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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.

As Pandemic Toll Rises, Science Deniers in Louisiana Shun Masks, Comparing Health Measures to Nazi Germany

Science denial in America didn’t begin with the Trump administration, but under the leadership of President Trump, it has blossomed. From the climate crisis to the COVID-19 pandemic, this rejection of scientific authority has become a hallmark of and cultural signal among many in conservative circles. This phenomenon has been on recent display in Louisiana, where a clear anti-mask sentiment has emerged in the streets and online even as COVID-19 cases rise.
“Are you a masker or a free breather?” Pastor Tony Spell asked the crowd while speaking from the bed of a pickup truck at a July 4 “Save America” rally in Baton Rouge. At the end of March Spell gained international attention for his refusal to stop his church’s services despite Gov. John Bel Edwards’ stay-at-home order, which was issued to slow the Louisiana’s rapid rise in COVID-19 cases.
 
“It has never been about a virus — it is about destroying America,” Spell claimed, before equating a government whose public health measures restrict church gatherings and require protective face coverings in public to Germany under Hitler. A crowd of less than 200 roared in agreement at the rally that was held across from the governor’s mansion. 

Pastor Tony Spell
Pastor Tony Spell speaking at the “Save America” rally in Baton Rouge on July 4.

Attendees of a "Save America" rally in Baton Rouge on July 4
Attendees of the “Save America” rally in Baton Rouge on July 4 including one holding a fan.

On July 8, another conservative voice, Louisiana State Representative Danny McCormick, posted a video on Facebook making a similar comparison to Nazi Germany. “This isn’t about whether you want to wear a mask or you don’t want to wear a mask — this is about your right to wear a mask or not,” McCormick said. “This is about liberty. Your body is your private property … People who don’t wear a mask will be soon painted as the enemy — just as they did the Jews in Nazi Germany. Now is the time to push back before it is too late.”

 At a press conference the day after McCormick posted his video, Gov. Edwards announced that the state had lost its previous gains against the coronavirus. 

McCormick’s statements come about six months into a public health crisis that has infected 71,884 Louisiana residents and killed 3,247, as of July 9. Despite the pandemic’s accelerating and deadly spread, the complaints by McCormick, Pastor Spell, and the others joining them at a handful of protests in Baton Rouge  illustrate a pervasive disdain for science held by many associated with the Republican Party. 

Louisiana State Rep. Danny McCormick
State Representative Danny McCormick at an “End the Shutdown” protest in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on April 25.

State Rep. Danny McCormick's talking points at an "end the shutdown" rally in Louisiana
State Representative Danny McCormick’s talking points on an index card he held while making a speech during an “End the Shutdown” rally in Baton Rouge on April 25.

A DeSmog investigation found that a number of groups behind protests against pandemic stay-home orders are also part of the climate change countermovement, a term coined by sociologist Robert Brulle. U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) has called this network of individuals and organizations disputing climate science the “web of denial.”

April and May rallies in Louisiana pushing to open the state followed larger rallies in Idaho, Michigan, and North Dakota. Helping tie together what Trump has called the “liberate” movement is the State Policy Network (SPN). As DeSmog has reported, SPN is “a network of state-level conservative think tanks advancing pro-corporate agendas, [and] has received money from the likes of the Koch family, the Devos family, the Mercer Family Foundation, and others.” 

Woman with a COVID-19 denial sign at an "end the shutdown" rally in Baton Rouge
Woman with a Covid-19 denial sign at an “End the Shutdown” protest in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on April 25.

Woman with a COVID-19 denial sign targeting Bill Gates, a common target of the right wing
Woman with a Covid-19 denial sign sporting a message for Bill Gates, a common target of the right wing, at an “End the Shutdown” protest in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on April 25.

At an April 25 “End the Shutdown” rally in Baton Rouge, rally-goers, led by Rep. McCormick, marched from the State Capitol building to the nearby lawn across from the governor’s mansion to express their anger with his handling of the crisis. In a speech, McCormick offered talking points to counter Gov. Edwards’ emergency orders meant to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The talking points mirrored a memo sent by GOP political operative Jay Connaughton to Republican State Sen. Sharon Hewitt and shared with GOP state legislators. Hewitt is one of Louisiana’s top conservative leaders. In 2018 she was named “National Legislator of the Year” by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Veronica Lemoa, a stay-at-home mom, at the "end the shutdown" protest on April 25 in Baton Rouge
Veronica Lemoa, a stay-at-home mother, at an “End the Shutdown” protest on April 25, 2020 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 

Young girl at an "Open Louisiana" event in Baton Rouge May 2
Young girl at an “Open Louisiana” event in Baton Rouge on May 2 across from the Governor’s Mansion. 

Despite President Trump’s praise for Gov. Edwards, a Democrat, for his handling of the pandemic, anti-mask protesters are equating the governor’s stay-at-home order and mask mandate with the first step to tyranny. Spell, who was arrested for defying the mask mandate, did not stop with his sharp criticism of the governor — and also had some for Trump. While he is glad the Trump administration deemed churches “essential,” in order to reopen them, Spell proclaimed that he doesn’t need the president’s permission, and warned: “If they can give you your right to go to church, then they can take from you your right to go to church.”


Pastor Tony Spell speaking on the July 4 at rally in Baton Rouge. 

At the July 4 rally, many expressed their support for Trump, and saw the upcoming presidential election as the most important in their lifetime. They labeled those who wear protective face coverings “sheep.” Out of the less than 200 rally-goers, I saw only two people with face masks. One was worn by a man that had the words “Dixie Beer” painted on it, which was expressing his disdain over the decision by the owner of the New Orleans beer company to change the beer’s name in response to anti-racism demonstrations. The other mask I noticed at the rally was worn on a woman’s arm. 

The only man wearing a face mask at a "save America" rally on July 4
The only man wearing a mask on his face at a “Save America” rally in Baton Rouge on July 4. He expressed his displeasure that the owner of Dixie Beer is changing the New Orleans beer’s name. 

Woman with a mask on her arm at the "save America" July 4 rally
Woman wearing a face mask on her arm at the “Save America” rally in Baton Rouge on July 4. 

In an April 1 op-ed in Newsweek, Rochester Institute of Technology philosophy professor Lawrence Torcello, and Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Michael E. Mann wrote: “Unfortunately, President Trump has again emerged as a leading source of disinformation. Having called COVID-19, as he previously did with climate change, a ’hoax,’ he now resorts to calling COVID-19 the ‘Chinese Virus.’ In the case of both COVID-19 and climate change, he has outsourced policy decision-making to science deniers. In both cases he is as wrong as he is xenophobic — and in both cases his predictable disinformation endangers lives.”

In February, before the first COVID-19 cases were identified in Louisiana, Gov. Edwards finally broke away from Trump on espousing climate science denial. 

Louisiana will not just accept or adapt to climate change impacts,” Edwards stated at a news conference in Baton Rouge. “Louisiana will do its part to address climate change.” In a reversal of his previous statements that questioned humans’ well-established role in driving the climate crisis, he said, “Science tells us that rising sea level will become the biggest challenge we face, threatening to overwhelm our best efforts to protect and restore our coast. Science also tells us that sea level rise is being driven by global greenhouse gas emissions.”

But Sharon Lavigne, founder of RISE St. James, a community group fighting petrochemical industry expansion in Louisiana’s Cancer Alley, doubts his sincerity. “If the governor is serious about reducing carbon emissions, he needs to pull the plug on Formosa.” Plastics giant Formosa is poised to start building a petrochemical complex in St. James Parish that has received permits to spew the emissions equivalent of 2.6 million cars. 

Petrochemical companies are one of Louisiana’s top producers of carbon dioxide, one of the globe-warming gases linked to human-caused climate change. However, the governor has not walked back his support of Formosa’s project. 

Edwards was the first governor in the country to point out that African Americans are being disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. But he has yet to address the impact which ongoing pollution from the petrochemical industry plays in the poor health of predominantly Black communities living near existing plants, or future ones, such as Formosa’s in St. James Parish.

Many U.S. leaders have failed to take to heart scientists’ warnings that half-measures to combat climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic won’t work. Meanwhile, temperatures across America are hitting new record highs, and cases of the coronavirus continue to rise exponentially, leading top U.S. infectious disease official Dr. Anthony Fauci to advise states “having a serious problem” with a surge in coronavirus cases to “seriously look at shutting down.” 

Protester across from the Louisiana Governor's Mansion on May 2
Protester across from the Governor’s Mansion in Baton Rouge on May 2 with a protest sign against Anthony Fauci, Bill Gates, and the “New World Order.”  

Protesters across from the Louisiana Governor's Mansion on May 2
Protesters across from the Governor’s Mansion in Baton Rouge on May 2.   

As with climate change, theoretical models have proven essential for anticipating what is likely to happen in the future. In the case of coronavirus, the initial spread of this virus is occurring at an exponential rate as models predicted,” Torcello and Mann pointed out in their Newsweek op-ed. “This means we can anticipate that larger sums of people will become infected in the coming weeks. We know the majority of those infected by COVID-19 will experience mild or no symptoms while remaining highly contagious, and we know that for others, COVID-19 will create the need for ventilators and other emergency medical supports that we do not yet have in sufficient supply. It is worth emphasizing: The fact that most people will experience mild symptoms is irrelevant to a crisis, like COVID-19, which is grounded in the math of large numbers.”

In his 1995 book The Demon-Haunted World, astronomer and science writer Carl Sagan presaged, with trepidation, an America wherein “our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness…a kind of celebration of ignorance.”

After viewing some of my photos from the recent “Save America” rally, Mann wrote in an email: “These people, sadly, are the purest embodiment of Sagan’s chilling prophecy.”

Protester across from the Governor’s Mansion on May 2 with a protest sign that is a variation of the Gandsen Flag. 
Protester across from the Governor’s Mansion on May 2 with a protest sign that is a variation of the Gandsen Flag. 

Trump supporters at a rally across from the Governor’s Mansion on July 4.
Trump supporters at a rally across from the Governor’s Mansion on July 4.

Protesters at an “End the Shutdown" event in Baton Rouge on April 25 march from the Capital Building to the Governor’s Mansion nearby. 
Protesters at an “End the Shutdown” event in Baton Rouge on April 25 march from the Capital Building to the Governor’s Mansion nearby. 

Main image: Woman holding an anti-mask sign at a July 4 “Save America” rally in Baton Rouge. Credit: All photos and video by Julie Dermansky for DeSmog

This content was originally published here.

Millions Have Lost Health Insurance in Pandemic-Driven Recession – The New York Times

The White House and Congress have done little to help. The Trump administration has imposed sharp cuts on the funding for outreach programs that assist people in signing up for coverage under the health law. And while House Democrats have passed legislation intended to help people to keep their health insurance, the bill is stuck in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Rather than expand access to subsidized insurance under the Affordable Care Act, Mr. Trump has promised to directly reimburse hospitals for the care of coronavirus patients who have lost their insurance. But there is little evidence that has begun.

“Helping people keep their insurance through a public health crisis surprisingly has not gotten much attention,” said Larry Levitt, executive vice president for health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation. “This is the first recession in which the A.C.A. is there as a safety net, but it’s an imperfect safety net.”

The Families USA study is a state-by-state examination of the effects of the pandemic on laid-off adults younger than 65, the age at which Americans become eligible for Medicare. It found that nearly half — 46 percent — of the coverage losses from the pandemic came in five states: California, Texas, Florida, New York and North Carolina.

In Texas alone, the number of uninsured jumped from about 4.3 million to nearly 4.9 million; three out of every 10 Texans are uninsured, the research found. In the 37 states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, 23 percent of laid-off workers became uninsured; the percentage was nearly double that — 43 percent — in the 13 states that did not expand Medicaid, which include Texas, Florida and North Carolina.

Five states have experienced increases in the number of uninsured adults that exceed 40 percent, the analysis found. In Massachusetts, the number nearly doubled, rising by 93 percent — a figure Mr. Dorn attributed to a large number of people losing employer-based coverage there. Across the country as a whole, more than one in seven adults — 16 percent — is now uninsured, the analysis found.

To generate the estimates, Mr. Dorn examined the number of laid-off workers in each state and calculated how many had become uninsured based on coverage patterns since 2014, when the central provisions of the Affordable Care Act went into effect. The underlying data for those patterns comes from work published by the Urban Institute in April.

This content was originally published here.

Health Service Blames ‘Error’ After Telling 600,000 Healthy People They’d Had COVID-19

More than 600,000 military-connected Americans affiliated with the Tricare health plan were told in error Friday that they had been diagnosed with COVD-19.

The individuals and families were in the military health system’s East Region, according to Military.com.

The foul-up began when beneficiaries received an email that began with some very jarring news.

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“As a survivor of COVID-19, it’s safe to donate whole blood or blood plasma, and your donation could help other COVID-19 patients,” the email stated.

The email then went on to explain itself.

“Your plasma likely has antibodies (or proteins) present that might help fight the coronavirus infection. Currently, there is no cure for COVID-19. However, there is information that suggests plasma from COVID-19 survivors, like you, might help some patients recover more quickly from COVID-19,” it said.

A few hours later, Humana Military, which manages Tricare across 31 states and the District of Columbia, tried to calm the waters it had roiled.

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“In an attempt to educate beneficiaries who live close to convalescent plasma donation centers about collection opportunities, you received an email incorrectly suggesting you were a COVID-19 survivor. You have not been identified as a COVID-19 survivor and we apologize for the error and any confusion it may have caused,” Humana’s email said.

According to Military Times, Marvin Hill, Humana’s corporate communications lead, said the company apologized “for the confusion caused by the original message.”

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The initial, potentially panic-inducing message went to some of those living near a plasma collection facility and was not based “on any medical information or diagnosis,” Hill said.

Plasma from individuals who have had COVID-19, which is called “convalescent plasma,” can be used as a possible treatment for the disease.

“As a part of an effort to educate military beneficiaries about convalescent plasma donation opportunities, Humana was asked to assist our partner, the Defense Health Agency. Language used in email messages to approximately 600k beneficiaries gave the impression that we were attempting to reach only people who had tested positive for COVID-19. We quickly followed the initial email with a clear and accurate second message acknowledging this. We apologize,” Hill said in a statement, Military Times reported.

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Have you recovered from #COVID19 and live near @FtBraggNC? Your plasma could help save a life. The @WomackAMC is holding blood drives July 27-31.

Donors are needed to fuel a study about the effectiveness of convalescent plasma.

“Our goal is to encourage all personnel who have fully recovered from COVID-19 to donate their convalescent plasma as a way to help their friends, family, or colleagues who may be suffering from the disease now or who may contract the disease in the future. The need is now,” Army Col. Audra Taylor, chief of the Armed Services Blood Program, told Military Times.

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved convalescent plasma as an investigational therapy in March for those hospitalized with the illness, and more than 35,000 patients in the U.S. have received it.

To date, there have been “encouraging reports and a lot of mechanistic reasoning that in fact convalescent plasma may be helpful,” said Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the Food and Drug Administration, according to Military Times.

“These studies are being done as we speak … we need donors. Blood drives are ongoing, and the U.S. government will be trying to accelerate these drives for convalescent plasma,” Woodcock said.

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

This content was originally published here.

Airway Perspective on AAO Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Orthodontics White Paper – Spear Education

Author’s note: The topic of the impact of tooth extraction on the airway can be very contentious. My hope is this article serves as a tool to allow collegial discourse between restorative dentists concerned with airway and the orthodontists who they look to for solutions.

Recently, I had a new patient come to see me “looking for some veneers.” She had four bicuspids removed for orthodontics in the early 1970s and was given a headgear, but routinely found it on the floor at night. Also, her tonsils and adenoids were removed when she was very young due to recurrent infections.

She complains of a lifetime of poor sleep and never feeling refreshed. She is on multiple high blood pressure medications and has reflux. Ten years ago, she was snoring so badly her husband requested a sleep study.

The study diagnosed her with snoring and apnea. The treatment was UPPP (palatal surgery) and repair of a deviated septum. She feels that she can breathe better than before the surgery, but the symptoms never cleared. She still snores and has unrefreshing sleep.

My examination revealed multiple teeth with recession, some significant. Generalized pathologic wear and erosion. The maxillary anterior teeth were retroclined with lingual facets from pathway wear. The lower anteriors were over erupted. The tongue volume appeared normal, but the oral volume was limited. Her airway, on examination, was constricted with an exaggerated protective retraction of her tongue during examination of the oropharynx.

I thought to myself, “Could the removal of four teeth and subsequent retraction of the anterior teeth be culpable in her medical and dental history?”

The OSA and orthodontics relationship is relatively new

In 2019, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) released its “Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Orthodontics” white paper. It was the culmination of a two-year project by a panel of sleep medicine and dental sleep experts. They were tasked to produce guidelines for the role of orthodontists in the management of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

In the end, the group could not develop any formal OSA guidance for orthodontists. This is interesting given that orthodontists are charged with managing the anatomy of the airway and they work with medical providers on airway anatomy issues like cleft palates and orthognathic surgery.

While it was not stated in the paper, in my opinion, the reason for the lack of specificity of recommendations comes from the nature of the science that was being evaluated. When medical colleagues review dental literature, routinely they are struck by the poor quality of the data. Dental research is typically not well funded, the numbers of participants are limited, the follow-up is short, and it lacks untreated control subjects.

Orthodontics takes years to complete and many years to determine any impact. And finally, the relationship between OSA and orthodontics is a relatively new concept that has rarely been tested in sleep laboratories. Instead, most studies on airway change look at cephalometric or CBCT volumetric alteration and infer (all be it incorrectly) that bigger is better. The conclusions of the AAO white paper are, therefore, going to be constrained by this lack of quality evidence.

Bicuspid extraction addressed

Curiously, section 12 of the AAO white paper, “Fallacies About Orthodontics in Relation to OSA,” addresses the issue of bicuspid extraction. It begins, “Conventional orthodontic treatment never has been proven to be an etiologic factor in the development of obstructive sleep apnea. When one considers the complex multifactorial nature of the disease, assigning cause to any one minor change in dentofacial morphology is not possible.”

This conclusion is true, but the key word is “proven.” There is also a lack of proof orthodontics is not a factor in the development of OSA. The disease is multifactorial but minor changes in oral volume, vertical dimension, and mandibular protrusion have been shown to change the airway and sleep apnea significantly. To argue that removal of four teeth is an unremarkable change is, at least, questionable given available data.

The paper continues, “The specific effects on the dental arches and the muscles and soft tissues of the oral cavity following orthodontic extractions can differ significantly, depending on the severity of dental crowding, the amount of protrusion of the anterior teeth and the specific mechanics used to close the extraction spaces.”

Zhiai Hu1 published a systematic review evaluating the effect of teeth extraction on the upper airway. It included only seven articles. They were divided by the reason for treatment:

The Class I bimax group all had anterior tooth retraction without boney changes. Three of the four articles showed a reduction in upper airway dimension, the last showed a reduction but not to the level of significance.

The one article on crowding differed because the orthodontic technique allowed the molars to move forward ~3mm. That created an increase in the airway dimension.

Finally, the unspecified group did not provide a discussion of the direction of movement (retractive or molar movement) and found small increases for both extraction and non-extraction groups. A conclusion that can be reached from this review is if you retract the anterior teeth, the airway size reduces and if the molars move forward, the airway improves or remains the same.

Impact of volumetric change

The white paper goes on to state, “The impact that orthodontic treatment with or without dental extractions may have on the dimensions of the upper airway also has been examined directly, first with two-dimensional cephalograms and more recently with three-dimensional CBCT imaging…

“In discussing orthodontic treatment to changes in the dimensions of the upper airway, it also is helpful to understand that an initial small or subsequently reduced or increased size does not necessarily result in a change in airway function.”

This is one of the issues medicine has with dental literature. Dental researchers rarely study the actual impact of the volumetric change. It is not enough to say the space is smaller. It needs to be quantified with sleep data. It also needs to be followed over time.

However, Christian Guilleminault highlighted a reduction in the ideal size of the upper airway can lead to abnormal breathing over time, initially with flow limitation, then with a progressive worsening toward full-blown OSA.2> Rarely would testing at the completion of orthodontics demonstrate a compromise. It is the stressful breathing night after night that compromises the airway and makes people more prone to breathing issues during sleep.

Existing evidence suggests the opposite

The AAO white paper does highlight a paper that attempts to answer the question about compromise later in life.

“One such study assessed dental extractions as a cause of OSA later in life with a large retrospective examination of dental and medical records… The study concluded that the prevalence of OSA was essentially the same in both groups, and that dental extractions were not a causative factor in OSA.”

