promotes cancer cell invasion and metastasis. Various kinds of non-ciliated cancer cells were investigated by the team, and discovered that Ror2 promoted cancer cell invasiveness by inducing the expression of IFT20.

Many tumor cells are able to break through the barrier of the extracellular matrix and infiltrate their surroundings. It was demonstrated that in tumor cells IFT20 induces the Golgi complex to form microtubules by promoting interaction between the Golgi proteins GM130 and AKAP450. They state that this research has clarified a new molecular mechanism related to the formation of Golgi-derived microtubules, and its important role in invasive cancer cells.

It is still unclear about the relationship between loss of cilia and a cell’s cancerous properties. In non-ciliated cancer cells it is clear that IFT20 is responsible for the formation of invadopodia. The line of analyzing the relationship between IFT20 and the loss of cilia could help to shed light on the fundamental question of why many cancer cells lack cilia. If the specific regulatory mechanism of IFT20 in cancer cells is revealed, this could be used to develop treatment that targets IFT20 to block invasive cancer cells.

Dr Fredda Branyon

girl_stressed

Relation of Stress and Heart Attack

Have you ever really sat down and thought about what is real stress and how much do you have? What are the degrees of stress that you experience? Has it become a habit that we create stress in our lives?

One of the most dangerous health hazards we can endure in our lives is stress. Stress was, from evolutionary perspective, a lifesaving biological function that enabled us to instinctively protect ourselves against an assailant, run away from a predator or take down a prey. In the modern world we are activating this same biological reaction to activities and events that have no life-threatening implications.

girl_stressedJust speaking in public, filling out tax forms and sitting in traffic jams can activate stress. Marinating corrosive stress hormones around the clock can have very serious consequences for our health. Fat accumulation, high blood pressure and heart attack are a few of the health consequences that are associated with chronic stress. If you have a high-stress lifestyle, it can raise your risk of heart attack. Your heart and mind are so closely interlinked that your mental state can have a significant influence on your heart health.

According to recent research, stress increases your risk of heart attack and stroke by causing overactivity in your amygdala. This is your brain’s fear center, located in your temporal lobe that is activated in response to real and perceived threats.

One of its most basic jobs is to keep you safe by bio-chemically preparing you to fight or flee as needed, but can have devastating effects by experiencing this on a daily basis. By having overactive fear response, it is a recipe for heart attack and stroke. Those who are highly stressed have a higher activity in the amygdala that triggers inflammation and a risk factor for heart disease. If the amygdala is healthy, it can help to protect the brain against stress, but if it’s hyper-excitable, the result of chronic stress or other factors can amplify the stress response.

As your stress level rises, so does your level of disease-promoting white blood cells, so this is just another way by which stress can lead to atherosclerosis, plaque rupture and myocardial infarction. High stress also releases norepinephrine that can cause the dispersal of bacterial biofilms from the walls of your arteries and allow plaque deposits to break loose, triggering a heart attack.

Some common signs and symptoms of stress include:
▪ Sleeping poorly, trouble falling asleep and excessive tiredness
▪ Binge drinking
▪ Lack of appetite or overeating
▪ Having a “short fuse” or being quick to anger or losing your temper
▪ Feeling overwhelmed, sad or irritable; frequent crying or quick to tears
▪ Headaches and/or general aches and pains

The conclusion to controlling the amygdala’s role in inflammation seems to be learning to reduce the activity in your amygdala. When the amygdala is triggered, oxygen is shunted from your internal organs, brain and to the extremities. Muscular function takes precedence in the fight mode. Step one would be to bring oxygen back to your brain by simply breathing in to a count of four, holding your breath for another count of four, breathe out to the count of four and then hold again for a count of four.

girl_relaxedThere are more breathing techniques like the 4-7-8 breathing and a third method taught by Patrick McKeown, the teacher of the Buteyko Breathing Method. These will help if you are experiencing anxiety or panic attacks, or if you feel stressed and your mind can’t stop racing. Using these relaxation responses will help counter stress and allow the muscles in your body to loosen. There are visualization techniques and mindfulness training that can help with this.

Emotional freedom technique is a targeted technique you can use for stress relief. A stressor becomes a problem when your response is negative, your feelings and emotions are inappropriate for the circumstances, your response lasts an excessively long time or you’re feeling continuously overwhelmed, overpowered or overworked. Bottom line is to keep your stress at a minimal and learn to control your emotions as best you can or try using one of the aforementioned techniques.

Dr Fredda Branyon

Leather Goods

Dangers Lurking in Leather

 

Leather Goods

Those enticing handbags, jackets, sofas and armchairs we view as we walk through the mall are normally made from genuine leather. Every car interior covets the new leather smell we all love. But, where is it that this leather comes from? Of course, we know most are from pigs, cows, snakes, buffalo, kangaroos and even some from fish and ostriches. Leather products are sought after and the global market for the plethora of leather applications is gargantuan. A digital publication of the Knight Science Journalism Fellowship Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, estimates the leather industry to be around $200 billion annually. Footwear is the largest seller and worth about $47 billion while gloves come in next at $12.3 billion. But did we ever think about the negative impact these products might have on our health?

