RESULTS: Amherst Orthodontics Trick-or-Trot Lil’ Pumpkin Run – 2020 – MillenniumRunning.com

Millennium Running is fueled by the passion of promoting healthy, enjoyable lifestyles. With over a dozen Signature road races and triathlons, a running specialty store, the Millennium Running Club, plus all-purpose timing and event services. 

This content was originally published here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What compelled you to get involved with this project? 

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

Are you a gamer yourself?

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

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

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

How similar is Cyberpunk Nina to real life Nina?

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

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

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

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

Anything else you want to say?

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

This content was originally published here.

Coronavirus Resource Center – Harvard Health

Coping with coronavirus:

The news about coronavirus and its impact on our day-to-day lives has been unrelenting. There’s reason for concern and it makes good sense to take the pandemic seriously. But it’s not good for your mind or your body to be on high alert all the time. Doing so will wear you down emotionally and physically.

Click here to read more about coping with coronavirus.

New questions and answers

When can I discontinue my self-quarantine?

A full, 14-day quarantine remains the best way to ensure that you don’t spread the virus to others after you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19. However, according to CDC guidelines, you may discontinue quarantine after a minimum of 10 days if you do not have any symptoms, or after a minimum of 7 days if you have a negative COVID test within 48 hours of when you plan to end quarantine.

Who will get the first COVID-19 vaccines?

Healthcare workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities will get the first COVID-19 vaccines once the vaccines are granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

There are about 21 million healthcare workers in the US, doing a variety of jobs in hospitals and outpatient clinics, pharmacies, emergency medical services, and public health. Another three million people reside or work in long-term care facilities, which include nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, and residential care facilities. COVID-19 has taken a heavy toll on residents of long-term care facilities.

Both Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have applied to the FDA for EUA of their vaccines. Pfizer’s vaccine is expected to receive EUA in mid-December, and Moderna’s vaccine soon after. Both of these vaccines require two doses spaced a few weeks apart. The companies estimate that they will have enough to vaccinate about 20 million people by the end of December, with vaccine production continuing to ramp up in early 2021. Other vaccines, including one by AstraZeneca, are also on the horizon.

The next priority groups for vaccination are expected to include essential workers, adults with underlying medical conditions that increase risk for severe COVID-19, and adults over age 65.

The CDC’s guidance is based on a recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), made up of experts in vaccinology, immunology, virology, public health, and other related fields. Their work is not limited to the COVID-19 vaccine; they broadly advise the CDC on vaccinations and immunization schedules.

What are adenovirus vaccines? What do we know about adenovirus vaccines that are being developed for COVID-19?

Adenoviruses can cause a variety of illnesses, including the common cold. They are being used in two leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates as capsules (the scientific term is vectors) to deliver the coronavirus spike protein into the body. The spike protein prompts the immune system to produce antibodies against it, preparing the body to attack the SARS-CoV-2 virus if it later infects the body.

In a press release, AstraZeneca announced promising preliminary results of an adenovirus-based vaccine that it developed with researchers at the University of Oxford.

The preliminary analysis was based on more than 23,000 adult study participants enrolled in a phase 3 clinical trial. Of these, nearly 9,000 participants received a full dose of the coronavirus vaccine, followed four weeks later by another full dose. Nearly 3,000 participants received a half dose of the coronavirus vaccine, followed four weeks later by a full dose. The control group received a meningitis vaccine, followed by a second meningitis vaccine or a placebo (a saltwater shot). There were 131 documented cases of COVID-19, all of which occurred at least two weeks after the second shot.

The coronavirus vaccine reduced the risk of COVID-19 by an average of 70.4%, compared to the control group. Surprisingly, the half dose/full dose vaccine combination was more effective, reducing risk of COVID-19 by 90%. The full dose combination reduced risk by 62%. None of the participants who received the coronavirus vaccine developed severe COVID-19 or had to be hospitalized. There was also a reduction in asymptomatic cases.

All study participants were healthy or had stable underlying medical conditions. This vaccine is in clinical trials around the world, including the US. But this analysis was based on data from the United Kingdom and Brazil.

The adenovirus used in the AstraZeneca/University of Oxford vaccine is a weakened, harmless form of a chimpanzee common-cold adenovirus. This vaccine can be safely refrigerated for several months.

What are monoclonal antibodies? Can they help treat COVID-19?

The FDA has granted emergency use authorization (EUA) to two new treatments for COVID-19. Both are monoclonal antibodies. And both have been approved to treat non-hospitalized adults and children over age 12 with mild to moderate symptoms who have recently tested positive for COVID-19, and who are at risk for developing severe COVID-19 or being hospitalized for it. This includes people over 65, people with obesity, and those with certain chronic medical conditions.