A.J. Larsen3 reviewed insurance records for 5,500 patients between the ages of 40-70. Dental radiographs determined if the subjects were missing four bicuspids or had a full complement of teeth. They matched the two groups for age, BMI, etc. Then they reviewed their medical records to see if the subject had received a diagnosis for apnea.

The results showed that 9.56% of the non-extraction and 10.71% of the extraction group had a diagnosis of OSA. This was not significantly different. Thus, the authors’ conclusion was there was not a relationship between OSA and premolar extractions.

It is currently estimated that 80-90% of OSA patients are undiagnosed. Larsen’s paper states because the subjects all have insurance, they would expect physicians would note the symptoms and get them a sleep study and diagnosis.

There is absolutely no evidence to support that assertion and the existing evidence suggests just the opposite. From pediatricians to primary care, physicians are not diagnosing apnea effectively. The conclusion of the article should be extraction and non-extraction individuals are underdiagnosed at almost the same rate.

Orthodontic literature is not conclusive

The AAO paper goes on to state, “Overall it can be stated that existing evidence in the literature does not support the notion that arch constriction or retraction of the anterior teeth facilitated by dental extractions, and which may (or may not) be the objective of orthodontic treatment, has a detrimental effect on respiratory function.”

Once again, it is true existing evidence does not support that position because there is no quality evidence at this time, not that the relationship does not exist. This should, in my opinion, be a call for more research rather than posturing the topic as a fallacy.

Orthodontic literature is not conclusive on whether premolar extractions impact the airway. A weakness of all the studies is they are based on CBCT or cephalometric radiographic measurements and not sleep data. How a patient uses the existing airway volume is more critical than the size and that’s never measured.

Is there ever a time when I agree with an orthodontic recommendation of extractions? Absolutely. I will, however, ask my specialist:

The most important take away should be the need to intervene earlier. Attempting to direct craniofacial development may keep us from ever needing to know the answer to, “Does the extraction of four bicuspids impact the airway?”

Jeffrey Rouse, D.D.S., is a member of Spear Resident Faculty.

1. Hu Z, Yin X, Liao J, Zhou C, Yang Z, Zou S. The effect of teeth extraction for orthodontic treatment on the upper airway: a systematic review. Sleep and Breathing. 2015;19(2):441-451.

2. Guilleminault C, Huseni S, Lo L. A frequent phenotype for paediatric sleep apnoea: short lingual frenulum. ERJ Open Research. 2016;2(3):00043-02016.

3. Larsen AJ, Rindal DB, Hatch JP, et al. Evidence Supports No Relationship between Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Premolar Extraction: An Electronic Health Records Review. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. 2015;11(12);1443-1448.

This content was originally published here.

Health Officials Had to Face a Pandemic. Then Came the Death Threats. – The New York Times

“There’s a big red target on their backs,” Ms. Freeman said. “They’re becoming villainized for their guidance. In normal times, they’re very trusted members of their community.”

Some critics of the public health directors have said that they believe that allowing businesses to operate is worth the risk of spreading the coronavirus, and that health directors are too cautious about reopenings. Others have cited conspiracy theories that claim that the coronavirus is a hoax; that the development of a vaccine is part of a massive effort to track citizens and monitor their movements; and that wearing a mask or cloth face covering is a practice that impedes personal freedom.

In Washington State, where rural counties are struggling with new outbreaks and trying to warn residents to take basic precautions to stem the spread of the virus, pleas from local health officials have often been answered with hostility and threats.

In Yakima County, which has more than six times as many cases per capita as the county that includes Seattle, hospitals have reached capacity and patients were being taken elsewhere for medical care. Gov. Jay Inslee warned over the weekend that “we are frankly at the breaking point,” and has said he would require Yakima residents to wear face coverings in an effort to slow the virus’s spread.

“I’ve been called a Nazi numerous times,” said Andre Fresco, the executive director of the Yakima Health District. “I’ve been told not to show up at certain businesses. I’ve been called a Communist and Gestapo. I’ve been cursed at and generally treated in a very unprofessional way. It’s very difficult.”

Updated June 22, 2020

Is it harder to exercise while wearing a mask?

A commentary published this month on the website of the British Journal of Sports Medicine points out that covering your face during exercise “comes with issues of potential breathing restriction and discomfort” and requires “balancing benefits versus possible adverse events.” Masks do alter exercise, says Cedric X. Bryant, the president and chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise, a nonprofit organization that funds exercise research and certifies fitness professionals. “In my personal experience,” he says, “heart rates are higher at the same relative intensity when you wear a mask.” Some people also could experience lightheadedness during familiar workouts while masked, says Len Kravitz, a professor of exercise science at the University of New Mexico.

I’ve heard about a treatment called dexamethasone. Does it work?

The steroid, dexamethasone, is the first treatment shown to reduce mortality in severely ill patients, according to scientists in Britain. The drug appears to reduce inflammation caused by the immune system, protecting the tissues. In the study, dexamethasone reduced deaths of patients on ventilators by one-third, and deaths of patients on oxygen by one-fifth.

What is pandemic paid leave?

The coronavirus emergency relief package gives many American workers paid leave if they need to take time off because of the virus. It gives qualified workers two weeks of paid sick leave if they are ill, quarantined or seeking diagnosis or preventive care for coronavirus, or if they are caring for sick family members. It gives 12 weeks of paid leave to people caring for children whose schools are closed or whose child care provider is unavailable because of the coronavirus. It is the first time the United States has had widespread federally mandated paid leave, and includes people who don’t typically get such benefits, like part-time and gig economy workers. But the measure excludes at least half of private-sector workers, including those at the country’s largest employers, and gives small employers significant leeway to deny leave.

Does asymptomatic transmission of Covid-19 happen?

So far, the evidence seems to show it does. A widely cited paper published in April suggests that people are most infectious about two days before the onset of coronavirus symptoms and estimated that 44 percent of new infections were a result of transmission from people who were not yet showing symptoms. Recently, a top expert at the World Health Organization stated that transmission of the coronavirus by people who did not have symptoms was “very rare,” but she later walked back that statement.

What’s the risk of catching coronavirus from a surface?

Touching contaminated objects and then infecting ourselves with the germs is not typically how the virus spreads. But it can happen. A number of studies of flu, rhinovirus, coronavirus and other microbes have shown that respiratory illnesses, including the new coronavirus, can spread by touching contaminated surfaces, particularly in places like day care centers, offices and hospitals. But a long chain of events has to happen for the disease to spread that way. The best way to protect yourself from coronavirus — whether it’s surface transmission or close human contact — is still social distancing, washing your hands, not touching your face and wearing masks.

How does blood type influence coronavirus?

A study by European scientists is the first to document a strong statistical link between genetic variations and Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Having Type A blood was linked to a 50 percent increase in the likelihood that a patient would need to get oxygen or to go on a ventilator, according to the new study.

How many people have lost their jobs due to coronavirus in the U.S.?

The unemployment rate fell to 13.3 percent in May, the Labor Department said on June 5, an unexpected improvement in the nation’s job market as hiring rebounded faster than economists expected. Economists had forecast the unemployment rate to increase to as much as 20 percent, after it hit 14.7 percent in April, which was the highest since the government began keeping official statistics after World War II. But the unemployment rate dipped instead, with employers adding 2.5 million jobs, after more than 20 million jobs were lost in April.

My state is reopening. Is it safe to go out?

States are reopening bit by bit. This means that more public spaces are available for use and more and more businesses are being allowed to open again. The federal government is largely leaving the decision up to states, and some state leaders are leaving the decision up to local authorities. Even if you aren’t being told to stay at home, it’s still a good idea to limit trips outside and your interaction with other people.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

Common symptoms include fever, a dry cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. The C.D.C. has also added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.

How can I protect myself while flying?

If air travel is unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A study from Emory University found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)

What should I do if I feel sick?

If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.

How do I get tested?

If you’re sick and you think you’ve been exposed to the new coronavirus, the C.D.C. recommends that you call your healthcare provider and explain your symptoms and fears. They will decide if you need to be tested. Keep in mind that there’s a chance — because of a lack of testing kits or because you’re asymptomatic, for instance — you won’t be able to get tested.

In California, angry protesters have tracked down addresses of public health officers and gathered outside their homes, chanting and holding signs. Last week, a group called the Freedom Angels did just that in Contra Costa County, Calif., filming themselves and posting the videos on Facebook.

“We came today to protest in front of our county public health officer’s house, and some people might have issues with that, that we took it to their house,” one woman said in a video. “But I have to tell you guys, they’re coming to our houses. Their agenda is contact tracing, testing, mandatory masks and ultimately an injection that has not been tested,” she said, apparently referring to a vaccine even though none have been approved.

This content was originally published here.

Dentistry’s Suicide Dilemma – Oral Health Group

When will the loss of life due to suicide begin to decline? In 2018 the CDCA released a study which showed an increase in suicide rates in every state except Nevada. Don’t get too excited about moving to Nevada, she remains in the top five states with the highest rates. Fifty percent of the states had an increase of at least thirty percent. This is terrible on its own. What makes these statistics even sadder is the fact that too many of our dental industry colleagues are a part of the growing numbers.

I was devastated to learn a few days ago of a well-loved dentist in Australia taking his own life. The shock and grief expressed by so many of his friends and family members is unfortunately not a unique occurrence. Nor are the endless questions as to why or the statements of “I had no idea”. A litany of unanswerable questions will haunt those left behind for eternity. “Why didn’t they tell me?”or, “Why didn’t they love me enough to stay” plays repeatedly in the minds of loved ones. The emphatic “I would have helped” or “I would have given him/her more attention” resounds equally loud. The would haves, could haves, and should haves, tear hearts to pieces. Self-blame and self-annihilation steal any chance for rational thought away. They are left completely ravished in a pit of despair.

The suicide of a dentist seems to feel especially shocking. Mind naturally shift to listing all the reasons it is unfathomable. Dentists are educated, make a lot of money, are well respected in their professional and private communities, live in a beautiful home in the best of neighborhoods, are married to a gorgeous wife/husband, and have intelligent and talented children. You’re begin to think you would instantly trade your life for one like that. What could possibly be so wrong? The answer is quite simple. Fear of exposure. The dentists I spoke with shared the following reasons for their isolation and despair: Debt, failing practice due to lack of leadership/management training, public shaming due to a procedural incident, lack of confidence and/or distain as a care provider. Too much pressure. So much money, time, and effort put forth to walk away. Finally, the overwhelming belief that they are a disgrace to them-self, the profession, and their family. How could anyone possibly support or understand their leaving the profession? Thoughts of dying begin as a whisper, quickly become a chorus, and suddenly death becomes not only a viable option, but the desired solution.

In some cases, friends or family are aware that suicide ideation exists because of spoken words, or a failed attempt. These families live in constant fear that the call or knock on the door will someday come. And as much as they love them, and as hard as they try to hold their loved ones here on this earth, some choose to leave anyway. Those who do not understand, become angry believe suicide to be the most selfish of all acts. This claim is made by those who have never experienced devastating mental despair.

The mental anguish, and physical pain, that consume the suicidal mind and body are greater than any words anyone might speak. The darkness does not allow for thoughts of a brighter tomorrow or the ability to think positively. The only thing the suicidal mind is positive of…is that it doesn’t want to exist in this world one more day.

Having lived both sides…wanting to commit suicide, and experiencing the loss of a family member, and the nearly successful attempt of another, I can truly understand both. For quite a long time, I also believed the act of suicide to be cowardly and selfish. Today, I no longer see it that way. Severe depression is an illness. Like cancer or other illnesses that result in a slow and painful death, suicidal people suffer the same. We the loved ones, fight tirelessly to hold them in that pain. So, I ask you, who is right? Who is wrong? Where does the selfishness truly lie? Yes, some like me, find a way out of the darkness. Others do not. When my mother was dying of cancer, I tearfully gave her permission to let go. Her pain was great, and her body worn out. We freely offer release when we can see the physical suffering. Why can we not do this for suffering not visible to the naked eye? The suffering is equally unbearable.

I read an article discussing the tragic ending of life for those who decided to jump from the burning World Trade Center to avoid a gruesome and fiery death. The author contended that the act of jumping was in fact, suicide. I agree. When left with the decision of suffering a horrible demise, or dying instantly, they chose an immediate end to life. Suicides are the same…they too choose immediate death over unknown pain and continued suffering.

To be clear, I do not encourage, nor condone suicide. However, I do empathize. In 2012, I had laid out my own plan. After crying non-stop for three months, my daughter informed me that I was unsuitable to be around my grand-daughters. This was it. I had two choices: I could dig deep and put all fear of shame aside and fight for my life. Or, I could see my plan through and no longer deal with any of it. I thank God every day that I am still alive. But never once have I felt selfish or cowardly. Not everyone shares the same will or desire to fight. I get it.

I was recently told by a prospective employer that openly discussing my experiences with suicide and depression would be bad for their business. I contend that this employer is bad for humanity. This needs to be talked about. Openly and publicly. Not doing so will allow the stigma that suffering from mental health issues is shameful and disgusting. I am asking each of you right now, this very second, to raise up your heads and voices. Together we have the power to pave the way for hope, support, and understanding. No one needs to ever feel hopeless and isolated again.

About the Author
Sue Jeffries RDH, BSDH. Sue’s start in dentistry began in 1983. After twenty years as a dental technician, she retired and subsequently spent the next fifteen years practicing dental hygiene and managing dental offices. Today, Sue is the owner of Your Vivacious Practice LLC and a powerful advocate, who raises awareness on critical social and business issues of bullying, mental health, suicide, and overall well-being. She is a wife, mother, grandmother, speaker, consultant, and writer who leaves audiences laughing, crying, and empowered.

This content was originally published here.

Unarmed specialists, not LAPD, would handle mental health, substance abuse calls under proposal

Several Los Angeles City Council members called Tuesday for a new emergency-response model that uses trained specialists, rather than LAPD officers, to render aid to homeless people and those suffering from mental health and substance abuse issues.

A motion submitted by City Council members Nury Martinez, Herb Wesson, Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Curren Price and Bob Blumenfield asks city departments to work with the Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority to develop a model that diverts nonviolent calls for service away from the LAPD and to “appropriate non-law enforcement agencies.”

The LAPD now has a “greater role in dealing with homelessness, mental health and even COVID-19-related responses” the motion states, blaming budget cuts to social service programs for the city’s increased reliance on police officers.

“We have gone from asking the police to be part of the solution, to being the only solution for problems they should not be called on to solve in the first place,” the motion said.

The petition is the latest eruption of a longstanding debate within the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority over how — or whether — to work with law enforcement.

It’s unclear how large the new response team would be, but in a statement, council members cast the program as part of an effort to reimagine public safety and reduce unnecessary police interactions.

Representatives for the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union representing rank-and-file officers, have previously pointed to the increased demands placed upon police officers, saying officers now perform the duties of therapists, drug treatment counselors, social workers and EMTs.

Jerretta Sandoz, vice president of the union’s board of directors, said Tuesday that the union agreed that “not every call our city leaders have asked us to respond to should be a police response.”

“We are more than willing to talk about how, or if, we respond to noncriminal and nonemergency calls so we can free up time to respond quickly to 911 calls, crackdown on violent crime, and property crime and expand our community policing efforts,” Sandoz said.

The council members’ motion comes after tens of thousands of people have protested in Los Angeles streets in recent weeks, decrying police brutality and calling for a new approach to long-held strategies over policing, particularly in Black communities.

The City Council on Tuesday also voted to move ahead with studying ways to cut the LAPD’s budget by $100 million to $150 million and put the money into community programs. The council vote was 11-3, with Councilmen Paul Koretz, Joe Buscaino and John Lee dissenting.

A report back to the council on those proposed budget cuts is expected in the coming weeks.

The People’s Budget effectively calls for the dismantling of the LAPD, with the proceeds devoted to housing, healthcare, mental health, parks and many other services.

Buscaino, a former police officer who now serves as a reserve officer, told The Times that his no vote reflected his belief that “real police reform” will come from expanding an existing LAPD program focused on building relationships between police officers and communities.

Separately, the council members’ motion submitted Tuesday also asks for a report back on crisis intervention models, including the “Cahoots” program in Eugene, Ore. The program, short for Crisis Assistance Helping Out on the Streets, sends in teams of medics and mental health counselors if 911 operators determine armed intervention isn’t needed.

The program’s teams handled 18% of the 133,000 calls to 911 last year, requesting police backup only 150 times, Chris Hecht, executive coordinator of White Bird Clinic, which runs the operation, said in an interview.

The program operated on a $2-million budget last year that Hecht said saved the Eugene-Springfield, Ore., area about $14 million in costs of ambulance transport and emergency room care.

Times staff writer Richard Read, in Seattle, contributed to this report.

This content was originally published here.

A Letter to the American Thyroid Association Re: Fluoride Science – International Academy of Biological Dentistry and Medicine

Earlier this year, several health professionals and scientists formally asked the American Thyroid Association (ATA) to “demonstrate either scientific integrity and professional ethics” by Publish[ing] a position statement opposing the practice of community water fluoridation (CWF) based on its impact on thyroid hormones, interference with glucose and calcium metabolism in susceptible populations, and general capacity …

This content was originally published here.

Some in Melbourne’s COVID-19 hotspots dismiss the health risks as testing blitz gets underway – ABC News

On the streets of Broadmeadows in Melbourne’s north, there is both deep concern and general indifference to the Victorian Government’s coronavirus testing blitz, with some locals saying that not even a deadly virus would cause them to change their behaviour.

A team of 800 health workers will try to test 10,000 people a day in Melbourne’s 10 problem suburbs, with the aim to carry out about 100,000 tests in 10 days.

Broadmeadows is one of the hotspots with a worrying spike in the number of cases of COVID-19.

A child getting a test for COVID-19 with a man putting a swab in her mouth.

But while some Broadmeadows locals expressed fear and urged their fellow residents to heed health warnings, others described the virus as “rubbish”.

“I’ve been out and about, and everyone has, and I haven’t met a person that’s got it,” one man said.

He said he was still hugging and kissing people in greeting and said COVID-19 was not dangerous.

“It’s not deadly, it’s like any other virus,” he said.

“A person who’s 99 years old is dying, 100 years old is dying … they’re going to die the next day regardless, so why does it matter?

“I’m not going to stop my whole life for coronavirus, I’ve got to work, I’ve got a business to run … just like everyone else in Broadmeadows.”

A man in a black top with a beard.

Others said they were not surprised to learn that Broadmeadows was a hotspot.

“No-one listens to the rules … not staying home, hugging, kissing,” one man said.

Some urged the Government to introduce heftier fines for failing to practice social distancing.

“People think they don’t get sick, but this is not a game anymore,” one woman said, describing the behaviour of some as “stupid”.

“[They] are hugging, they’re kissing, they’re too close to each other,” she said.

But other locals said they were not worried about hugging and were not practising social distancing.

“In our community everybody does that,” one man said.

Why are some suburbs hotspots? We may never know

Deputy Chief Health Officer Annaliese van Diemen called the comments that everyone was going to get coronavirus “concerning”.

She urged people to continue to keep their distance in order “to keep this at bay in our community”.

“People need to avoid hugging each other and they need to avoid shaking hands. They need to stay 1.5 metres apart,” she told ABC News Breakfast.

“I would thoroughly disagree that everybody has it and that everybody is going to get it.”

Four health workers wearing PPE speak to a woman in a dressing gown at a coronavirus testing station on a residential street.

Dr van Diemen said the testing blitz was underway and had been going well.

“We’ve had good engagement from the community, lots of tests done yesterday,” she told ABC Radio Melbourne.

“We’re expecting that to increase over coming days.”

But we may never know why some suburbs were hotspots and others were not.

“It’s clear there was still some virus lurking around, that there [were] some transmission chains,” she said.

“With significantly increased movement, increased mixing, increased gathering sizes and frequency, those last few infections have just had the chance to take off.”

She said there was a complex set of factors at play, like, for example the fact some workforces in these hotspots had to continue to physically attend work during the lockdown.

Two men greet and embrace each other in a street.

Elsewhere, as the testing blitz got underway, people said they were unfazed to be living or working in one of Melbourne’s coronavirus hotspots.

One woman from Keilor Downs in Melbourne’s north-west said she was getting on with life and had been dismissing the concerns expressed by her relatives for her safety as “rubbish”.

“I ignore the hotspot, Keilor’s a wonderful place to live, hotspot or not,” she said.

She was unimpressed by the testing blitz.

“I reckon we’re crushing a peanut with a sledgehammer.”

In Pakenham, some said they were living life as normal, despite the virus.

“I haven’t seen anybody with COVID,” one woman said.

But Kay from Cafe Transylvania in Hallam said she was praying for people to listen.

“It’s better for everyone to do the right thing,” she said.

A woman holds a swab to her mouth as an ambulance officer watches.