Leather tanning is a big industry business in Bangladesh. About 90% of the country’s leather was tanned in Hazaribagh in 2015 and 2016 to the tune of about $1.5 billion in leather and leather goods. These tanneries have dumped about 5.8 million gallons of untreated liquid waste into the Buriganga River that included scraps of hide, flesh, surfectants, chromium III and ammonium sulphate. This river was once the main source of drinking water and has become so polluted now that it is widely regarded as unsafe for human consumption.

The chromium has been associated with several negative effects for both human health and the environment as it can easily oxidize to chromium VI that is a suspected carcinogen. This causes acute and chronic damage to the aquatic environment. Chickens are fed tannery scraps as a staple and most people there eat an average of 250 grams of chicken per day and ingest 4X the amounts of chromium deemed healthy.

Human health is adversely affected by tanning toxins and dyes where studies have linked them to nasal, testicular and bladder cancers. These have all been linked by studies to the dyes or solvents used during the leather finishing process. Later lung and pancreatic cancers began to be reported in association with leather dust and tanning.

Most consumers have no way of knowing where the leather in their products come from. Some designers and retailers refuse to purchase from tanneries where human rights are violated because of the age of the workers, conditions and chemicals used for processing. The fashion industry should have a moral responsibility as well as the consumers towards the use of leather products. Even those dog chews that we buy for the pet we love like our children can be toxic. It does keep their teeth strong and some have meat or protein in them, but it is a by-product of the leather industry. Dyes and highly toxic chemicals are used to make these chewy toys and then they are often painted with titanium dioxide to make them a pale, uniform color. Testing might reveal substances like lead, arsenic, mercury and formaldehyde. These can cause digestive issues, including diarrhea and even become a choking hazard or cause dangerous blockages in the esophagus or digestive tract.

Giving up leather as part of our wardrobe is an individual choice, but do consider the environmental issues before making a decision as the process of tanning leather is incredibly toxic. Try turning to vegetable, tree-bark or other natural tanning alternatives. The finished product isn’t as stable or supple as the chemically generated methods, but much safer. Synthetically tanned leather might be another method of choice. Even fabrics as cork, wood, linen, hemp, cotton, bamboo and ultrasuede are good alternatives. The chemical Chromium VI has been labeled a known human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service, the World Health Organization and IARC and has become strictly regulated.

Dr Fredda Branyon

Dentist Holding Dental Implants

Dental Implant Reduces Infection Risk

I recently read an interesting article written by Catharine Paddock, PhD on aDentist Holding Dental Implants
dental implant that has a slow-release drug reservoir that reduces infection risk. In a laboratory test, the reservoir slowly released a strong antimicrobial agent and showed that the new implant could prevent and eliminate bacterial biofilms, which is a major cause of infection associated with dental implants.

The KU Leuven in Belgium researchers have designed and tested the implant according to a paper published in the journal European Cells and Materials. Dr. Kaat De Cremer, lead author from the Centre of Microbial and Plant Genetics at KU Leuven says that the reservoir in the implant can be filled by removing the cover crew. The implant is made of a porous composite material and the drugs gradually diffuse from the reservoir to the outside of the implant, which is in direct contact with the bone cells. Therefore, the bacteria can no longer form a biofilm.

Bacteria have two life-forms. One form called the planktonic state and exists as single, independent cells, and in the other, they aggregate in a slime-enclosed mass called a biofilm. These biofilms are stubborn and hard to treat. When they become chronic, they are very resistant to antibiotics. Infections of the mouth are often the main reason why dental implants fail, leading to research looking for ways to protect against infection by developing an antimicrobial coating for the implant.

They noted that implant developers are increasingly using materials with rough surfaces because they enlarge the contact and, improving anchorage with bone cells and integration into the bone. The greater surface area also raises the risk of biofilm development. The new implant is a composite of a silicon-based diffusion barrier integrated into a porous, load-bearing titanium structure.

In various lab tests, they filled the reservoir with chlorhexidine, a powerful antimicrobial commonly used as an oral rinse or mouthwash. The chlorhexidine-filled implant stopped Streptococcus mutans, which is a common mouth bacterium that attacks teeth from forming biofilms. Biofilms were also eliminated that were grown on the implant before loading the reservoir. The results prove the implant is effective at both preventing and eliminating biofilms and may potentially be able to prevent and cure infections in patients.

The authors point out that their work is a proof of principle based on tests done in the laboratory and further research should now be done to show that the implants are effective in patients. Several issues need to be addressed including whether the new material fulfills the mechanical requirements of dental implants and whether there is a risk of protein and calcification clogging up the pores. They also note the design of the silicon composite implant suits personalized treatment where different drugs can be loaded into the internal reservoir, depending upon the patient’s individual need. The concept could be translated to any percutaneous implant that can incorporate an internal reservoir as percutaneous fixation devices, as long as this does not compromise the mechanical strength of such load-bearing devices.

Dr Fredda Branyon