Premier urges everyone to be cooperative

The first three days of Victoria’s testing blitz will focus on Keilor Downs and Broadmeadows, where health workers will aim to test half the population.

The focus will then move to other hotspot suburbs over the course of the 10-day program.

Stay up-to-date on the coronavirus outbreak

A map highlighting eight suburbs in Melbourne's north and west.

The other suburbs central to the ramped-up testing program are Maidstone, Albanvale, Sunshine West, Brunswick West, Fawkner, Reservoir as well as Hallam and Pakenham in the outer south-eastern suburbs.

A map showing Hallam and Pakenham highlighted in orange.

Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews said ambulances and other testing vans would be at the end of many streets to make it easy for residents to be tested.

“They will be invited to come and get a test, and they’ll only have to travel 50 metres or 100 metres in order to complete that test,” Mr Andrews said.

The blitz was announced on a day when Victoria recorded 33 more coronavirus infections and another childcare centre, Connie Benn Early Learning Centre in Fitzroy, was forced to close after a parent of a child who attended the centre tested positive to COVID-19.

Mr Andrews said he was “confident” the strategy would help contain community transmission in Victoria.

He urged everyone to be cooperative and get tested.

What you need to know about coronavirus:

This content was originally published here.

Invisalign just conducted a global ad agency review as it looks to ramp up its marketing to fend off rivals like SmileDirectClub

  • Invisalign has dominated the rapidly-growing clear braces market, with 2018 revenues up 29.4% to $1.7 billion, but it faces competition from DTC rivals like SmileDirectClub.
  • SmileDirect went public this week at a valuation of $8.9 billion.
  • To maintain its status in the market, Invisalign plans to boost ad spend across platforms to target an audience beyond orthodontists and parents of teenagers.
  • The company recently conducted a global ad agency review that pitted the three largest holding companies against one another.

Adults of a certain age who know the pain of wearing braces understand why clear plastic aligners that provide a less invasive and unsightly alternative make up a rapidly growing industry. 

Invisalign pioneered the technology more than 20 years ago, but now it finds itself facing fresh competition from direct-to-consumer challengers. Parent company Align Technology’s stock price has dropped by more than 50% in the past year as competitors encroach on its market share.

That competition has come from companies like SmileDirectClub, a five-year-old Nashville-based startup that allows customers to skip the doctor’s office and buy aligners straight from its own website or nearly 400 retail locations, which this week went public at a valuation of $8.9 billion. The stock dropped 28% on the first day of trading, but cofounders Jordan Katzman and Alex Fenkell still became two of America’s youngest billionaires overnight, as Business Insider reported.

Invisalign previously invested in SmileDirectClub, but now it’s looking to hold off the rise of that brand and other challengers like Candid Co. by expanding its advertising efforts. 

Publicis beat out WPP and Omnicom to win a three-way holding company pitch.

One source with knowledge of Invisalign’s strategy said the company, which has primarily advertised to orthodontists and parents of teenagers in the past, wants to build on consistent growth in the category by increasing its ad spend to target new audiences on more platforms. International consultancy Comvergence estimated that Align Technology spent about $10 million advertising the brand in the US last year.

A spokesperson said the company does not comment on its advertising business.

Read more: Buzzy healthcare startup SmileDirectClub just went public. Here are the execs and investors who stand to benefit the most.

Several sources with direct knowledge of the matter said Align Technology recently consolidated the Invisalign brand’s creative, digital, and media buying business with Publicis Groupe after conducting a global review that pitted the world’s three largest ad agency holding companies — WPP, Omnicom, and Publicis — against one another.

These parties told Business Insider that a multi-agency Publicis team beat out its bigger competitors to win the business this week. Spokespeople for all three companies declined to comment.

Prior to the review, WPP’s Wavemaker and MDC Partners’ Colle and McVoy handled ad buying and creative duties for Invisalign, respectively. The latter agency was not involved in the review and will end its four-year relationship with the brand by the end of the year.

SmileDirectClub follows the ad industry’s in-housing trend, hiring top agency talent to build its own team.

This strategic shift follows the dissolution of a financial partnership between the company and its most prominent competitor. Align purchased a 19% stake in SmileDirectClub before approximately 40 of its own key patents expired in 2017, but earlier this year an arbitrator found that it had violated a non-compete clause by copying SDC’s store concept, forcing the closure of its 12 retail locations and the return of its ownership stake.

“Invisalign treatment is the most advanced clear aligner system in the world and backed by more than 22 years and over $1 billion investment in technology and R&D,” read a statement from an Align Technology representative who said the company no longer holds any interest in its rival.

Meanwhile, SmileDirectClub has taken a very different approach to its own marketing efforts by bringing all of that work in-house.

At the beginning of the year the company hired Bruce Henderson, formerly chief creative officer at IPG events agency Jack Morton, to run its 125-strong internal team, and in May it blanketed New York’s Times Square with an out of home campaign including digital billboards and ads in nearby taxis and subway stations as it prepared to go public.

SmileDirectClub CEO David Katzman rang the Nasdaq opening bell along with cofounders Alex Fenkell and Jordan Katzman on September 12, the day the company’s stock began trading. A representative did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

SEE ALSO: Meet the 30-year-old cofounders of SmileDirectClub, Jordan Katzman and Alex Fenkell, who just became 2 of the youngest billionaires in the US

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: This Facebook exec cofounded and then got fired from Pets.com. Here’s why she is no longer hiding from this failure.

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G.O.P. Faces Risk From Push to Repeal Health Law During Pandemic – The New York Times

“People now see a clear and present threat when others don’t have health care,” he said. “Republicans have no response to that because their entire worldview on health care is built on an assumption that’s now out of date.”

And with Mr. Trump making dubious claims about health care — like suggesting people inject or drink bleach, and promoting an unproven malaria drug — Democrats are seeking to paint him and his party as ignorant on an important issue.

In a recent survey, Mr. Ayres asked swing-state voters how government should help workers who have recently lost insurance coverage. The poll found that 47 percent supported a major government expansion of health care, 31 percent believed the best option for laid-off workers was to go on Medicaid, and only 16 percent preferred federal subsidies for Affordable Care Act premiums.

Based on that research, and given the Republican inclination to favor a private-sector approach, Mr. White, who is president of a business-oriented coalition called the Council for Affordable Health Coverage, has called for the government to help pay for premiums under COBRA, the program that allows unemployed workers to buy into their former employers’ plan.

“Republicans must offer private market coverage solutions that are preferable to Medicaid (which is now more popular than Obamacare),” Mr. White wrote in a policy memo.

Ms. Pelosi’s bill is aimed at shoring up the Affordable Care Act, which she helped muscle through Congress during her first speakership, and reducing premiums, which are skyrocketing. Ms. Pelosi had intended to unveil the measure in early March, for the health law’s 10th anniversary, at a joint appearance with former President Barack Obama. But the event was canceled amid the mounting coronavirus threat.

The bill would expand subsidies for health care premiums under the Affordable Care Act so families would pay no more than 8.5 percent of their income for health coverage; allow the government to negotiate prices with pharmaceutical companies; provide a path for uninsured pregnant women to be covered by Medicaid for a year after giving birth; and offer incentives to those states that have not expanded Medicaid under the law to do so.

One thing it will not have, aides to Ms. Pelosi say, is a “public option” to create a government-run health insurer, an idea embraced by former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. The bill being introduced by Ms. Pelosi has no chance of passing the Senate and becoming law, but it will give Democrats another talking point to use against Republicans.

The health law has already survived two court challenges. In the current Supreme Court case, 20 states, led by Texas, argue that when Congress eliminated the so-called individual mandate — the penalty for failing to obtain health insurance — lawmakers rendered the entire law unconstitutional. The Trump administration, though a defendant, supports the challenge.

The justices are expected to hear arguments in the fall, just as the presidential and congressional races are heating up. But Mr. Cole, the Republican congressman, said other issues related to the coronavirus pandemic would also be at play in November.

“If we look like we’re on top of it in September or October and we’re on the way to a vaccine, then it will break to the president’s advantage,” he said. “If we’re in the middle of a second wave, obviously not.”

This content was originally published here.

Virginia Health Dept Urges Citizens to Snitch on Churches and Gun Ranges | Dan Bongino

Virginia’s Department of Health is joining others who have encouraged their state’s citizens to snitch on each other – but only for select reasons.

As the Washington Free Beacon’s Andrew Stiles reports:

The Virginia Department of Health is encouraging citizens to lodge anonymous complaints against small businesses for violating Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D.) coronavirus-related restrictions on public gatherings.

Virginia residents can report alleged violations of Northam’s executive orders regarding the use of face masks and capacity requirements in indoor spaces via a portal on the health department’s website, a practice commonly known as “snitching.” 

The webpage gives snitchers several options regarding the “type of establishment” on which they are intending to snitch. These include “indoor gun range” and “religious service,” among others. Republican state senator Mark Obenshain expressed concern that churches and gun ranges were “specifically” singled out, noting, “there is nothing to prevent businesses from snitching on competitors, or to prevent the outright fabrication of reports.”

Meanwhile, when protesters were out in full force in the tens of thousands earlier in the month, VA’s health department merely encouraged them to wear masks and wash their hands. They also recommended social distancing, which would obviously be impossible in such an environment. “We support the right to protest, and we also want people to be safe” they said.

What do they think is going to do more to spread the virus, a dozen people at a gun range, or tens of thousands in the streets? Even if those at the gun range transmitted the virus at a higher rate, the latter would still infect more people due to sheer volume.

It is indeed the case that coronavirus cases are on the rise nationally (as you’d expect after weeks of mass protest), but not all cases are created equal. The vast majority of cases are mild and asymptomatic, and the median age of those infected is drastically lower than it was months ago (meaning most new cases are among those least likely to die of the virus).

That’s evident in Florida, where cases are exploded – but the death rate has precipitously declined because the average person infected is now only 37 years old. In March it averaged in the mid fifties.

In many states more people above the age of 100 have died of the virus than those under 40. On the day coronavirus deaths peaked, for every person aged 24 or younger that died of the virus, 319 people above the age of 85 died of it.

This content was originally published here.

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.

Henry Ford Health study: Hydroxychloroquine lowers COVID-19 death rate

Hydroxychloroquine lowers COVID-19 death rate, Henry Ford Health study finds

Sarah Rahal and Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News
Published 6:42 PM EDT Jul 2, 2020

A Henry Ford Health System study shows the controversial anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine helps lower the death rate of COVID-19 patients, the Detroit-based health system said Thursday.

Officials with the Michigan health system said the study found the drug “significantly” decreased the death rate of patients involved in the analysis.

The study analyzed 2,541 patients hospitalized among the system’s six hospitals between March 10 and May 2 and found 13% of those treated with hydroxychloroquine died while 26% of those who did not receive the drug died.

Among all patients in the study, there was an overall in-hospital mortality rate of 18%, and many who died had underlying conditions that put them at greater risk, according to Henry Ford Health System. Globally, the mortality rate for hospitalized patients is between 10% and 30%, and it’s 58% among those in the intensive care unit or on a ventilator.

An arrangement of hydroxychloroquine pills.
John Locher, AP

“As doctors and scientists, we look to the data for insight,” said Steven Kalkanis, CEO of the Henry Ford Medical Group. “And the data here is clear that there was a benefit to using the drug as a treatment for sick, hospitalized patients.”

The study, published in the International Society of Infectious Disease, found patients did not suffer heart-related side effects from the drug. 

Patients with a median age of 64 were among those analyzed, with 51% men and 56% African American. Roughly 82% of the patients began receiving hydroxychloroquine within 24 hours and 91% within 48 hours, a factor Dr. Marcus Zervos identified as a potential key to the medication’s success. 

“We attribute our findings that differ from other studies to early treatment, and part of a combination of interventions that were done in supportive care of patients, including careful cardiac monitoring,” said Zervos, division head of infectious disease for the health system who conducted the study with epidemiologist Dr. Samia Arshad. 

Other studies, Zervos noted, included different populations or were not peer-reviewed.

“Our dosing also differed from other studies not showing a benefit of the drug,” he said. “We also found that using steroids early in the infection associated with a reduction in mortality.”

But Zervos cautioned against extrapolating the results for treatment outside hospital settings and without further study. 

Lynn Sutfin, spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, respond to the study Thursday by noting “prescribers have a responsibility to apply the best standards of care and use their clinical judgment when prescribing and dispensing hydroxychloroquine or any other drugs to treat patients with legitimate medical conditions.”

Dr. Marcus Zervos identified administering steroids early in the infection as a potential key to the medication’s success.
Zoom screenshot

The study found about 20% of patients treated with a combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin died and 22% who were treated with azithromycin alone compared with the 26% of patients who died after not being treated with either medication. 

Henry Ford Health has been working on multiple clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine, including one that is testing whether the drug can prevent COVID-19 infections in first responders who work with coronavirus patients. The first responder clinical trial was trumpeted by Trump administration officials early in the pandemic.

Many health care institutions, including the World Health Organization, suspended clinical trials of the drug touted by President Donald Trump after a faulty study was published in the British medical journal The Lancet on May 22. The WHO restarted the trials in June.

The study is vital, Zervos said, as medical workers prepare for a possible second wave of the virus and there is plenty of research that still needs to be conducted to solidify an effective treatment.

In this May 18, 2020 file photo, President Donald Trump tells reporters that he is taking zinc and hydroxychloroquine. Results published Wednesday, June 3, 2020, by the New England Journal of Medicine show that hydroxychloroquine was no better than placebo pills at preventing illness from the COVID-19 coronavirus. The drug did not seem to cause serious harm, though – about 40% on it had side effects, mostly mild stomach problems.
Evan Vucci, AP, File

Still, use of the malaria drug became highly controversial.

Doctors at Michigan Medicine, the University of Michigan’s health system, remain steadfast in their decision not to use hydroxychloroquine on coronavirus patients, which they stopped using in mid-March after their own early tracking of the treatment found little benefit to patients with some serious side effects.

Michigan’s largest system of hospitals, Southfield-based Beaumont Health, also stopped using the decades-old anti-malarial drug as a coronavirus treatment after deciding it was ineffective. 

St. Joseph Mercy health system has also backed away from the treatment. The system has St. Joseph hospitals in Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Howell, Livonia and Pontiac, as well as the Mercy Health hospitals in Grand Rapids, Muskegon and Shelby. 

Heidi Pillen, director of pharmacy at Beaumont Health, confirmed on Thursday that the health system is not using hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients. 

A recent United Kingdom study evaluating hydroxychloroquine in hospitalized patients with coronavirus was stopped after preliminary analysis found it didn’t have any benefit. About 26% of patients in the trial using the drug died, compared with about 24% receiving the usual care, according to the Oxford University study. 

But doctors at Detroit Medical Center’s Sinai-Grace told The Detroit News in April, when the hospital was overloaded with senior COVID patients, that they were giving the drug to anyone they could.

srahal@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @SarahRahal_

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.

Motivated by his son Beau, Joe Biden pledges help for veterans with burn pit health issues – CBS News

Throughout his presidential campaign, one of the most striking elements of Joe Biden‘s appeal has been his empathy. The personal tragedies he has suffered inform his interactions with voters who are also experiencing loss. And his sorrow could also guide policy decisions as commander-in-chief, offering assistance to veterans who may be suffering from service-related medical conditions — as he believes his son did. 

With a familiar quiver in his voice, Biden regularly on the campaign trail shares memories of his son Beau, who died in 2015 from glioblastoma brain cancer. A handful of times Biden detailed how he thinks his son’s cancer may have been related in part to the large, military base burn pits during his 2009 service in the Iraq War.

“He volunteered to join the National Guard at age 32 because he thought he had an obligation to go,” Biden told a Service Employees International Union convention in October. “And because of exposure to burn pits — in my view, I can’t prove it yet — he came back with Stage Four glioblastoma.”

Biden’s precise language — “in my view, I can’t prove it yet” — appears to be intentional as he lends his voice to the ongoing and somewhat controversial debate over whether the burn pits caused lasting health issues for American veterans.

“We don’t have 20 years”  

As the Iraq and Afghanistan military operations grew, so did the installations of bigger burn pits on military bases, rather than the smaller burn barrels that had previously been used. The pits were meant to dispose of everything from garbage to sensitive documents and even more hazardous materials. 

“They build as big as this auditorium,” Biden said to a CNN town hall audience in February, “It’s about 8-to-10-feet-deep and they put everything in it they want to dispose of and can’t leave behind, from flammable fuel to plastics to all range of things.”

But in the middle of a war zone, concern about the burn pits was sometimes considered secondary to other safety issues. 

“You’ve got dust storms, you have the enemy, you have all sorts of things going on that some smoke in the air doesn’t really seem like as important of an issue at the moment,” Jim Mowrer, who befriended Beau at Camp Victory in Iraq in 2009, told CBS News. Other times, Mowrer, 34, who now serves as co-chair for the Veterans for Biden committee, said he tried to filter the air by wearing a face covering.

“The concern factor became more of a concern after we came home,” Beau’s overseas boss, Command JAG Kathy Amalfitano, 59, told CBS News. Amalfitano said she remembers discussing the burn pits with Beau a few times, but added “I know our thought process was that this was part of the deployment.”

Biden is not alone in thinking burn pits impacted soldiers’ health.

Since 2014, more than 200,000 Afghanistan and Iraq War veterans have registered in the “Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry” run by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), detailing exposure to service-related airborne hazards from burn pit smoke and other pollution.

And while these veteran health concerns seem widespread, the VA’s policy only recognizes “temporary” irritation from burn pit exposure. Citing a range of studies, the department states that “research does not show evidence of long-term health problems from exposure to burn pits.”

One ongoing study is by National Jewish Health and funded by the Defense Department, and is examining lung issues and has yielded “a spectrum of diseases that are related to deployment,” the study’s principal investigator Dr. Cecile Rose told CBS News last year. ” [The diseases] weren’t there before, and they are clearly there after people have returned from these arid and extreme environments.” However, Rose cautioned that findings are complicated by other possible culprits, like desert dust and diesel exhaust.

Advocates for veterans say not enough is being done to address veterans’ health claims regarding the burn pits.

From 2007 to 2018, the VA processed 11,581 disability compensation claims that had “at least one condition related to burn pit exposure,” a department spokesman told The New York Times last year. But the department only accepted 2,318 of these claims. The department said the rest did not show evidence connected to military service or the condition in the claim was not “officially diagnosed,” the Times noted. 

The VA did not respond to CBS News’ request this week for updated numbers.

“I always push back on…the VA administration folks who try to use the ‘perfect study’ as a criteria to show proof,” California Representative Raul Ruiz, a doctor and vocal burn pits critic, told CBS News. Ruiz criticized the VA’s reliance on long-term studies to validate clams. 

“We don’t have 20 years because then these veterans are going to be dying without the care they need,” Ruiz said.

A report five years ago by a Defense Department inspector general said it was “indefensible” that military personnel “were put at further risk from the potentially harmful emissions from the use of open-air burn pits.” But the Supreme Court last year rejected a victims’ lawsuit against contractors who oversaw some of the burn pits.

“If these [burn pits] had happened in the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency and Centers for Disease and Control would have this corrected immediately,” said Iraq War veteran Jeremy Daniels, adding he believes burn pits caused him to be wheelchair bound.

Modern-day “Agent Orange”?

Biden on the campaign trail invoked the healthcare struggles of Vietnam veterans exposed to the herbicide Agent Orange to explain the need to address burn pits.

“You were entitled to military compensation if you could prove that Agent Orange caused whatever the immune system damage was to you,” Biden said, accenting the word “prove” during a Veterans Day town hall in Oskaloosa, Iowa. “But you had to prove it and it’s very hard to prove.”

After reading a book on burn pits detailing Beau’s case, Biden has advocated easing this burden of proof for veterans who say the burn pits have harmed them in some way, as he first told PBS.

Biden has a plan that pushes for congressional approval to expand the list of “presumptive conditions”– meaning veterans’ health conditions would be presumed causal to the burn pits making them eligible for greater VA healthcare. He also aims to expand the claim eligibility period for toxic exposure conditions to five years after service instead of one year and increase federal research by $300 million in part to focus on toxic exposure from burn pits.

This push has intensified in recent years on Capitol Hill, and bills funding more research into burn pits have already been signed by President Trump. The recent National Defense Authorization Act also required the Department of Defense to implement a plan to phase out burn pits and disclose the locations of the still-operating pits. Enclosed incinerators are an alternative.

There were nine active military burn pits in the Middle East as of last year, according to the Defense Department’s April 2019 “Open Burn Pit Report to Congress” shared with CBS News, though some advocates think the actual number is higher. 

Some veterans expressed doubt that recent efforts will lead to more aid for veterans exposed to burn pits, given the slow-moving bureaucracy and concern over higher health care costs. And others question whether a Biden administration would act more decisively than the Obama administration, which primarily focused on long-term studies.

But Biden says that his motivation is far greater than his family’s own personal loss, and that the “only sacred” commitment the United States has is to American soldiers.

“It’s not because my son died…[he] went from very, very healthy but he lived in the bloom of those burn pits for a long time. He’s passed—it doesn’t affect him,” Biden said in Oskaloosa. “But the point is that every single veteran shouldn’t have to prove and wait until science demonstrates beyond a doubt…We just have to change the way we think a little bit.”

May 30 will mark the five-year anniversary of Beau Biden’s death.

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.

Ontario’s health minister shopped at Toronto LCBO while awaiting COVID-19 test results | CP24.com

Ontario’s health minister says she was following the advice of medical professionals when she decided to shop at a Toronto LCBO on Wednesday afternoon while awaiting her COVID-19 test results.

Health Minister Christine Elliott and Premier Doug Ford, who have since tested negative for the virus, underwent COVID-19 testing on Wednesday after learning that the province’s education minister, Stephen Lecce, had earlier come in contact with someone who tested positive for the virus.

Ford and Elliott, who had held a joint press conference with Lecce one day earlier, decided to skip their daily briefing at Queen’s Park on Wednesday afternoon out of an abundance of caution.

Elliott also cancelled an appearance at a Brampton mobile testing site that was scheduled for 3 p.m.

Lecce released a statement shortly before 2 p.m. on Wednesday confirming that his test results had come back negative and about an hour-and-a-half later, Elliott was seen shopping at an LCBO near Dupont Street and Spadina Avenue.

A photo sent to CP24 shows Elliott, who is wearing a surgical mask, standing beside a basket and looking at the store’s VQA wine selection.

“Minister Lecce’s results came back negative before I went for testing and so while there was no real need for me to go to be tested, I had made a public commitment to do so and so that’s where I went,” Elliott told reporters at Queen’s Park on Thursday.

“I went and while I was at the assessment centre having the test, I was advised that because I had not directly been in contact with anyone with COVID that I did not need to self-isolate…That was the medical advice I was given and that is what I did and my test results came back negative of course.”

Elliott and Ford returned to Queen’s Park for their daily COVID-19 update on Thursday afternoon.

“To be clear, both Premier Ford and Minister Elliott have had no known contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19, and as a result, there is no need for either of them to self-isolate,” a statement from the premier’s office read.

“They will continue to follow public health guidelines.”

Lecce’s office confirmed Thursday that he will continue to self-isolate.

“Minister Lecce is feeling well and continues to work from home. He is following the advice of his doctor by continuing to monitor for any symptoms,” a statement from the education minister’s office read.

“Out of an abundance of caution, although the exposure risk was extremely low, he will be self-isolating for the remainder of the 14 days since the time of exposure, on June 6. The Minister again would like to offer his sincere thanks to the team at UHN and everyone yesterday who sent positive thoughts and messages.”

Public health experts have cautioned that negative test results are not always an indication that a person isn’t infected with the virus, especially when tests are conducted a short time after exposure.

Those who have tested negative for the virus are still advised to monitor for symptoms as the virus has an incubation period of 14 days.

“As we outlined our testing criteria at the assessment centres… if you have signs and symptoms and you’re suspected of being a COVID case, you will get your test and then you are supposed to stay in self-isolation until you get results,” Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, said at a news conference on Thursday.

“Other criteria, you say, ‘Well, I was in contact with a known positive.’ That is another reason to get tested and you still have to self-isolate until you get that result back, including people who say, ‘Well I’m not sure but I was in a highly risky area, I don’t know.’’”

He noted that the rules are different for people who are not experiencing symptoms of the virus and have not been in contact with a known case.

“Testing asymptomatic people… say 5,000 workers, none of them have symptoms, none of them are cases, we are not going to say all 5,000 wait for five, six days to get results back. They just continue going to work because it is asymptomatic testing,” he added.

“They have no signs and symptoms, they have no contact with a case, no possible contact with a case, and there is no evidence of an outbreak. So it is a different situation altogether.”

This content was originally published here.

Arizona coronavirus: Banner Health reaches capacity on ECMO lung machines

Arizona’s largest health system reaches capacity on ECMO lung machines as COVID-19 cases in the state continue to climb

Stephanie Innes
Arizona Republic
Published 2:24 PM EDT Jun 6, 2020
Coronavirus 2019-nCoV vials
solarseven, Getty Images/iStockphoto

Hospitalizations in Arizona of patients with suspected and confirmed COVID-19 have hit a new record and the state’s largest health system has reached capacity for patients needing external lung machines.

Arizona’s total identified cases rose to 25,451 on Saturday according to the most recent state figures. That’s an increase of 4.4%, since Friday when the state reported 24,332 identified cases and 996 deaths. 

Some experts are saying that Arizona is experiencing a spike in community spread, pointing to indicators that as of Saturday continued to show increases — the number of positive cases, the percent of positive cases and hospitalizations.

Also, ventilator and ICU bed use by patients with suspected and confirmed COVID-19 in Arizona hit record highs on Friday, the latest numbers show.

Statewide hospitalizations as of Friday jumped to 1,278 inpatients in Arizona with suspected and confirmed COVID-19, which was a record high since the state began reporting the data on April 9. It was the fifth consecutive day that hospitalizations statewide have eclipsed 1,000.

On Saturday morning, officials with Banner Health notified the Arizona centralized COVID-19 surge line that  Banner hospitals are unable to take any new patients needing ECMO — extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.

ECMO is an an external lung machine that’s used if a patient’s lungs get so damaged that they don’t work, even with the assistance of a ventilator.

The Arizona surge line is a 24/7 statewide phone line for hospitals and other providers to call when they have a COVID-19 patient who needs a level of care they can’t provide. An electronic system locates available beds and appropriate care, evenly distributing the patients so that no one system or hospital is overwhelmed by patients.

Banner Health, which is the state’s largest health system, is also nearing its usual ICU bed capacity, officials said Friday and if current trends continue is at risk of exceeding capacity. Banner Health typically has about half of Arizona’s suspected and confirmed COVID-19 hospitalized patients.

The state’s death toll on Saturday was 1,042, with 30 new deaths reported. On Friday the tally for the first time reached four figures — 1,012 total deaths —  three weeks after Gov. Doug Ducey’s stay-at-home order expired.

What we know about the known deaths, based on the state data:

Ducey said at a Thursday news conference that “we mourn every death in the state of Arizona.”

“… I’m confident that we’ve made the best and most responsible decisions possible, guided by public health, the entire way,” Ducey said.  

Saturday marked Arizona’s fifth consecutive day of high numbers of new coronavirus cases reported, with 1,119 positives reported Saturday, a record 1,579 reported on Friday, 530 on Thursday, 973 on Wednesday and 1,127 new cases reported on Tuesday.

Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, said at a Thursday news conference that the increase in cases was expected given increased testing and reopening. 

“As people come back together, we know that there is going to be transmission of COVID-19,” Christ said. “We are seeing an increase in cases, and so we will continue to monitor at this time. But we have to weigh the impacts of the virus versus the impacts of what a stay-at-home order can have on long-term health as well.”

Before this week, new cases reported daily have typically been in the several hundreds. The state has reported new cases each day, typically in the several hundreds. The daily increase in case numbers also reflects a lag in obtaining results from the time a test was conducted.

Additional deaths are reported each day as well and have varied between single- and double-digit increases. The number of deaths reported each day represents the additional known deaths reported by the Health Department that day, but could have occurred weeks prior and on different days.

The date with the most deaths in a single day so far is April 30 with 26 deaths, followed by May 7 with 25 deaths and April 23 and May 8 with 24 deaths each. Next comes April 20 with 23 deaths and April 19, May 3 and May 5 with 22 deaths on each of those days, according to Friday’s data, which is likely to change in the days ahead as more deaths are identified.

Maricopa County’s confirmed case total was at 12,761 on Saturday according to state numbers. 

“We are seeing some indicators that the number of cases in Maricopa County are starting to rise,” county spokesman Ron Coleman said this week in an email. “This is in addition to an increase from increased testing.”

The number of Arizona cases likely is higher than official numbers because of limits on supplies and available tests, especially in early weeks of the pandemic. 

The percentage of positive tests per week increased from 5% a month ago to 6% three weeks ago to 9% two weeks ago, and 11% last week. The ideal trend is a decrease in percent of positives tests out of all tests. 

In addition to an increase in hospitalizations, ventilator use in Arizona by suspected and positive COVID-19 patients statewide jumped to 292 on Friday, which was the highest number reported since the state data began on April 9.

Also, ICU bed use by patients with positive and suspected COVID-19 on Friday was 391 — a record high and the 11th consecutive day that the number has been higher than 370.

The latest Arizona data

As of Saturday morning, the state reported death totals from these counties: 489 in Maricopa, 205 in Pima, 85 in Coconino, 72 in Navajo, 57 in Mohave, 49 in Apache, 41 in Pinal, 24 in Yuma, six in Yavapai, 4 in Cochise, three in Santa Cruz and three in Gila.

La Paz County officials reported two deaths and Graham County reported one death, although the state site listed them as just having fewer than three deaths. Greenlee County reported no deaths.

Of the statewide identified cases overall, 47% are men and 53% are women. But men made up a higher percentage of deaths, with 54% of the deaths men and 46% women as of Saturday.

Overall, Arizona has 354 cases and 14.49 deaths per 100,000 residents, according to state data.

The scope of the outbreak differs by county, with the highest rates in Apache, Navajo, Santa Cruz, Yuma and Coconino counties.

Of all confirmed cases, 9% are younger than 20, 42% are aged 20 to 44, 16% are aged 45 to 54, 14% are aged 55 to 64 and 17% are over 65. This aligns with the proportions of testing done for each age range.

The state Health Department website said both state and private laboratories have completed a total of  271,646 diagnostic tests for COVID-19, and 109,266 serology, or antibody, tests.

Most COVID-19 diagnostic tests come back negative, the state’s dashboard shows, with 7.2% positive. For serology tests, 3% have come back positive.

Maricopa County’s Department of Public Health provided more detailed information on a total of 12,685 cases Friday (the state reported the county case total at 12,761):

Cases rise in other counties

According to Friday’s state update, Pima County reported 2,950 identified cases. Navajo County reported 2,152 cases, while Yuma County reported 1,850; Apache County 1,692; Coconino County 1,267; Pinal County 1,067; Santa Cruz County 530; Mohave County 485; and Yavapai County 326. 

La Paz County reported 158 cases, Cochise County 122, Gila County 43, Graham County 39 and Greenlee County nine, according to state numbers.

The Navajo Nation reported a total of 5,808 cases and at least 269 confirmed deaths as of Friday. The Navajo Nation includes parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

237 cases in Arizona prisons

The Arizona Department of Corrections’ online dashboard said 237 inmates had tested positive for COVID-19 as of Friday, up from 198 one day prior. 

The cases were at these eight facilities: 75 in Florence, 97 in Yuma, 28 in Tucson, 12 in Phoenix, nine in Marana, six in Eyman, six in Perryville, two in Kingman and two in Lewis.

Four inmate deaths have been confirmed — two in Florence and two in Tucson, and three deaths are under investigation, the dashboard says.

Ninety-nine staff members have self-reported positive for the virus, and 69 have been certified as recovered, the department said. 

Both legal and nonlegal visitations have been suspended through June 13, at which point the department will reassess. Temporary video visitation will be available to approved visitors and inmates who have visitation privileges, the department announced. Inmates are eligible for one 15-minute video visit per week. CenturyLink also is giving inmates two additional 15-minute calls for free during each week visitation is restricted.

Separately, the Maricopa County Jail system as of Friday was reporting 30 inmates who had tested positive for COVID-19, county officials said. That was up from six positive inmates one week prior.

Arizona Republic reporter Alison Steinbach contributed to this article

Reach the reporter at Stephanie.Innes@gannett.com or at 602-444-8369. Follow her on Twitter @stephanieinnes

Support local journalism. Subscribe to azcentral.com today.

This content was originally published here.

44 Black Mental Health Support Resources for Anyone Who Needs Them | SELF

Black lives matter. Black bodies matter. Black mental health matters. This latest string of rampant and wanton brutality against Black people flies in the face of these indisputable truths. As a Black woman myself, I’ve spent years trying to process the violence and racism that are part and parcel of living in this country in this skin. But I’ve never had to do it during a pandemic that, of course, is decimating Black lives, health, and communities the most.

In my years as a mental health reporter and editor, I’ve been heartened to slowly see the collection of mental health resources for Black people start to grow. It’s still not where it needs to be, but there is solidarity and support out there if you need help processing what’s happening (and there’s nothing weak about needing it, either). Here’s a list of resources that may help if you’re looking for mental health support that validates and celebrates your Blackness.

It starts with people to follow on Instagram who regularly drop mental health gems, then goes into groups and organizations that do the same, followed by directories and networks for finding a Black mental health practitioner. Lastly, I’ve added a few tips to keep in mind when seeking out this kind of mental health support, especially right now.

People to follow

Alishia McCullough, L.P.C.: McCullough’s Instagram places an emphasis on Black mental wellness and self-love, along with social justice issues like fat liberation. She also posts about participating in live virtual panels on issues like living with an abuser while social distancing and having to live with toxic family during the new coronavirus crisis, so if you’re craving that kind of content, consider following along.

Bassey Ikpi: Ikpi is a mental health advocate who I first became familiar with when she appeared on The Read podcast, where she talked about her now best-selling debut essay collection, I’m Telling the Truth But I’m Lying, in which she writes about her experiences having bipolar II and anxiety. Ikpi is also the founder of the Siwe Project, a global non-profit that increases awareness around mental health in people of African descent.

Cleo Wade: The best-selling author of Heart Talk and Where to Begin: A Small Book About Your Power to Create Big Change in Our Crazy World, Wade’s poetic Instagram dispatches offer quiet meditations on life, love, spirituality, current events, relationships, and finding inner peace.

Donna Oriowo, Ph.D.: I first heard about Oriowo, a sex and relationship therapist, when a friend told me I had to listen to a recent Therapy for Black Girls podcast episode where Oriowo discussed whether Issa and Molly can repair their friendship on Insecure. Oriowo shared so much insight into Issa and Molly’s psyches that I was having lightbulb moment after lightbulb moment. And as a sex and relationship therapist, her Instagram feed destigmatizes Black sexuality and relationships specifically, which is essential.

Jennifer Mullan, Psy.D.: Mullan’s mission is, as her Instagram handle so succinctly sums up, decolonizing therapy. Check out her feed for ample conversation about how mental health (and access to related services) are impacted by trauma and systemic inequities, along with hope that healing is indeed possible.

Jessica Clemons, M.D.: Dr. Clemons is a board-certified psychiatrist who spotlights Black mental health. Her Instagram encompasses everything from mindfulness to motherhood, and her live Q + As and #askdrjess video posts really make it feel like you’re not only following her, but connecting with her, too.

Joy Haven Bradford, Ph.D.: Bradford is a psychologist who aims to make discussions about mental health more accessible for Black women, particularly by bringing pop culture into the mix. She’s also the founder of Therapy for Black Girls, a much-loved resource that includes a great Instagram feed and podcast.

Mariel Buquè, Ph.D.: Click the follow button if you could use periodic “soul check” posts asking how your soul is holding up, gentle ways to practice self-care, help sorting through your feelings, advice on building resilience, and so much more.

Morgan Harper Nichols: If you don’t already follow Nichols but like stirring art mixed with uplifting messages, you’re in for a treat. Her Instagram feed is a swirly, colorful dream of what she describes as “daily reminders through art”—reminders of how valid it is to still seek joy, and of your worth, and of the fact that “small progress is still progress.”

Nedra Glover Tawwab: In Tawwab’s Instagram bio, the licensed clinical social worker describes herself as a “boundaries expert.” That expertise is critical right now, given that safeguarding our mental health as much as possible pretty much always requires firm boundaries. Tawwab also holds weekly Q+A sessions on Instagram, so stay tuned to her feed if you have a question you’d like to submit.

Thema Bryant-Davis, Ph.D.: A licensed psychologist and ordained minister, some of Bryant-Davis’s clinical background focuses on healing trauma and working at the intersection of gender and race. If you happen to be avoiding Twitter as much as possible for the sake of your mental health, like I am, you might like that her feed is mainly a collection of her great mental health tweets that you would otherwise miss.

Brands, collectives, and organizations to follow

Balanced Black Girl: This gorgeous feed features photos and art of Black people along with summaries of their podcast episode topics, worthwhile tweets you can see without having to scroll through Twitter, and advice about trying to create a balanced life even in spite of everything we’re dealing with. Balanced Black Girl also has a great Google Doc full of more mental health and self-care resources.

Black Female Therapists: On this feed, you’ll find inspirational messages, self-care Sunday reminders, and posts highlighting various Black mental health practitioners across the country. They have also recently launched an initiative to match Black people in need with therapists who will do two to three free virtual sessions.

Black Girls Heal: This feed focuses on Black mental health surrounding self-love, relationships, and unresolved trauma, along with creating a sense of community. (Like by holding “Saturday Night Lives” on Instagram to discuss self-love.) Following along is also an easy way to keep track of the topics on the associated podcast, which shares the same name.

Black Girl in Om: This brand describes their vision as “a world where womxn of color are liberated, empowered & seen.” On their feed, you can find helpful resources like meditations, along with a lot of joyful photos of Black people, which I personally find incredibly restorative at this time.

Black Mental Wellness: Founded by a team of Black psychologists, this organization offers a ton of mental health insight through posts about everything from destigmatizing therapy, to talking about Black men’s mental health, to practicing gratitude, to coping with anxiety.

Brown Girl Self-Care: With a mission described as “Help Black women healing from trauma go from ‘every once in a while’ self-care to EVERY DAY self-care,” this feed features tons of affirmations and self-care reminders that might help you feel a little bit better. Plus, in June, they’re running a free virtual Self-Care x Sisterhood circle every Sunday.

Ethel’s Club: This social and wellness club for people of color, originally based in Brooklyn, has pivoted hard during the pandemic and now offers a digital membership club featuring virtual workouts, book clubs, wellness salons, creative workshops, artist Q+As, and more. Membership is $17 a month, or you can follow their feed for free tidbits if that’s a better option for you.

Heal Haus: This cafe and wellness space in Brooklyn has of course closed temporarily due to the pandemic. In the meantime, they’ve expanded their online offerings. Follow their Instagram to stay up to date with what they’re rolling out, like their free upcoming Circle of Care for Black Womxn on June 5.

The Hey Girl Podcast: This podcast features Alexandra Elle, who I mentioned above, in conversation with various people who inspire her. Its Instagram counterpart is a pretty and calming feed of great takeaways from various episodes, sometimes layered over candy-colored backgrounds, other times over photos of the people Elle has spoken to.

Inclusive Therapists: This community’s feed specializes in regular doses of mental health insight, a lot of which seems especially geared towards therapists. With that said, you don’t have to be a therapist to see the value in posts like this one that notes, “You are whole. The system is broken.”

The Loveland Foundation: Founded by writer, lecturer, and activist Rachel Elizabeth Cargle, The Loveland Foundation works to make mental health care more accessible for Black women and girls. They do this through multiple avenues, such as their Therapy Fund, which partners with various mental health resources to offer financial assistance to Black women and girls across the nation who are trying to access therapy. Their Instagram feed is a great mix of self-care tips and posts highlighting various Black mental health experts, along with information about panels and meditations.

The Nap Ministry: If you ever feel tempted to underestimate the pure power of just giving yourself a break, The Nap Ministry is a great reminder that, as they say, “rest is a form of resistance.” Rest also allows for grieving, which is an unfortunately necessary practice as a Black person in America, especially now. In addition to peaceful and much-needed photos of Black people at rest, there are great takedowns of how harmful grind/hustle culture can be to our health.

OmNoire: Self-described as “a social wellness club for women of color dedicated to living WELL,” this mental health resource actually just pulled off a whole virtual retreat. Follow along for affirmations, self-care tips, and images that are inspirational, grounding, or both. (Full disclosure: I went on a great OmNoire retreat a year ago.)

Saddie Baddies: Gorgeous feed, gorgeous mission. Along with posts exploring topics like respectability politics, obsessive-compulsive disorder, self-harm, and loneliness, this Instagram features beautiful photos of people of color with the goal of making “a virtual safe space for young WoC to destigmatize mental health and initiate collective healing.”

Sad Girls Club: This account is all about creating a mental health community for Gen Z and millennial women who have mental illness, along with reducing stigma and sharing information about mental health services. Scroll through the feed and you’ll see many people of color, including Black women, openly discussing mental health—a welcome sight.

Sista Afya: This Chicago-based organization focuses on supporting Black women’s mental health in a number of ways, like connecting Black women to affordable and accessible mental health practitioners and running mental health workshops. They also offer a Thrive in Therapy program for Illinois-based Black women making less than $1,500 a month. For $75 a month, members receive two therapy sessions, free admission to the monthly support groups, and more.

Transparent Black Girl: Transparent Black Girl aims to redefine the conversation around what wellness means for Black women. Their feed is a mix of relatable memes, hilarious pop culture commentary, beautiful images and art of Black people, and mental health resources for Black people. Transparent Black Guy, the brother resource to Transparent Black Girl, is also very much worth a follow, particularly given the stigma and misconceptions that often surround Black men being vulnerable about their mental health.

Directories and networks for finding a Black (or allied) therapist

Here are various directories and networks that have the goal of helping Black people find therapists who are Black, from other marginalized racial groups, or who describe themselves as inclusive. This list is not exhaustive, and some of these resources will be more expansive than others. They also do different levels of vetting the experts they include. If you find a therapist via one of these sites who seems promising, be sure to do some follow-up searches to learn more about them.

This content was originally published here.

How The ‘Lost Art’ Of Breathing Impacts Sleep And Stress : Shots – Health News : NPR

Breathing slowly and deeply through the nose is associated with a relaxation response, says James Nestor, author of Breath. As the diaphragm lowers, you’re allowing more air into your lungs and your body switches to a more relaxed state.

Sebastian Laulitzki/ Science Photo Library


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Breathing slowly and deeply through the nose is associated with a relaxation response, says James Nestor, author of Breath. As the diaphragm lowers, you’re allowing more air into your lungs and your body switches to a more relaxed state.

Humans typically take about 25,000 breaths per day — often without a second thought. But the COVID-19 pandemic has put a new spotlight on respiratory illnesses and the breaths we so often take for granted.

Journalist James Nestor became interested in the respiratory system years ago after his doctor recommended he take a breathing class to help his recurring pneumonia and bronchitis.

While researching the science and culture of breathing for his new book, Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art, Nestor participated in a study in which his nose was completely plugged for 10 days, forcing him to breathe solely through his mouth. It was not a pleasant experience.

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Nestor says the researchers he’s talked to recommend taking time to “consciously listen to yourself and [to] feel how breath is affecting you.” He notes taking “slow and low” breaths through the nose can help relieve stress and reduce blood pressure.

“This is the way your body wants to take in air,” Nestor says. “It lowers the burden of the heart if we breathe properly and if we really engage the diaphragm.”

Interview Highlights

On why nose breathing is better than mouth breathing

The nose filters, heats and treats raw air. Most of us know that. But so many of us don’t realize — at least I didn’t realize — how [inhaling through the nose] can trigger different hormones to flood into our bodies, how it can lower our blood pressure … how it monitors heart rate … even helps store memories. So it’s this incredible organ that … orchestrates innumerable functions in our body to keep us balanced.

On how the nose has erectile tissue

The nose is more closely connected to our genitals than any other organ. It is covered in that same tissue. So when one area gets stimulated, the nose will become stimulated as well. Some people have too close of a connection where they get stimulated in the southerly regions, they will start uncontrollably sneezing. And this condition is common enough that it was given a name called honeymoon rhinitis.

James Nestor’s previous book, Deep, focused on the science behind free diving.

Julie Floersch/Riverhead Books


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James Nestor’s previous book, Deep, focused on the science behind free diving.

Another thing that is really fascinating is that erectile tissue will pulse on its own. So it will close one nostril and allow breath in through the other nostril, then that other nostril will close and allow breath in. Our bodies do this on their own. …

A lot of people who’ve studied this believe that this is the way that our bodies maintain balance, because when we breathe through our right nostril, circulation speeds up [and] the body gets hotter, cortisol levels increase, blood pressure increases. So breathing through the left will relax us more. So blood pressure will decrease, [it] lowers temperature, cools the body, reduces anxiety as well. So our bodies are naturally doing this. And when we breathe through our mouths, we’re denying our bodies the ability to do this.

On how breath affects anxiety

I talked to a neuropsychologist … and he explained to me that people with anxieties or other fear-based conditions typically will breathe way too much. So what happens when you breathe that much is you’re constantly putting yourself into a state of stress. So you’re stimulating that sympathetic side of the nervous system. And the way to change that is to breathe deeply. Because if you think about it, if you’re stressed out [and thinking] a tiger is going to come get you, [or] you’re going to get hit by a car, [you] breathe, breathe, breathe as much as you can. But by breathing slowly, that is associated with a relaxation response. So the diaphragm lowers, you’re allowing more air into your lungs and your body immediately switches to a relaxed state.

On why exhaling helps you relax

Because the exhale is a parasympathetic response. Right now, you can put your hand over your heart. If you take a very slow inhale in, you’re going to feel your heart speed up. As you exhale, you should be feeling your heart slow down. So exhaling relaxes the body. And something else happens when we take a very deep breath like this. The diaphragm lowers when we take a breath in, and that sucks a bunch of blood — a huge profusion of blood — into the thoracic cavity. As we exhale, that blood shoots back out through the body.

On the problem with taking shallow breaths

You can think about breathing as being in a boat, right? So you can take a bunch of very short, stilted strokes and you’re going to get to where you want to go. It’s going to take a while, but you’ll get there. Or you can take a few very fluid and long strokes and get there so much more efficiently. … You want to make it very easy for your body to get air, especially if this is an act that we’re doing 25,000 times a day. So, by just extending those inhales and exhales, by moving that diaphragm up and down a little more, you can have a profound effect on your blood pressure, on your mental state.

On how free divers expand their lung capacity to hold their breath for several minutes

The world record is 12 1/2 minutes. … Most divers will hold their breath for eight minutes, seven minutes, which is still incredible to me. When I first saw this, this was several years ago, I was sent out on a reporting assignment to write about a free-diving competition. You watch this person at the surface take a single breath there and completely disappear into the ocean, come back five or six minutes later. … We’ve been told that whatever we have, whatever we’re born with, is what we’re going to have for the rest of our lives, especially as far as the organs are concerned. But we can absolutely affect our lung capacity. So some of these divers have a lung capacity of 14 liters, which is about double the size for a [typical] adult male. They weren’t born this way. … They trained themselves to breathe in ways to profoundly affect their physical bodies.

Sam Briger and Joel Wolfram produced and edited this interview for broadcast. Bridget Bentz, Molly Seavy-Nesper and Deborah Franklin adapted it for the Web.

This content was originally published here.

Myant partners with Canadian expert for dentistry PPE innovation

Myant Inc., a world leader in Textile Computing, has announced a partnership with Dr Natalie Archer DDS, a recognized Canadian dental expert, to collaboratively develop a new line of personal protective equipment (PPE) designed to address the extreme risks that dental professionals face as they reopen their practices to serve their communities.

The types of PPE under development include both washable textile masks intended for support staff in dental practices, and washable textile-based respirators that meet NIOSH N95 standards for dental professionals who work in critical proximity to patients.

Risks for dental professionals

Social distancing is one of the basic ways to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, with health officials advising people to maintain distancing of two metres with others. With governments progressively reopening their economies and allowing businesses to begin serving their communities again, the challenge of maintaining two metre distancing will become a potential source of danger for both front-line workers and for those that they serve.

“This is especially true for people working in the dental industry whose work environment is literally at the potential source of infection: the mouths and noses of their patients,” Myant said in an article on its website. “An analysis conducted by Visual Capitalist, leveraging data from the Occupational Information Network, suggests that dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, and dental administrative staff are among the professions and support staff at the highest risk of exposure to coronavirus. Their work requires close proximity / physical contact with others, and they are routinely exposed to potential sources of infectious diseases.”

“The public health risk is magnified when you consider the volume of patients coming in and out of a dental practice,” Myant adds. “Consider the contact tracing challenge if a single asymptomatic dental hygienist tests positive for COVID-19. That dental hygienist may work in a practice with two dentists, a billing coordinator, a receptionist, and perhaps three other dental hygienists who each see 100 patients a week (with each patient coming with a loved one in the waiting room). It is clear that dental professionals will need to be among the most vigilant in our communities when it comes to the adoption of effective PPE in order to protect themselves and society from a potential second-wave of the virus.”

Partnership to drive innovation in dental PPE

Recognizing this challenge Myant, the textile innovator that pivoted to innovation in PPE as a response to COVID-19, has partnered with one of Canada’s pre-eminent dental experts to design a line of PPE geared specifically to meet the challenges that dentists, other dental professionals and their staff will face, in the Post-COVID normal. Dr. Natalie Archer DDS was the youngest dentist ever elected to serve on the Board of the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario and served as the governing body’s Vice President between 2011 and 2012. As a recognized and trusted subject matter expert on dentistry-related topics, she is regularly asked to speak to the public in the Canadian media. Dr. Archer will be working closely with the Myant team, advising on the design and the certification process for a new line of PPE for dental professionals currently under development.

Reflecting on her motivations, Dr. Archer told Myant: “Dental professionals feel a tremendous responsibility to get back to serving their communities, but as both members and servants of the community, we must be safe and responsible for both patients and the people that treat them. Like other dental professionals, I am concerned about maintaining levels of PPE.”

“With disposable PPE I feel there will always be a concern of running out, the expense, uncertain quality, not to mention environmental concerns because of all of the waste. Also, there is a real problem with the discomfort that currently available PPE poses for dental professionals who typically work long shifts and whose work is physical. I am excited to be innovating with the team at Myant to address the real world clinical problems that we are facing now in dentistry by producing PPE that is protective, comfortable, and reusable, which will help all of us stay safe and allow us to do our jobs.”

The PPE for dental professionals will be designed and manufactured at Myant’s Toronto-based, 80,000 square foot facility which has the current capacity to produce 340,000 units of PPE a month. Plans are underway to expand that capacity to produce over one million units per month as communities across Canada and the United States start looking for ways to re-open in a safe and responsible manner.

 “This new development highlights the agility with which Myant is able to operate, rapidly integrating the domain expertise of our partners to unlock the potential behind our core textile design and commercialization capabilities,” said Myant Executive Vice President Ilaria Varoli. “Textiles are everywhere in our daily lives and we look forward to working with partners like Dr. Archer to make life better, easier, and safer for all people.”

Ilaria Varoli, EVP, Myant Inc.(c) Myant.Ilaria Varoli, EVP, Myant Inc.(c) Myant.

Further information

To stay up to date on Myant’s dental PPE developments, join the Myant PPE Dental Mailing List.

For consumers interested in purchasing non-dental PPE, please visit www.myantppe.ca.

For B2B inquiries about Myant’s non-dental PPE, please contact us at .

This content was originally published here.

Suddenly, Public Health Officials Say Social Justice Matters More Than Social Distance – POLITICO

“The injustice that’s evident to everyone right now needs to be addressed,” Abraar Karan, a Brigham and Women’s Hospital physician who’s exhorted coronavirus experts to use their platforms to encourage the protests, told me.

It’s a message echoed by media outlets and some of the most prominent public health experts in America, like former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Tom Frieden, who loudly warned against efforts to rush reopening but is now supportive of mass protests. Their claim: If we don’t address racial inequality, it’ll be that much harder to fight Covid-19. There’s also evidence that the virus doesn’t spread easily outdoors, especially if people wear masks.

The experts maintain that their messages are consistent—that they were always flexible on Americans going outside, that they want protesters to take precautions and that they’re prioritizing public health by demanding an urgent fix to systemic racism.

But their messages are also confounding to many who spent the spring strictly isolated on the advice of health officials, only to hear that the need might not be so absolute after all. It’s particularly nettlesome to conservative skeptics of the all-or-nothing approach to lockdown, who point out that many of those same public health experts—a group that tends to skew liberal—widely criticized activists who held largely outdoor protests against lockdowns in April and May, accusing demonstrators of posing a public health danger. Conservatives, who felt their own concerns about long-term economic damage or even mental health costs of lockdown were brushed aside just days or weeks ago, are increasingly asking whether these public health experts are letting their politics sway their health care recommendations.

“Their rules appear ideologically driven as people can only gather for purposes deemed important by the elite central planners,” Brian Blase, who worked on health policy for the Trump administration, told me, an echo of complaints raised by prominent conservative commentators like J.D. Vance and Tim Carney.

Conservatives also have seized on a Twitter thread by Drew Holden, a commentary writer and former GOP Hill staffer, comparing how politicians and pundits criticized earlier protests but have been silent on the new ones or even championed them.

“I think what’s lost on people is that there have been real sacrifices made during lockdown,” Holden told me. “People who couldn’t bury loved ones. Small businesses destroyed. How can a health expert look those people in the eye and say it was worth it now?”

Some members of the medical community acknowledged they’re grappling with the U-turn in public health advice, too. “It makes it clear that all along there were trade-offs between details of lockdowns and social distancing and other factors that the experts previously discounted and have now decided to reconsider and rebalance,” said Jeffrey Flier, the former dean of Harvard Medical School. Flier pointed out that the protesters were also engaging in behaviors, like loud singing in close proximity, which CDC has repeatedly suggested could be linked to spreading the virus.

“At least for me, the sudden change in views of the danger of mass gatherings has been disorienting, and I suspect it has been for many Americans,” he told me.

The shift in experts’ tone is setting up a confrontation amid the backdrop of a still-raging pandemic. Tens of thousands of new coronavirus cases continue to be diagnosed every day—and public health experts acknowledge that more will likely come from the mass gatherings, sparked by the protests over George Floyd’s death while in custody of the Minneapolis police last week.

“It is a challenge,” Howard Koh, who served as assistant secretary for health during the Obama administration, told me. Koh said he supports the protests but acknowledges that Covid-19 can be rapidly, silently spread. “We know that a low-risk area today can become a high-risk area tomorrow,” he said.

Yet many say the protests are worth the risk of a possible Covid-19 surge, including hundreds of public health workers who signed an open letter this week that sought to distinguish the new anti-racist protests “from the response to white protesters resisting stay-home orders.”

Those protests against stay-at-home orders “not only oppose public health interventions, but are also rooted in white nationalism and run contrary to respect for Black lives,” according to the letter’s nearly 1,300 signatories. “Protests against systemic racism, which fosters the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 on Black communities and also perpetuates police violence, must be supported.”

“Staying at home, social distancing, and public masking are effective at minimizing the spread of COVID-19,” the letter signers add. “However, as public health advocates, we do not condemn these gatherings as risky for COVID-19 transmission.”

Was it fair to decry conservatives’ protests about the economy while supporting these new protests? And if tens of thousands of people get sick from Covid-19 as a result of these mass gatherings against racism, is that an acceptable trade-off? Those are questions that a half-dozen coronavirus experts who said they support the protests declined to directly answer.

“I don’t know if it’s really for me to comment,” said Karan. He did add: “Addressing racism, it can’t wait. It should’ve happened before Covid. It’s happening now. Perhaps this is our time to change things.”

“Many public health experts have already severely undermined the power and influence of their prior message,” countered Flier. “We were exposed to continuous daily Covid death counts, and infections/deaths were presented as preeminent concerns compared to all other considerations—until nine days ago,” he added.

“Overnight, behaviors seen as dangerous and immoral seemingly became permissible due to a ‘greater need,’” Flier said.

The frustration from some conservatives is an outgrowth of how Covid-19 has affected the United States so far. In Blue America, the pandemic is a dire threat that’s killed tens of thousands in densely packed urban centers like New York City—and warnings from infectious-disease experts like Tony Fauci carry the weight of real-world implications. In many parts of Red America, rural states like Alaska and Wyoming still have fewer than 1,000 confirmed cases, and some residents are asking why they shuttered their economies for a virus that had little visible effect over the past three months.

Pollsters also have consistently found a partisan split on how Americans view the pandemic, with Democrats believing that the media is underplaying the risks of Covid-19 while Republicans say that the threat has been exaggerated. That attitude may change with virus numbers on the march in states like Alabama and Arkansas.

People on both sides are already trying to figure out whom to blame if coronavirus cases jump as widely expected after hundreds of thousands of Americans spilled into the streets this past week, sometimes in close proximity for hours at a time. When we discussed the possible risks of a large public gathering, protest supporters like Karan and Koh seized on police behaviors —like using pepper spray and locking up protesters in jail cells—which they noted created significant risks of their own to spread Covid-19.

“Trump will try to blame protestors for [the] spike in coronavirus cases he caused,” a spokesperson for Protect Our Care, a progressive-aligned health care group, wrote in a memo circulated to media members on Wednesday. While acknowledging the risks of mass protests, “the reality is that the spikes in cases have been happening well before the protests started—in large part because Trump allowed federal social distancing guidelines to expire, failed to adequately increase testing, and pushed governors to reopen against the advice of medical experts,” the spokesperson claimed.

Contra those claims, public health experts like Koh generally acknowledge that it’s going to be difficult to tease apart why Covid-19 cases could jump in the coming weeks, given the sheer number of Americans joining mass gatherings, states relaxing restrictions and other factors that could pose challenges for disease-tracing on a large scale.

Some experts also are cautious of condemning states for rolling back restrictions after inconclusive evidence from states that already moved to do so. For instance, a widely shared Atlantic article in April framed the decision by Georgia’s GOP governor to relax social-distancing restrictions as an “experiment in human sacrifice.” A month later, Georgia’s daily coronavirus cases have stayed relatively level and it’s not clear whether the rollback led to significant new outbreaks.

What is clear is that the only successful tactic to stop Covid-19 remains social distancing and, failing that, thoroughly wearing personal protective equipment. Yet there’s also considerable video and photo evidence of maskless protesters, sometimes closely huddled together with public officials—also sans mask—in efforts to defuse tensions, or recoiling from police attacks that forced them to remove protection.

That means a collision between the protests and coronavirus is coming, which will force decisions big and small. Will local leaders need to reimpose restrictions when cases go up? Will that advice be trusted? Or is it possible that their guidance was too draconian all along?

Some participants in the new protests—whether marching themselves or drawn in from the sidelines—say they recognize the threat they’re facing.

A Washington, D.C., man named Rahul Dubey attracted national attention for sheltering protesters from the police inside his home on Monday night. On Wednesday, he told me that he was on the way to get a coronavirus test and was planning to self-quarantine himself for two weeks—having spent hours in close proximity to dozens of maskless people.

It’s a reminder of a line often heard from medical experts: Public health should be above politics. Now some conservatives are invoking it too.

“The virus doesn’t care about the nature of a protest, no matter how deserving the cause is,” Holden said.

This content was originally published here.

Machine learning helps Invisalign patients find their perfect smile | CIO

Machine learning helps Invisalign patients find their perfect smile

Align Technology’s mobile app helps Invisalign wearers stay on schedule, while machine learning and other features help lure prospective consumers to try the orthodontic device.

The mobile computing trend requires enterprises to meet consumers’ expectations for accessing information and completing tasks from a smartphone. But there’s a converse to that arrangement: Mobile has also become the go-to digital platform companies use to market their goods and services.

Align Technology, which offers the Invisalign orthodontic device to straighten teeth, is embracing the trend with a mobile platform that both helps patients coordinate care with their doctors and entices new customers. The My Invisalign app includes detailed content on how the Invisalign system works, as well as machine learning (ML) technology to simulate what wearers’ smiles will look like after using the medical device.

“It’s a natural extension to help doctors and patients stay in touch,” says Align Technology Chief Digital Officer Sreelakshmi Kolli, who joined the company as a software engineer in 2003 and has spent the past few years digitizing the customer experience and business operations. The development of My Invisalign also served as a pivot point for Kolli to migrate the company to agile and DevSecOps practices.

The pitch for a perfect smile

My Invisalign is a digital on-ramp for a company that has relied on pitches from enthusiastic dentists and pleased patients to help Invisalign find a home in the mouths of more than 8 million customers. An alternative to clunky metal braces, Invisalign comprises sheer plastic aligners that straighten patients’ teeth gradually over several months. Invisalign patients swear by the device, but many consumers remain on the fence about a device with a $3,000 to $5,000 price range that is rarely covered completely by insurance.

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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.

Minn. health officials urge caution after news of ICU beds filling up – StarTribune.com

Metro hospitals are running short on intensive care unit beds due to an increase in patients with COVID-19 and other medical issues, prompting health officials to call for more public adherence to social distancing to slow the spread of the infectious disease.

The Minnesota Department of Health on Friday reported a record 233 patients with COVID-19 in ICU beds, but doctors and nurses said patients with other illnesses resulted in more than 95% of those beds in the Twin Cities to be filled.

Patients with unrelated medical problems needed intensive care, along with patients recovering from surgeries — including elective procedures that resumed May 11 after they had been suspended due to the pandemic.

“We are tight,” said Dr. John Hick, an emergency physician directing Minnesota’s Statewide Healthcare Coordination Center. “Resuming elective surgeries plus an uptick in ICU cases has constricted things pretty quickly.”

At different times, Hennepin County Medical Center and North Memorial Health Hospital were diverting patients to other hospitals. Almost all heart-lung bypass machines were in use for severe COVID-19 patients and others at the University of Minnesota Medical Center and Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis.

As planned, Children’s Minnesota took on some young adult patients to take pressure off the general hospitals.

People might think the pandemic is over because public restrictions are being scaled back, but “in the hospitals, it is not over and it is not getting back to normal,” said nurse Emily Sippola, adding that her United Hospital was opening a third COVID-specific unit ahead of schedule. “The pace is picking up.”

The pressure on hospitals comes at a crossroads in Minnesota’s response to the pandemic, which is caused by a novel coronavirus for which there is yet no vaccine. Infections and deaths are rising even as Gov. Tim Walz lifted his statewide stay-at-home order on Monday and faced pressure this week to pull back even more restrictions on businesses and churches.

Despite talks with Walz on Friday, leaders of the Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis issued no change in guidance for their churches to defy the governor’s order and hold indoor masses at one-third seating capacity starting Tuesday. President Donald Trump might have altered those talks when he threatened to supersede any state government that tried to keep churches closed any longer, although the White House didn’t cite any law giving him the right to do so.

A single-day record of 33 COVID-19 deaths was reported Friday in Minnesota — with 25 in long-term care and one in a behavioral health group home — raising the death toll to 842. Infections confirmed by diagnostic testing increased by 813 on Friday to 19,005 overall, and Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, called out Minneapolis for having one of the nation’s highest rates of diagnostic tests being positive for COVID-19.

People can slow the spread of COVID-19 if they continue to wear masks, practice social distancing, wash hands and cover coughs, said Dr. Ruth Lynfield, state epidemiologist.

“There are those among us who will not do well with this virus and will develop severe disease, and I think we need to be very mindful of that,” she said. “It’s not high-tech. We know what to do to prevent transmission of this virus.”

While as many as 80% of people suffer mild to moderate symptoms from infection, the virus spreads so easily that it will still lead to a high number of people needing hospital care. Health officials are particularly concerned about people with underlying health problems — including asthma, diabetes, smoking, and diseases of the heart, lungs, kidneys or immune system.

Individuals with such conditions and long-term care facility residents have made up around 98% of all deaths. The state’s total number of long-term care deaths related to COVID-19 is now 688.

The University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy estimates that only 5% of Minnesotans have been infected so far and that this rate will increase substantially.

Hospitals working together

Part of the state response strategy is aggressive testing of symptomatic patients to identify the course of the virus and hot spots of infection before they spread further. Widespread testing is being scheduled in long-term care facilities that have confirmed cases, and testing has taken place in eight food processing plants with cases as well.

The state averaged nearly 7,000 diagnostic tests per day this week, and the state should get a boost from a new campaign of testing clinics at six National Guard Armory locations across Minnesota from Saturday through Monday, said Jan Malcolm, state health commissioner.

The state’s pandemic preparedness website as of Friday indicated that 1,045 of 1,257 available ICU beds were occupied by patients with COVID-19 or other unrelated medical conditions — and that another 1,093 beds could be readied within 72 hours.

Several hospitals are already activating those extra beds, though in some cases they are finding it difficult to find the critical care nurses to staff existing ICU beds — much less new ones, said Dr. Rahul Koranne, president of the Minnesota Hospital Association. Staffing difficulties, rather than a lack of physical bed space, caused some of the hospitals to divert patients.

Nurses in the Twin Cities reported being called in for overtime shifts for the Memorial Day weekend, which in typical years also launches a summerlong increase of car accidents and traumatic injuries. North Memorial, HCMC and Regions Hospital in St. Paul are trauma centers.

“This increased trauma volume typically persists throughout the summer season and into fall,” North Memorial said in a statement provided by spokeswoman Katy Sullivan. “To be able to provide the needed level of care for the community and honor our commitments to our healthcare partners throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin, we need to preserve some capacity for emergency trauma care.”

An increase in surgeries might have contributed to the ICU burden, but Koranne said many didn’t fit the definition of elective. Some patients delayed the removal of tumors due to the pandemic but can no longer afford to do so.

“They are patients who have been waiting for critical time-sensitive procedures that their physician is worried might be getting worse,” Koranne said. “To call those type of procedures elective could not be further from the truth.”

Competing hospitals have long cooperated when others needed to divert patients, but that has increased with the help of the state COVID-19 coordinating center and is showing in how they are managing ICU bed shortages, hospital leaders said.

“We all have surge plans in place,” said Megan Remark, Regions president, “but more than ever before, everyone is working together and with the state to ensure that we can provide care for all patients.”

This content was originally published here.

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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      This content was originally published here.

      Wealthiest Hospitals Got Billions in Bailout for Struggling Health Providers – The New York Times

      But it is not just another deep-pocketed investor hunting for high returns. It is the Providence Health System, one of the country’s largest and richest hospital chains. It is sitting on nearly $12 billion in cash, which it invests, Wall Street-style, in a good year generating more than $1 billion in profits.

      With states restricting hospitals from performing elective surgery and other nonessential services, their revenue has shriveled. The Department of Health and Human Services has disbursed $72 billion in grants since April to hospitals and other health care providers through the bailout program, which was part of the CARES Act economic stimulus package. The department plans to eventually distribute more than $100 billion more.

      Those cash piles come from a mix of sources: no-strings-attached private donations, income from investments with hedge funds and private equity firms, and any profits from treating patients. Some chains, like Providence, also run their own venture-capital firms to invest their cash in cutting-edge start-ups. The investment portfolios often generate billions of dollars in annual profits, dwarfing what the hospitals earn from serving patients.

      Representatives of the American Hospital Association, a lobbying group for the country’s largest hospitals, communicated with Alex M. Azar II, the department secretary, and Eric Hargan, the deputy secretary overseeing the funds, said Tom Nickels, a lobbyist for the group. Chip Kahn, president of the Federation of American Hospitals, which lobbies on behalf of for-profit hospitals, said he, too, had frequent discussions with the agency.

      One formula based allotments on how much money a hospital collected from Medicare last year. Another was based on a hospital’s revenue. While Health and Human Services also created separate pots of funding for rural hospitals and those hit especially hard by the coronavirus, the department did not take into account each hospital’s existing financial resources.

      “This simple formula used the data we had on hand at that time to get relief funds to the largest number of health care facilities and providers as quickly as possible,” said Caitlin B. Oakley, a spokeswoman for the department. “While other approaches were considered, these would have taken much longer to implement.”

      That pattern is repeating in the hospital rescue program.

      For example, HCA Healthcare and Tenet Healthcare — publicly traded chains with billions of dollars in reserves and large credit lines from banks — together received more than $1.5 billion in federal funds.

      Angela Kiska, a Cleveland Clinic spokeswoman, said the federal grants had “helped to partially offset the significant losses in operating revenue due to Covid-19, while we continue to provide care to patients in our communities.” The Cleveland Clinic sent caregivers to hospitals in Detroit and New York as they were flooded with coronavirus patients, she added.

      Critics argue that hospitals with vast financial resources should not be getting federal funds. “If you accumulated $18 billion and you are a not-for-profit hospital system, what’s it for if other than a reserve for an emergency?” said Dr. Robert Berenson, a physician and a health policy analyst for the Urban Institute, a Washington research group.

      Hospitals that serve poorer patients typically have thinner reserves to draw on.

      Even before the coronavirus, roughly 400 hospitals in rural America were at risk of closing, said Alan Morgan, the chief executive of the National Rural Hospital Association. On average, the country’s 2,000 rural hospitals had enough cash to keep their doors open for 30 days.

      At St. Claire HealthCare, the largest rural hospital system in eastern Kentucky, the number of surgeries dropped 88 percent during the pandemic — depriving the hospital of a crucial revenue source. Looking to stanch the financial damage, it furloughed employees and canceled some vendor contracts. The $3 million the hospital received from the federal government in April will cover two weeks of payroll, said Donald H. Lloyd II, the health system’s chief executive.

      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.

      ‘This is not about politics’: GOP governor says wearing masks is public health issue

      WASHINGTON — Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine on Sunday dismissed the politicization of wearing masks in public to help contain the spread of the coronavirus, imploring Americans during the Memorial Day Weekend to understand “we are truly all in this together.”

      With many states like Ohio beginning to relax stay-at-home restrictions, DeWine underscored the importance of following studies that show masks are beneficial to limiting the spread of the virus in an exclusive interview with “Meet the Press.”

      “This is not about politics. This is not about whether you are liberal or conservative, left or right, Republican or Democrat,” DeWine said.

      “It’s been very clear what the studies have shown, you wear the mask not to protect yourself so much as to protect others. This is one time where we are truly all in this together. What we do directly impacts others.”

      DeWine made the comments in response to an emotional plea from North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, who last week denounced the idea that mask-wearing should be a partisan issue.

      Public health experts continue to say mask usage can help stunt the spread of the virus and recommend that people wear masks where social distancing is not feasible. But the White House has sent mixed signals on the practice.

      Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.

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      President Trump has repeatedly bucked the practice of wearing a mask in public, reportedly telling advisers he thought doing so would send the wrong message and distract from the push to reopen the economy.

      He did not wear one during a visit to an Arizona mask production facility earlier this month. And while he did wear one for part of his trip to a Ford manufacturing plant in Michigan last week, he took it off before speaking to reporters and said “I didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it.”

      Vice President Pence did not wear a mask while touring the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota last month, but donned one during another tour days later in Indiana after criticism.

      O’Brien: The president wears masks ‘when necessary’

      Robert O’Brien, Trump’s national security adviser, told “Meet the Press” Sunday that he and many other members of White House staff wear masks during work and hope that will set an “example” for Americans looking to return to the office. And he defended the president’s conduct by arguing that if proper social-distancing measures are taken, Trump doesn’t always need to wear a mask.

      “I think Gov. DeWine was spot on when he talked about office-workers wearing the masks, and mask usage is going to help us get this economy reopened,” he said.

      “And we do need to get the country reopened because we can’t get left behind by China or others with respect to our economy.”

      The question of how to safely reopen the American economy is weighing heavy this Memorial Day weekend, as every state across the country is beginning to move toward relaxing coronavirus-related restrictions.

      There have been more than 1.6 million coronavirus cases in America including more than 97,700 deaths as of Sunday morning, according to NBC News’ count. And 38 million Americans have filed unemployment claims since March 14.

      As governors like DeWine are trying to balance the public health risks of removing restrictions with the economic risks of keeping most of America shut in their homes, the Ohio governor said that he’s confident “we can do two things at once.”

      “We want to continue to up that throughout the state because it is really what we need as we open up the economy. This is a risk, but it’s also a risk if we don’t open up the economy, all the downsides of not opening up the economy,” he said.

      This content was originally published here.

      Pelosi calls for public health benefits for illegal immigrants

      House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it is “absolutely essential” that illegal immigrants also get access to health benefits amid the coronavirus pandemic.

      “It’s in everyone’s interest that everyone be in the health-care loop. … it’s absolutely essential that we’re able to get benefits to everyone in our country when we’re testing, when we’re tracing, when we’re treating and the rest,” the California Democrat said during a teleconference call.

      Pelosi said Democrats want to undo a provision in coronavirus legislation that prevents families with mixed immigration status from receiving stimulus payments from the Internal Revenue Service.

      “We want to address the mixed-family issue,” she said during her weekly news conference Thursday, without committing to it being part of the next bill the House passes on the pandemic, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

      Responding to a question about supporting undocumented immigrants more broadly than the stimulus payments, the speaker said she was pleased that the Federal Reserve is looking at ways to extend lending programs to nonprofits, including those that work with illegal immigrants.

      California has partnered with nonprofits to set up a $125 million fund to provide cash payments to undocumented immigrants in the state.

      “We are well-served if we recognize that everybody in our country is part of our community and … helping to grow the economy. Most of what we are doing is to meet the needs of people, but it’s all stimulus, so we shouldn’t cut the stimulus off,” Pelosi said.

      House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said a “guaranteed income” for Americans,…

      On Tuesday, Pelosi pressed ahead with a sweeping package even as a host of Republican leaders express hesitation about additional spending.

      She promises that the Democrat-controlled House will deliver legislation to help state and local governments through the crisis, along with additional funds for direct payments to individuals, unemployment insurance and a third installment of aid to small businesses.

      Pelosi is leading the way as Democrats fashion the package, which is expected to be unveiled soon even as the House stays closed while the Senate is open.

      Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said earlier this week that it’s time to push “pause” on more aid legislation — even as he repeated a “red line” demand that any new package include liability protections for hospitals, health care providers and businesses.

      With Post wires

      This content was originally published here.

      Coronavirus Map And Graphics: Track The Spread In The U.S. : Shots – Health News : NPR

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      Since the first coronavirus case was confirmed in the United States on Jan. 21, more than 1 million people in the U.S. have confirmed cases of COVID-19. On April 12, the U.S. became the nation with the most deaths globally, but there are early signs that the U.S. case and death counts may be leveling off, as the growth of new cases and deaths plateaus. The pattern isn’t consistent across the country, as new hot spots emerge and others subside.

      To see how quickly your state’s case count is growing, click here.

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      Click here to see a global map of confirmed cases and deaths.

      In response to mounting cases, state and federal authorities have emphasized a social distancing strategy, widely seen as the best available means to slow the spread of the virus. Most states have put in place measures such as closing schools and nonessential businesses and ordering citizens to stay home as much as possible.

      It’s not clear how long such measures need to be in place to see a lasting effect. In Wuhan, the city in China where the virus originated, a strictly enforced lockdown and widespread testing have slowed the outbreak dramatically, enough to bring an end to the 76-day lockdown.

      A large portion of U.S. cases are centered on New York City. Since March 20, New York state, Connecticut and New Jersey have accounted for about 50% of all U.S. cases. As of April 9, nearly 60% of all deaths from COVID-19 have been in these three states. While New York state appears to be reaching a plateau, as seen below, it notched between 8,000 and 10,000 new cases each day between March 31 and April 12.

      To understand how one state’s outbreak compares with another’s, it’s helpful to look at not just the daily counts but the rate of change day over day. In the following chart, we display cases on a logarithmic scale, meaning that every axis line is 10 times greater than the previous one. This type of scale emphasizes the rate of change.

      When case counts grow very quickly, a state’s curve trends sharply upward, as New York’s does over the first 15 days past 100 cases. Generally, this is evidence of unbridled community transmission of the disease. As new cases slow, the curve bends toward horizontal, showing that the state’s outbreak may be leveling off. This doesn’t mean the number of cases has stopped growing, but the rate of growth has slowed, which could signify that social distancing measures are having an effect.

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      In some areas, there are signs of hope. The areas with the earliest outbreaks — such as California and Washington — seem to be having success at suppressing the disease. The outlook in Washington has improved to the point that the state has returned unused Army hospital beds it had received in preparation for a peak in cases.

      Elsewhere, limited access to testing may make the number of cases look smaller than it really is. As testing becomes more readily available, we are likely to see the number of confirmed cases continue to grow, even if not at the pace previously seen.

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      The data used here are compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University from several sources, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the World Health Organization; national, state and local government health departments; 1point3acres; and local media reports. The JHU team automates its data uploads and regularly checks them for anomalies. State-by-state testing and hospitalization data are still being assessed for reliability. State-by-state recovery data are unavailable at this time. There may be discrepancies between what you see here and what you see on your local health department’s website.

      Stephanie Adeline, Alyson Hurt, Connie Hanzhang Jin, Ruth Talbot and Thomas Wilburn contributed to this story.

      This content was originally published here.

      O’Leary retires; Tsunoda to take over orthodontics practice – Wisconsin Rapids City Times

      For the City Times

      WISCONSIN RAPIDS – Dr. Michael O’Leary, of O’Leary Orthodontics, will retire after 42 years practicing orthodontics in the Wisconsin Rapids area.

      “I extend my deepest and sincere thanks for the confidence, trust, and support shown throughout the years by my patients and the community,” Dr. Michael O’Leary said. “Superior care for my patients is of utmost importance to me. We took some time to find the right doctor and I am thrilled to announce that Dr. Kan Tsunoda joined the practice in May. I will miss all of you very much, but I know you will really like him.”

      Dr. Kan Tsunoda will continue to provide orthodontic treatment under the new practice name “Rapids Orthodontics.”

      “Rest assured, the familiar faces on the orthodontic support team will still be at Rapids Orthodontics to provide the same level of personalized care,” the company said in a release.

      Tsunoda attended dental school at Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine-IL and completed his masters in oral biology and orthodontic specialty certificate at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

      Tsunoda said he enjoys the outdoors and is excited to be a part of the community with his wife and four daughters.

      For more information, call 715-421-5255 or visit www.RapidsOrthodontics.com.

      Rapids Orthodontics is located at 440 Chestnut Street, Wisconsin Rapids.

      This content was originally published here.

      NYC health commissioner wouldn’t supply NYPD with masks

      New York City’s health commissioner blew off an urgent NYPD request for 500,000 surgical masks as the coronavirus crisis mounted — telling a high-ranking police official that “I don’t give two rats’ asses about your cops,” The Post has learned.

      Dr. Oxiris Barbot made the heartless remark during a brief phone conversation in late March with NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan, sources familiar with the matter said Wednesday.

      Monahan asked Barbot for 500,000 masks but she said she could only provide 50,000, the sources said.

      “I don’t give two rats’ asses about your cops,” Barbot said, according to sources.

      “I need them for others.”

      The conversation took place as increasing numbers of cops were calling out sick with symptoms of COVID-19 but before the department suffered its first casualties from the deadly respiratory disease, sources said.

      Although surgical masks don’t necessarily prevent wearers from being infected with the coronavirus, they can prevent people from spreading it to others.

      An NYPD detective died after contracting coronavirus — the first…

      The NYPD has recorded 5,490 cases of coronavirus among its 55,000 cops and civilian workers, with 41 deaths, according to figures released Wednesday evening.

      Patrick Lynch, president of the Police Benevolent Association, called for Barbot to be fired over her “Despicable and unforgivable” comments.

      “Dr. Barbot should be forced to look in the eye of every police family who lost a hero to this virus. Look them in the eye and tell them they aren’t worth a rat’s ass,” Lynch fumed.

      In the wake of Barbot’s crass rebuff of Monahan, NYPD officials learned that the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene had a large stash of masks, ventilators and other equipment stored in a New Jersey warehouse, sources said.

      The department appealed to City Hall, which arranged for the NYPD to get 250,000 surgical masks, sources said.

      The federal Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency also learned about the situation, leading FEMA to supply the NYPD with Tyvek suits and disinfectant, sources said.

      A source who was present during a tabletop exercise at the city Office of Emergency Management headquarters in Brooklyn in March recalled witnessing a “very tense moment” when Monahan complained to Mayor de Blasio in front of Barbot about the NYPD’s need for personal protective equipment, saying, “For weeks, we haven’t gotten an answer.”

      De Blasio, who was seated between Monahan and Barbot, asked her, “Oxiris what is he talking about?” the source said.

      She was not on the conference call Friday as de…

      When Monahan said the gear was vital to keeping cops safe, de Blasio said, “You definitely need it,” and told Barbot, “Oxiris, you’re going to fix this right now,” the source said.

      Last week, Barbot — who’s been a routine participant in de Blasio’s daily coronavirus briefings — was noticeably absent when Blasio announced that the city’s public hospital system would oversee a major testing and tracing program, even though the DOH has previously run similar programs.

      Hizzoner also heaped praise on the head of NYC Health + Hospitals, Dr. Mitchell Katz, saying, “When you have an inspired operational leader, you know, pass the ball to them is my attitude.”

      De Blasio named Barbot the city’s health commissioner in 2018 following the resignation of Dr. Mary Bassett, who took a job at Harvard University’s School of Public Health amid an investigation into the DOH’s failure to alert federal officials to elevated levels of lead in the blood of children living in city housing projects.

      “During the height of COVID, while our hospitals were battling to keep patients alive, there was a heated exchange between the two where things were said out of frustration but no harm was wished on anyone,” Department of Health press secretary Patrick Gallahue said, noting that Barbot “apologized for her contribution to the exchange.”

      The NYPD declined to comment.

      City Councilman Joe Borelli and Congressman Max Rose on Wednesday night joined Lynch in calling for Barbot’s outster.

      “I judged the mayor incorrectly for shifting duties away from her if this is how she feels about her job,” Borelli said, referencing de Blasio’s decision to transfer the city’s testing in trace program from the Dept. of Health to Health + Hospitals.

      Rose tweeted: “This kind of attitude explains so much about City Hall’s overall response to this crisis. Dr. Barbot shouldn’t resign, she should be fired.”

      Additional reporting by Craig McCarthy

      This content was originally published here.

      China Sends Doctors to North Korea as TV Report Fuels Speculation About Kim Jong Un’s Health

      China has sent a team of doctors to North Korea to help determine supreme leader of North Korea Kim Jong Un’s health status, Reuters reported on Friday. Hong Kong Satellite Television reported that Kim was dead, though there has been no confirmation from U.S. sources at this point.

      “While the U.S. continues to monitor reports surrounding the health of the North Korean Supreme Leader, at this time, there is no confirmation from official channels that Kim Jong Un is deceased,” a senior Pentagon official not authorized to speak on the record told Newsweek. “North Korean military readiness remains within historical norms and there is no further evidence to suggest a significant change in defensive posturing or national level leadership changes.”

      Kim’s last confirmed public appearance was on April 11, at a politburo meeting, though state media also shared footage of him attending aerial assault drills the following day. It was his absence from April 15 Day of the Sun celebrations dedicated to his grandfather, North Korean founder Kim Il Sung, that first sparked speculation regarding his well-being.

      On Monday, rumors spread that the North Korean head of state was in ill health after undergoing heart surgery on April 12, sparked by an anonymous source featured in the South Korea-based Daily NK outlet, a publication linked to a U.S. Congress-funded think tank among other institutions, along with a CNN article citing an unnamed U.S. official that said Kim was in grave danger following the operation.

      These rumors were subsequently discounted by U.S. intelligence, with two U.S. officials telling Newsweek on Tuesday they had no reason to think that Kim had suffered any kind of serious illness. Similarly, at the time, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency cited a government official who said there was nothing unusual coming from North Korea that could suggest Kim was ill.

      The South Korean Foreign Ministry did not respond to Newsweek‘s request for comment the following day, but referred to a Blue House statement in which the office of South Korean President Moon Jae-in also said no unusual activity related to North Korea or the health of its dynast had been reported. Chinese and Russian officials have questioned the sourcing of the U.S. and South Korean media reports, as has President Donald Trump, the first sitting U.S. leader to meet a North Korean supreme leader.

      The president said Thursday he believed CNN’s report was “incorrect,” but had no further information to provide about Kim’s condition.

      “We have a good relationship with North Korea, as good as you can have,” Trump told reporters. “I mean we have a good relationship with North Korea. I have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un and I hope he’s okay.”

      Kim Jong Un
      North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un before a meeting with US President Donald Trump on the south side of the Military Demarcation Line that divides North and South Korea, in the Joint Security Area (JSA) of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized zone (DMZ) on June 30, 2019.
      Brendan Smialowski / AFP/Getty

      Kim and his familial predecessors have long been the subject of international press conjecture as information within North Korea is strictly controlled, leaving little room for leaks. Since Kim took over following his father’s death in 2011, he has been known to at times disappear, his longest absence being over a month in 2014.

      But unlike those who ruled before him, the youngest, current supreme leader lacks any clear line of succession known to the outside world. With only foreign sources claiming Kim and his wife, Ri Sol Ju, may have had any children, the young ruler has no official heir. Some have speculated that his younger sister Kim Yo Jong, reported to be 31 and one of Kim’s key lieutenants, could succeed her brother, who has steadily promoted her position in recent years.

      Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed Kim Yo Jong in an interview Thursday with Fox News.

      “Well, I did have a chance to meet her a couple of times, but the challenge remains the same. The goal remains unchanged,” Pompeo said. “Whoever is leading North Korea, we want them to give up their nuclear program, we want them to join the league of nations, and we want a brighter future for the North Korean people. But they’ve got to denuclearize, and we’ve got to do so in a way that we can verify. That’s true no matter who is leading North Korea.”

      After a tense 2017 filled with exchanges of nuclear-fueled threats, the Trump administration set out in 2018 to strike an unprecedented denuclearization-for-peace deal with Pyongyang. The effort yielded some early good-faith measures on both sides, as well as three historic meetings between Trump and Kim but ultimately failed to produce an agreement, leading to a gradual renewal in frictions between the longtime foe still technically at war since their 1950s conflict that still dominates the divided Korean Peninsula.

      This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

      This content was originally published here.

      Maine restaurant loses health and liquor licenses after defying state virus orders — Business — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine

      Click here for the latest coronavirus news, which the BDN has made free for the public. You can support our critical reporting on the coronavirus by purchasing a digital subscription or donating directly to the newsroom.

      NEWRY, Maine — The co-owner of Sunday River Brewing Co. in Newry who defied state orders by opening his doors to diners on Friday afternoon has lost his state health and liquor licenses, he said.

      Restaurants must obtain state heath licenses to legally serve food.

      More than 150 people came to Sunday River Brewing Co. in Newry on Friday afternoon after co-owner Rick Savage announced Thursday night that he would reopen in defiance of state orders meant to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

      After learning that he’d lost the licenses around 4:30 p.m., Savage initially said he planned to keep operating the restaurant and just pay the daily fines that he would face. However, later in the evening, Sunday River Brewing Co. published a Facebook post stating that the restaurant would be closed until further notice.

      Watch: Rick Savage on losing his health and liquor licenses

      Frustration with the state’s coronavirus-related business restrictions has been growing in some circles, but the restaurant’s deliberate act of disobedience appeared to be the clearest example yet of those tensions boiling over in Maine.

      Although the restaurant initially said it would open at 4 p.m., it started serving food after people showed up around noon in defiance of a March order from Gov. Janet Mills that barred dine-in restaurant service.

      By 4:30 p.m., the crowd of diners lined up around the building on Route 2 had grown to a peak of around 150. By 6 p.m., the restaurant had served roughly 250 people, according to an employee.

      Robert F. Bukaty | AP
      A crowd waits to get into Sunday River Brewing Company, Friday, May 1, 2020, in Newry, Maine. Rick Savage, owner of the brew pub, defied an executive order that prohibited the gathering of 10 or more people and opened his establishment during the coronavirus pandemic.

      Savage, who announced the restaurant’s opening on Fox News on Thursday night while criticizing the Democratic governor and reading her cellphone number on the air, said that he was not worried some of the diners coming from areas with more documented coronavirus cases would spread it in his restaurant.

      That was partly because he was enforcing distancing guidelines that other businesses have adopted during the pandemic. If Home Depot, Lowes and Walmart “can do 6-foot spacing and be open,” then his restaurant could as well, he said.

      “I really don’t believe it. I don’t believe it at this point,” he said, when asked if it might be dangerous to let those diners into the restaurant. “I’m not a medical expert. I serve food, you know.”

      As for the many diners standing less than 6 feet from each other while waiting for a seat, he said, “I can’t tell them where to stand and what to do. We’re America. If they want to isolate, they can isolate.”

      Violating orders made under the governor’s emergency powers are punishable as a misdemeanor crime and the deputy director of the state’s liquor regulator said Savage could face a penalty if he opened to dine-in customers.

      Robert F. Bukaty | AP
      Rick Savage, center, owner of Sunday River Brewing Company, talks with customers Jon and Tiffany Moody after Savage defied an executive order prohibited the gathering of 10 or more people by opening his establishment during the coronavirus pandemic Friday, May 1, 2020, in Newry, Maine.

      However, Savage earlier said that he did not think he would lose his liquor license because he decided against serving booze on Friday. He violated the state’s orders with the hope that other businesses would decide to join him and so that he could support his 65 employees, he said.

      In general, there appears to be support for the restrictions Mills has put in place. She has received high polling marks for the state’s response to the pandemic, with 72 percent of Mainers saying they somewhat or strongly approve of her handling of the outbreak in a national survey released this week by researchers from Northeastern, Harvard and Rutgers universities.

      But the hospitality industry has hammered a plan released by Mills this week that would limit restaurants and hotels into the summer. The crowd that turned out to Newry on Friday afternoon was also vehemently opposed.

      Watch: Why one woman came to Sunday River Brewing Co.

      At one point, diners waiting outside Sunday River Brewing Co. gave Savage a round of applause when he emerged from the restaurant. In interviews, some said they had come to support his operation because they disagreed with Mills’ orders and felt they would be too onerous for the tourism industry.

      The fact that some of them were more elderly and at-risk from the harmful effects of the coronavirus did not deter them.

      “This is Vacationland,” said Dick Hill, 78, who had driven two hours from his home in Bath after seeing Savage on Fox News. “If she doesn’t let hotels and restaurants open, we’re going to be crushed.”

      Most of the cars in the parking lot Friday afternoon were from Maine, but a handful had plates from other states such as Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Florida.

      Just after they had reached the front of the line, Tom Bayley, 60, and his 34-year-old son Gaelan expressed similar frustrations about Mills’ orders and said they had come to the restaurant to show solidarity.

      Robert F. Bukaty | AP
      Rick Savage, owner of Sunday River Brewing Company, walks out of his restaurant after he defied an executive order that prohibited gathering 10 or more people and opened his establishment during the coronavirus pandemic, Friday, May 1, 2020, in Newry, Maine.

      The Bayleys run a family campground with 750 sites in Scarborough, they said, and they worry that most out-of-state families won’t be able to justify taking a vacation when those orders call for two weeks of quarantine in Maine. They also said it will be possible for businesses such as theirs to responsibly open without contributing to the health crisis.

      “It’s directly hitting our business,” Gaelen Bayley said.

      Some of the diners wore red hats supporting President Donald Trump featuring his “Make America Great Again” slogan. But others in the ski town on Friday afternoon were less pleased with the diners’ choices.

      “Make America stupid again!” one woman yelled out the window of a passing car.

      Watch: The line at Sunday River Brewing Co. on Friday

      This content was originally published here.

      Police, health officials rebut Whitmer’s claims about hospital protest problems

      Police, health officials rebut Whitmer’s claims about ambulance protest problems

      Beth LeBlanc
      The Detroit News
      Published 10:52 AM EDT Apr 21, 2020

      Lansing — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said during a Monday press conference that protesters last week blocked ambulances from reaching Sparrow Hospital, but local law enforcement and hospital officials have countered the claims. 

      Whitmer’s assertions stem from a Wednesday protest called Operation Gridlock during which more than 4,000 people — most staying in their cars —  surrounded the Capitol for hours to protest the governor’s extended and tightened stay-home order. 

      Police have said the gridlock caused no issues for ambulances, but Whitmer has since maintained otherwise in at least two public press conferences. The Democratic governor has been under pressure from Republican legislative leaders, certain business groups and some residents to carve out exceptions to her tightened stay home order that still follow federal guidance and create a plan for gradually reopening parts of Michigan’s economy.

      Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gives a COVID-19 update.

      “The blocking of cars and ambulances trying to get into Sparrow Hospital immediately endangered lives,” Whitmer said Monday. “…While I respect people’s right to dissent, I am worried about the health of the people of our state.”

      Sparrow Hospital is located on Michigan Avenue about a mile east of the Capitol. 

      When questioned last Thursday about the assertion, Whitmer’s spokeswoman Tiffany Brown said the governor was referring to a tweet by Gongwer News Service Executive Editor and Publisher Zach Gorchow, showing an ambulance in traffic near the Capitol, as well as “multiple posts” from medical workers inside the hospital. 

      The ambulance took five to seven minutes to make it through the vehicles — starting from the time it turned on its lights and sirens, Gorchow said.  

      “What was not clear to me was whether the ambulance was called to a run and trying to get to a call or if the drivers had no run but were alarmed that traffic had not moved for close to an hour and used their lights and siren to clear a path,” he said.

      Brown sent The News screen grabs showing Facebook posts from two Sparrow Hospital health care workers who said ambulances were blocked from entering the hospital. 

      “I work at sparrow and I will tell you THEY ARE BLOCKED and ppl are HONKING their horns where people are trying to rest and recover!! SELFISH. Our employees can’t even get to work!! Our cancer patients can’t to their appointments!” Lindsay Bowman wrote last week on the WILX News 10 Facebook page. 

      Capital Area Transportation Authority on Wednesday said service was temporarily disrupted downtown and surrounding areas because of the protests. 

      “CATA is unable to accommodate life-sustaining and medically necessary trips to or from these areas,” the agency posted on Twitter. 

      But hospital, ambulance and police officials said they had no reports of any patients being endangered by the protest.

      Sparrow Hospital spokesman John Foren said last week that some hospital personnel were delayed in making their shifts on the day of the protest, causing some personnel to work past the ends of their normal shifts. 

      But the ambulance entrance to and from the hospital remained clear, Foren said. The Sparrow spokesman said Thursday he had received no reports that ambulances were stuck in traffic farther out from the hospital, either.

      Despite some “confusion,” Lansing police had no complaints about any ambulance being locked in traffic during an emergency, said Robert Merritt, a spokesman for the Lansing Police Department. When ambulances on non-emergency runs were in traffic, “rally participants slowly cleared a path,” he said.

      “There were NO complaints from any emergency services vehicle being held up while on an emergency run (lights and siren),” Merritt said in an email. 

      “There are many photos/videos floating around that show an ambulance moving slow within the vehicles in the rally. This ambulance and some other emergency services vehicles (not on emergency runs) were seen driving through parts of the rally.”

      Mercy Ambulance, which is located just east of Sparrow on Michigan Avenue, also had no delays but some units did take alternate routes because of the traffic, said Dennis Palmer, president and CEO of Mercy Ambulance. 

      The accommodations were no different from what the company would have to make if there were a Michigan State University game, a traffic crash or construction, Palmer said. 

      “In fact, we were more prepared because we were given advance notice,” the Mercy Ambulance CEO said.

      There was a potential for a delay and his employees remarked as much on social media, Palmer said. But there were no actual delays to service, he said.

      While Lansing police were responsible for enforcement in the city at large, Michigan State Police had jurisdiction over the Capitol grounds. Michigan State Police said early on that, despite a lack of social distancing by some demonstrators, they would only intervene in the protest if there was a threat to human life or vandalism. 

      Michigan State Police made one arrest during the hours-long protest when one protester allegedly assaulted another, but otherwise the crowds largely were “polite” and “respectful,” said First Lt. Darren Green. 

      Lansing Mayor Andy Schor, likewise, has never maintained ambulances were trapped during the protest. But the mayor issued Friday a press release warning protesters that next time he would ask for mutual aid from local police departments to help manage the crowds and enforce social distancing.

      “Lansing Police will monitor Lansing ordinance violations and cite offenders when we have available offices and as possible to ensure officer safety,” Schor said. “Violations such as excessive noise, purposely blocking roads, and public urination or defecation, and others.”

      The rally organizer, the Michigan Conservative Coalition, sent a letter Sunday to Schor noting “an unrelated group” was responsible for the individuals who left their cars and protested on the Capitol lawn. 

      Coalition President Rosanne Ponkowski said the group is not planning on organizing future events, but other groups were “co-opting” the name and idea of Operation Gridlock. Ponkowski said the group is encouraging residents to avoid any upcoming rallies. 

      “Our goal was to bring attention to the irrational rules in place that were putting over 1,000,000 workers on the unemployment line,” Ponkowski wrote. “We feel the governor has heard the people’s message at Operation Gridlock and she needs time to act to restart the economy.  Now.”

      eleblanc@detroitnews.com

      This content was originally published here.

      Dentists say mandating COVID-19 tests for patients before procedures will ‘shut down’ dentistry

      (Creative Commons photo by Allan Foster)

      When Gov. Mike Dunleavy and state health officials said elective health care procedures could restart in a phased approach, many of Alaska’s dentists were hoping to take non-emergency patients again.

      But they said a state mandate largely prevents that from happening. 

      State officials said they want to work with the dentists, but point to federal guidelines that dentists are at very high risk of being exposed to the virus.

      Find more stories about coronavirus and the economy in Alaska.

      The mandate said patients must have a negative result of a test for the coronavirus within 48 hours of a procedure that generates aerosols — tiny, floating airborne particles that can carry the virus. Aerosols are produced by many dental tools, from drills to the ultrasonic scalers used to remove plaque.

      Dr. David Nielson is the president of the Alaska Board of Dental Examiners, which licenses dentists. In a meeting with the state, he told state Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink that it’s a challenge for patients to get test results within 48 hours of an appointment.

      “Basically, what that means is, in your view, dentistry is just shut down indefinitely,” Nielson told Zink.

      “That’s not true. That’s not what I feel at all,” Zink said.

      “Well, that’s what it says to most of us,” Nielson said.

      Nielson said dentists can ensure that patients are safe without testing for the virus.

      “We do believe that waiting for the availability of testing to ramp up to the levels that would be necessary will jeopardize the oral health of the public,” he said.  

      Nielson also said dentists are already taking steps to practice safely and could start taking more patients if they didn’t have to follow the testing mandate. 

      “Based on everything that we’re doing with all our, you know, really, really intense screening protocols and all the different PPE requirements and stuff like that, that we’re basically good to go, as long as we do all of the things that we’ve already recommended,” he said.

      Zink said Alaska is among the first states to reopen non-urgent health care. She says the state’s testing capacity is increasing, and that other groups affected by the mandate are working to have patients tested. 

      “We are seeing numerous groups, including surgeons, stand up ways to be able to get testing available,” she said. 

      The state mandate is less restrictive than what’s currently recommended by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC said all non-urgent dental appointments should be postponed. The CDC is revising the recommendation, but it’s not clear when there will be new recommendations. 

      The dental board would like to replace the mandate with guidelines that require that every patient be screened, including answering questions about their travel, symptoms and contacts before an appointment, as well as to be checked for whether they have a fever before an appointment. 

      Zink noted a problem with relying on screening. 

      “It’s increasingly challenging to identify COVID patients,” she said. “This is an incredibly sneaky disease that appears to be most contagious in the presymptomatic or early symptomatic people with symptoms that can look almost like anything else.”

      The draft framework proposed by the dental board also differs from CDC recommendations on personal protective equipment. The CDC recommends both an N95 respirator and either goggles or a full face shield. The framework said that if goggles or face shields aren’t available, dentists should understand there is a higher risk for infection and should use their professional judgment. 

      Dentists working to start seeing more patients say they already take precautions against infectious diseases. 

      Dr. Paul Anderson of Timbercrest Dental in Delta Junction said it would be challenging to have timely tests done for patients who live far from an urban center. 

      Anderson said dentists have been working to prevent the spread of infectious diseases since at least HIV/AIDS in the 1980s. 

      “We’ve been following these protocols, and it just seems odd to me that all of a sudden the government feels that it’s necessary to add all of these additional regulations,” he said. 

      Anderson said screening patients — including checking their temperatures — is a significant safety measure dentists can take.

      Zink said the state is open to working with the dental board to revise the mandate, or to issue a new mandate specific to dentistry. It’s not clear if the issue can be resolved before Monday, when the state will begin allowing elective procedures under the mandate. 

      This content was originally published here.

      Filipinos to now pay 3% of salary for health insurance

      Under the universal healthcare law, overseas Filipinos are classified as ‘direct contributors’.

      Starting this year, Filipinos in the UAE and across the world are required to pay three per cent of their income to the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), the authority reiterated in its latest circular.

      The increase in PhilHealth premiums was rolled out late last year and, on April 22, the corporation published a detailed circular elaborating on the contribution and collection of payment from overseas Filipino members.

      Also read: FAQs on Philippine health insurance contribution

      PhilHealth said expats’ three per cent premium rate will be computed based on their monthly pay, with the range set at P10,000 (Dh730) to P60,000 (Dh4,385).

      If one’s monthly salary is higher than Dh4,385, the individual will still pay P1,800 (Dh132)  every month, or the three per cent of the income ceiling.

      For an entire year, an expat earning Dh4,385 or more will have to shell out P21,600 (Dh1,579).

      “While the premium is computed based on the monthly income, payment shall be made every three-month, six-month or full 12-month period,” the circular said.

      It added that 2020 will serve as the transition year, so an initial payment of P2,400 (Dh175) can be made to meet the new policy requirements. The remaining balance, however, shall be settled within the year.

      “A member who fails to pay the premium after the due date set by the corporation shall be required to pay all missed contributions with monthly compounded interest,” it said.

      “By January 1, 2021, the minimum acceptable initial payment is a three-month premium based on the prescribed rate at the time of payment,” it added. “Still, the member has the option to pay the balance in full or in quarterly payments.”
       
      Membership must be updated

      Under the Philippines’ universal healthcare law, overseas Filipinos are classified as ‘direct contributors’, therefore, “payment and remittance of premium contributions is mandatory”, as stated in the circular.
       
      Expats should update their PhilHealth membership and submit a proof of income, which shall serve as the basis for the mandatory contribution.

      The new policy covers even those who are not employed. “This circular covers all overseas Filipinos living and working abroad, including those on vacation and those waiting for documentation, whether registered or unregistered to the National Health Insurance Program,” the circular said.
       
      Coverage includes hospitalisation abroad

      A PhilHealth representative – whom Khaleej Times spoke to through the agency’s hotline – confirmed that members and their dependents can avail of the insurance’s benefits even if they are outside the country.

      “Should a member be hospitalised abroad, he or she will just have to submit the bills, medical abstract and filled-out Claim Form 1 and Claim Form 2,” he said in Filipino. Claim forms can be downloaded from the PhilHealth’s website. 

      “Documents should be submitted within 180 days after the patient has been discharged,” he added.

      Premium  to increase yearly till 2024-25

      Filipino expats’ PhilHealth contributions shall also increase every year until 2024-25, according to the circular.

      From three per cent this year, the premium will be at 3.5 per cent in 2021; 4 per cent in 2022; 4.5 per cent in 2023; and 5 per cent in 2024 and 2025.

      The income ceiling will also increase to P70,000 (Dh5116) in 2021, 80,000 (Dh5,847) in 2022, 90,000 (Dh6,578) in 2023, and 100,000 (Dh7,309) from 2024 to 2025.

      kirstin@khaleejtimes.com

      This content was originally published here.

      ‘A medical necessity:’ With dentistry services limited during pandemic, at-home preventive care is key

      MILWAUKEE — While dentists may be closed for preventive care, don’t put your toothbrushes down. Doctors say keeping your oral health is more important than ever for adults and children alike.

      The spread of the coronavirus put an abrupt stop to our normal routine. Preventive visits to dentist offices were delayed, but unfortunately, that’s also when a lot of problems are detected.

      Dr. Kevin Donly

      “We’ve only been able to provide emergency care,” Dr. Kevin Donly, president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, said. “Oral health is actually a medical necessity.”

      Because oral health is critical to overall health, Donly maintaining your child’s oral care routine is essential to preventing dental emergencies during the pandemic. Those emergencies are categorized in three ways.

      “Trauma, where a kid bumps their tooth, falls down and cracks their tooth,” Donly said. “Second, infection. We’ve seen kids with facial cellulitis, this can be detrimental to their overall health, we really need to see those kids right away.

      “The other one is pain. Sometimes they have really deep cavities that cause a lot of pain and they need to see the pediatric dentist right away and get care.”

      Donly says with some offices reopening soon, new protocols will be taken to ensure everyone’s safety.

      “First of all you, will be contacted a day before your appointment for a prescreening call,” said Donly. “They will ask about a child’s health, are they feeling well? Are they running a fever?”

      There will be spaces in waiting rooms due to social distancing, and dental assistants, hygienists and dentists will all be wearing gowns, masks and face shields, Donly said.

      Prevention is key with regular cleanings delayed. When it comes to prevention, Donly recommends brushing with a fluoridated toothpaste a couple of times a day, try to keep sugary drinks and snacks away, and check your kids’ teeth on a daily basis.

      This content was originally published here.

      We Didn’t ‘Flatten The Curve,’ We Flattened The U.S. Health Care System

      When the lockdowns began last month, we were told that if we didn’t stay home our hospitals would be overwhelmed with coronavirus patients, intensive care wards would be overrun, there wouldn’t be enough ventilators, and some people would probably die in their homes for lack of care. To maintain capacity in the health-care system, we all had to go on lockdown—not just the big cities, but everywhere.

      So we stayed home, businesses closed, and tens of millions of Americans lost their jobs. But with the exception of New York City, the overwhelming surge of coronavirus patients never really appeared—at least not in the predicted numbers, which have been off by hundreds of thousands.

      During a press conference Wednesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis noted that health experts initially projected 465,000 Floridians would be hospitalized because of coronavirus by April 24. But as of April 22, the number is slightly more than 2,000.

      Even in New York, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo said last month he would need 30,000 ventilators, hospitals never came close to needing that many. The projected peak need was about 5,000, and actual usage may have been even lower.

      Other overflow measures have also proven unnecessary. On Tuesday, President Trump said the USNS Comfort, the Navy hospital ship that had been deployed to New York to provide emergency care for coronavirus patients, will be leaving New York. The ship had been prepared to treat 500 patients. As of Friday, only 71 beds were occupied. An Army field hospital set up in Seattle’s pro football stadium shut down earlier this month without ever having seen a single patient.

      It’s the same story in much of the country. In Texas, where this week Gov. Greg Abbott began gradually loosening lockdown measures, including a prohibition on most medical procedures, hospitals aren’t overwhelmed. In Dallas and Houston, where coronavirus cases are concentrated in the state, makeshift overflow centers that had been under construction might not be used at all.

      In Illinois, where hospitals across the state scrambled to stock up on ventilators last month, fewer than half of them have been put to use—and as of Sunday, only 757 of 1,345 ventilators were being used by COVID-19 patients. In Virginia, only about 22 percent of the ventilator supply is being used.

      Meanwhile, hospitals and health care systems nationwide have had to furlough or lay off thousands of employees. Why? Because the vast major of most hospitals’ revenue comes from elective or “non-essential” procedures. We’re not talking about LASIK eye surgery but things like coronary angioplasty and stents, procedures that are necessary but maybe not emergencies—yet. If hospitals can’t perform these procedures because governors have banned them, then they can’t pay their bills, or their employees.

      To take just one example, a friend who works in a cardiac intensive care unit (ICU) in rural Virginia called recently and told me about how they had reorganized their entire system around caring for coronavirus patients. They had cancelled most “non-essential” procedures, imposed furloughs and pay cuts, and created a special ICU ward for patients with COVID-19. So far, they have had only one patient. One. The nurses assigned to the COVID-19 ward have very little to do. In the entire area covered by this hospital system, only about 30 people have tested positive for COVID-19.

      If Hospitals Can Handle The Load, End The Lockdowns

      I’m sure the governors and health officials who ordered these lockdowns meant well. They based their decisions on deeply flawed and woefully inaccurate models, and they should have been less panicky and more skeptical, but they were facing a completely new disease about which, thanks to China, they had almost no reliable information.

      However, in hindsight it seems clear that treating the entire country as if it were New York City was a huge mistake that has cost millions of American jobs and destroyed untold amounts of wealth. Now that we know our hospitals aren’t going to be overrun by COVID-19 cases, governors and mayors should immediately reverse course and begin opening their states and communities for business.

      Of course, some already are—and in a phased, cautious manner, as they should. But the overarching narrative that we all bought into, that unless we stayed home and “flattened the curve” our hospitals would be inundated, and if your kids got sick there would be no beds available to treat them, has turned out to be false. It hasn’t happened, and it most likely won’t happen, especially now that new evidence is emerging that suggests many more people have already contracted COVID-19 than previously thought, which means the disease might be far less lethal than we feared.

      Public officials responsible for the lockdowns will no doubt claim that without these draconian measures, our hospitals surely would have been overwhelmed. And who knows? Maybe they would have. It’s an unfalsifiable assertion.

      But at this point we should all be able to agree that the predictions were way off, and not just because they didn’t take into account stay-at-home orders or business closures, because they did. The experts, in this case, were wrong. The best thing governors and mayors can do now is admit as much, and start lifting their lockdown orders so people—including doctors and nurses—can get back to work.

      This content was originally published here.

      Designing a Welcoming Orthodontics Office – Spear Education

      With more adults being referred for orthodontic care, it’s necessary to create an office that is welcoming not only for children, but for older patients, as well.

      The first thing your patients notice when they walk into your practice is the design. With that in mind, use these office design techniques to make your practice feel more welcoming for patients of all ages.

      Adult-friendly amenities

      Filling an orthodontics office with toys, video games and family-friendly movies may be a hit for kids. However, the approach does not provide key conveniences for adult patients, who account for one in four of the orthodontic patients in the U.S., according to the American Association of Orthodontists.

      “Most ortho practices are set up to be efficient for providers, and attractive to children and adolescents, who are generally their target market,” said Spear Resident Faculty member Dr. Cheryl DeWood.

      After 22 years in private practice as a general practitioner, Dr. DeWood chose to pursue an education and career in orthodontics.

      Based on her experience as a practicing orthodontist since 2005, Dr. DeWood learned that an office designed around child-like elements fails to make adult patients feel welcome.

      “This type of set-up emphasizes a ‘fun’ or juvenile atmosphere and is generally lacking in adult amenities, including private treatment areas,” Dr. DeWood said. “For GPs who are looking to refer adults, this isn’t very appealing.”

      “I have been telling my colleagues for years that they are missing a growing part of the ortho market by limiting their ability to accommodate adult patients,” she said.

      For example, the ADA Marketplace blog recommends that “stacks of magazines, books or newspapers can help keep the adults happily preoccupied.”

      The ADA also encourages having soothing music playing in the office and access to refreshments like coffee and tea.

      Effective use of color and light

      The color scheme you pick for your practice can have a significant psychological impact on your patient. According the ADA Center for Professional Success, utilizing bright and bold colors like red and yellow can cause your patient’s anxiety to rise, whereas shades like sky blue or cool-toned purples can have more of a relaxing or cheerful effect.

      Orange, the complement to blue on the color wheel, can be used for smaller touches in an orthodontics office for a bright accent. But if orange is used too much, it can be overstimulating.

      Industry experts also recommend adding a few lamps with warm bulbs to your office to create a sunny, inviting space, or swapping out old light fixtures for lamps with a modern look for a fresh, new atmosphere.

      Reduce stress with aquariums

      It’s no accident that fish tanks are utilized in numerous dental and health care offices.

      A 2015 U.K. study by the National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth University and the University of Exeter found that viewing an aquarium display led to lower blood pressure, lower heart rate and an improvement of mood, and these benefits increase as the number of fish increase.

      The study says that “an individual does not need to spend long in front of an (aquarium), just five minutes, to derive significant benefits.”

      The ADA Marketplace blog adds that aquariums can be particularly helpful for offices that have pediatric patients but can decrease stress in patients of all ages.

      According to the ADA, “not every aquarium has to have the grandeur (or price tag) of a 1,000-gallon tank. A simple tank is a great tool for keeping people calm as the colors, lights and animal life provide a healthy distraction from stress.”

      This content was originally published here.

      More Local Hospitals Report Children With Possible COVID-19 Health Consequences – NBC New York

      Amid new concerns about the possible impact of COVID-19 on children, one Long Island hospital tells NBC New York they have seen about a dozen critically ill pediatric patients in the past two weeks with similar inflammatory symptoms. 

      “We now have at least about 12 patients in our hospital that are presenting in a similar fashion, that we think have some relation to a COVID infection,” said Dr. James Schneider, Director of Pediatric Critical Care at Cohen Children’s Hospital in Nassau. “It’s something we’re starting to see around the country.”  

      Cohen is one of several local hospitals where pediatricians say they are concerned about recent hospitalizations of previously healthy children who have become critically ill with the same features, resembling Toxic Shock Syndrome and Kawasaki disease. Kawasaki is an autoimmune sickness that can be triggered by a viral infection and if not treated quickly, can cause life-threatening damage to the arteries and the heart.  

      Top news stories in the tri-state area, in America and around the world

      “They are scattered. Each center has one or two cases,” said Pediatric Cardiologist Dr. Nadine Choueiter of Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx.

      While Dr. Choueiter noted the cases are still rare, she added, “Yes, we are seeing them and it’s important to talk about it to raise awareness so as pediatricians we look for these symptoms and treat them.”

      Symptoms can include fever for more than five days, rash, gastrointestinal symptoms, red eyes and swollen hands and feet. In addition to a dozen cases at Cohen Children’s Hospital, a source at Mount Sinai Hospital says the number of cases in their pediatric ICU grew by several this week, up from two cases on April 28. 

      A Mount Sinai spokesman declined to comment. 

      NBC New York has also confirmed at least one case at Montefiore Medical Center and another case of a toddler at NYU Langone, who was released in recent days after being treated for Kawasaki disease.  

      At Columbia Presbyterian, a spokesperson did not respond to repeated requests from NBC New York about a published report of three cases in their hospital. 

      Pediatricians say besides the serious inflammatory symptoms, what many of these children have in common is that they test positive for COVID-19 or the antibodies. They also say some of the children test negative for COVID-19, but are believed to have been exposed to the virus by immediate family members.

      Now doctors are comparing notes, trying to figure out if COVID-19 is triggering an overreaction of the immune system in some previously healthy children, perhaps even weeks after they were exposed. 

      “The interesting part is only now are we seeing these patients show up,” Dr. Schneider said, adding that the question remains “Is this a typical surge in Kawasaki disease or is this the typical post-infectious response to a COVID infection?” 

      Doctors say it is also possible that these cases are unrelated to COVID-19, but it is hard to know, since health officials do not require such symptoms in children to be tracked. It is still unclear if local public health officials have started counting these cases to determine if there is an uptick.

      The New York City Health Department seemed unaware of the local cases when NBC New York first inquired about doctors’ concerns at a news conference with Mayor Bill de Blasio on April 29.

      “We have not seen this to date,” said Commissioner Oxiris Barbot of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

      Two days later on May 1, when NBC New York asked for an update, Commissioner Barbot said she is trying to learn more about any potential health threat to children.

      “We are looking closely at this, “ Barbot said. “My team has reached out to the pediatric hospitals to get more information about specific cases that they have concerns are indicating an inflammatory cardiovascular response in children that had not been previously observed.” 

      Barbot said she had also personally communicated with the NYC Medical Examiner who is attempting to compile any information on children abroad who may have died after developing these symptoms. British pediatricians and health officials also issued a warning on April 26 about a possible COVID-Kawasaki link in young children. 

      “It just goes to show that COVID does not spare any age group and can lead to very serious illness, even in kids,” said Dr. Schneider.

      This content was originally published here.

      Cranston orthodontist fears a burglary, but finds a turkey

      John Hill Journal Staff Writer jghilliii

      CRANSTON, R.I. — It was Columbus Day and Joseph E. Pezza and his wife had gotten back from a weekend in Nashville. The Pontiac Avenue orthodontist decided to stop by the office to check the mail and make sure everything was set for Tuesday morning.

      But someone was already waiting in the office. He’d come through the office window, a fully grown wild turkey.

      The waiting area was strewn with broken glass, Pezza said, and at first he thought he been the victim of a burglary. He went into his office to leave a message for the building manager and while he was wondering if he should call the police, the reason for the carnage became apparent.

      “I went back into the room and all of a sudden this bird flies over my head,” Pezza said.

      Pezza said he immediately headed back to his office, closed the door and waited for the building crew.

      Pezza and his son Gregory are Pezza Orthodontics, located in a four-story office building off Pontiac Avenue near the interchange with Pontiac Avenue and Route 37. Birds sometimes bump into the back windows of the building, some of the office staff said, but the turkey was a first.

      “It was double-pane glass, “ Pezza said, in wonder that the bird could fly high enough and fast enough to smash through the window. And survive

      The maintenance crew worked to get the bird into a large bucket to get the bird out of the building, Pezza said, but it collapsed and died, possibly of shock or injuries suffered in the crash.

      For now, the window is covered with a square of wood, with a felt turkey hanging from the center.

      He declined to say if the incident was going to affect his plans for Thanksgiving.

      This content was originally published here.

      Visiting an Orthodontist – Women Fitness Magazine

      The Benefits of Visiting an Orthodontist
      The Benefits of Visiting an Orthodontist

      The Benefits of Visiting an Orthodontist : When we know that something is going wrong with our teeth, a toothache or sensitivity perhaps, we generally think about making an appointment to see a dentist. However, what about when you have a dissatisfaction with your smile?

      If you have always been unhappy about the state of your teeth or you just want to see an improvement in your smile, then what you need to do is visit an orthodontist. You may be interested to know that your orthodontist in Stockport can offer various non-surgical treatments that your dentist can’t. Read on to find out what services your orthodontist can provide:

      What does an Orthodontist do?

      An orthodontist is a qualified dentist who has undertaken years of study to become a specialist. He or she can help adults and children alike with common dental problems using a variety of non-surgical procedures and corrective appliances. These include aligners such as Invisalign or metal braces to correct crooked teeth, but this is just one of the issues an orthodontist can help with.

      An orthodontist can diagnose a problem which may not have occurred to the patient, but which has been causing significant difficulties in eating and smiling and could even have been causing pain. These can include:

      An incorrect jaw position or jaw joint disorder such as temporomandibular disorder, or night-time teeth grinding can also be diagnosed and treated.

      Other services which an orthodontist can provide include:

      Why visit an Orthodontist?

      Too many people are inclined to simply put up with dental problems, particularly where there are cosmetic anomalies rather than having things fixed. The problem is that if things are not treated, they can go on to become much worse over time.

      For example, where the teeth are overcrowded or overlapping, they can be difficult to clean properly. Eventually, this could lead to tooth decay and even gum disease. A gap in the teeth, which is called a diastema, can become larger over time and this can have the effect of pushing adjoining teeth out of position. An orthodontist can correct this by pulling the teeth back together essentially filling in the gap.

      Problems with the teeth generally start in childhood and having misaligned teeth, or too many teeth, in childhood can be especially problematic for the child as they grow. Early visits to an orthodontist are advisable where braces will usually be recommended and fitted to precisely correct the child’s problem teeth.

      Gum Disease

      Dentists will always advise on how to prevent gum disease and will tell you that the best way is to practice correct oral hygiene through regular brushing and flossing of the teeth, and using the correct type of toothbrush and toothpaste. Unfortunately, gum disease is still a problem which if left untreated can have far-reaching effects.

      Gum disease begins with plaque, which if not properly removed turns into tartar. This build-up can cause the gums to become sore and inflamed. Tartar is very difficult to remove and can only be removed professionally by your dentist or orthodontist.

      When teeth are misaligned or overcrowded, there is a greater likelihood of developing gum disease through an inability to clean them properly, but if your teeth are correctly aligned and spaced this likelihood reduces. Corrective orthodontic treatment, along with advice on correct brushing and flossing techniques, will ensure good oral health as well as a healthy smile you can be proud of.

      Related Videos about the Benefits of Visiting an Orthodontist :

      Why should you care about orthodontics?

      The benefits of Orthodontics and Straight Teeth In Children and Adults – Winnipeg Dentist

      HOW BRACES WORK

      Why orthodontics matters

      Why Visit an Orthodontist?

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      orthodontist appointment stages, how long after your first orthodontist appointment do you get braces, orthodontist consultation fee, orthodontist vs dentist, what happens at your second orthodontist appointment, orthodontist consultation questions, orthodontist meaning,


      This content was originally published here.

      Florida megachurch pastor arrested for holding services despite health order

      A Florida pastor was arrested on Monday for holding services at a Tampa megachurch in violation of a public health order prohibiting large gatherings to stem the spread of the coronavirus.  

      Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne was charged with misdemeanor counts of unlawful assembly and violation of the public health rules, according to Fox 13, Tampa Bay’s local affiliate.

      Howard-Browne’s apprehension came after he held two Sunday services with up to 500 attendees, even offering bus service to the church.

      “His reckless disregard for human life put hundreds of people in his congregation and thousands of residents who may interact with them this week in danger,” said Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister, who issued an arrest warrant earlier Monday.

      Despite social distancing measures to curb person-to-person transmission of the coronavirus, the River at Tampa Bay Church announced earlier this month that it intended to remain open to comfort those in need, even as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases rose across the country.  

      “In a time of national crisis, we expect certain institutions to be open and certain people to be on duty. We expect hospitals to have their doors open 24/7 to receive and treat patients. We expect our police and firefighters to be ready and available to rescue and to help and to keep the peace. The Church is another one of those essential services. It is a place where people turn for help and for comfort in a climate of fear and uncertainty,” the church said in a statement.

      The River at Tampa Bay Church was one of several regional churches that drew hundreds of worshipers recently despite bans on public gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic.

      Earlier in March, a Louisiana church held a service attended by about 300 people despite a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people by Gov. John Bel Edwards (D). The Rev. Tony Spell of Life Tabernacle Church in East Baton Rouge Parish said at the time that the virus was “not a concern.”

      President TrumpDonald John TrumpCuomo grilled by brother about running for president: ‘No. no’ Maxine Waters unleashes over Trump COVID-19 response: ‘Stop congratulating yourself! You’re a failure’ Meadows resigns from Congress, heads to White House MORE last week said during a Fox News town hall at the White House that he would “love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter,” describing his April 12 target date as a “beautiful timeline” and adding that he hoped to see “packed pews.”  

      But Trump reversed course on Sunday, announcing the White House would keep its guidelines for social distancing in place through the end of April to try to blunt the spread of the coronavirus.

      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.

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      This content was originally published here.