The FDA granted EUA to the first treatment, a monoclonal antibody called bamlanivimab made by Eli Lilly, based on an interim analysis of results from a well-designed but small clinical trial. The study looked at 465 non-hospitalized adults with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms who were at high risk of severe disease. A placebo was given to 156 of these patients. The remaining patients were given one of three different doses of bamlanivimab. Patients treated with the monoclonal antibody had a reduced risk (3% versus 10%) of being hospitalized or visiting the ER within 28 days after treatment, compared to patients given a placebo. This is a single-dose treatment that must be given intravenously and within 10 days of developing symptoms.

The FDA has also granted EUA to a combination therapy consisting of two monoclonal antibodies, casirivimab and imdevimab, made by Regeneron. The EUA was based on results from a clinical trial that enrolled 799 non-hospitalized adults with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms. The participants were divided into three groups, two of which received the casirivimab-imdevimab combination but at different doses. The third group received a placebo. For patients at high risk for severe disease, those treated with the monoclonal antibody treatment had a reduced risk (3% versus 9%) of being hospitalized or visiting the ER within 28 days of treatment. This treatment must also be given intravenously in a clinic or hospital.

Monoclonal antibodies are manmade versions of the antibodies that our bodies naturally make to fight invaders, such as the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Both of these FDA-approved therapies attack the coronavirus’s spike protein, making it more difficult for the virus to attach to and enter human cells.

These treatments are not authorized for hospitalized COVID-19 patients or those receiving oxygen therapy. They have not shown to benefit these patients and could lead to worse outcomes in these patients.

Is there an at-home diagnostic test for COVID-19?

The FDA has approved the first diagnostic test for COVID-19 that can be completed entirely at home, from sample collection to receiving the results. Other FDA-approved COVID-19 tests allow at-home sample collection, but still have to be shipped to a laboratory for processing.

The Lucira COVID-19 All-In-One Test Kit is approved for people ages 14 and older who are suspected of having COVID-19. It requires a doctor’s prescription. The company does not expect the test to be widely available until the spring of 2021.

To perform the test, you swirl a swab in both nostrils, then stir the swab in a vial of chemicals. The vial is then plugged into a battery-powered test unit, which returns a positive or negative test result within 30 minutes.

The test works by making copies of the virus’s genetic material (if present) until it reaches detectable levels. It does this using a technique called loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP). The method is similar to PCR, the gold standard of COVID-19 diagnostic testing. The LAMP test provides much faster results, but it is less accurate. In a head-to-head comparison, the Lucira test missed 6% of people who tested positive for COVID by PCR.

Because a person can be infected and have a negative LAMP test, you should always self-quarantine if you have symptoms consistent with COVID, or have had recent contact with someone who has the infection, until you can get a PCR test.

What are mRNA vaccines? What do we know about mRNA vaccines that are being developed for COVID-19?

mRNA, or messenger RNA, is genetic material that contains instructions for making proteins. mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 contain synthetic mRNA. Inside the body, the mRNA enters human cells and instructs them to produce the “spike” protein found on the surface of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The body recognizes the spike protein as an invader, and produces antibodies against it. If the antibodies later encounter the actual virus, they are ready to recognize and destroy it before it causes illness.

In the past couple of weeks, two companies have released promising data about their mRNA vaccines. Results for both vaccines were reported in company press releases, not in peer reviewed scientific journals.

One of the mRNA vaccines was developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. Their phase 3 clinical trial found that their vaccine reduced the risk of infection by 95%. The trial enrolled nearly 44,000 adults. Of these, half received the vaccine and half got a placebo (a shot of saltwater). Of the 170 cases of COVID-19 that developed in the study participants, 162 were in the placebo group and eight were in the vaccine group. Nine of the 10 severe COVID cases occurred in the placebo group. This suggests that the vaccine reduces risk of both mild and severe COVID. The vaccine was consistently effective across age, race, and ethnicity. Of the US study participants, 30% were people of color and 45% were age 56 to 85.

The other mRNA vaccine, developed by Moderna, released an interim analysis of its phase 3 trial, announcing that its vaccine was 94.5% effective. This study enrolled 30,000 adults; half received the vaccine, half received a saltwater placebo shot. There were 95 infections among the study participants. Of these, 90 were in the placebo group and 5 were in the vaccine group. All 11 severe COVID cases occurred in the placebo group. This vaccine also appears to reduce risk of mild and severe illness. And it was effective in older people, people with medical conditions that put them at high risk for severe illness, and in racial and ethnic minorities, which made up 37% of the study participants. The study enrolled more than 7,000 participants older than 65, and more than 5,000 people under 65 who were at high risk for severe illness.

Both vaccines had a good safety record. Side effects included fatigue, headache, and muscle pain.

These results are promising, but there are still questions left to be answered. For example, we do not yet know how long immunity from these vaccines will last. Both of these vaccines require two doses (three weeks between shots for the Pfizer vaccine and four weeks between shots for the Moderna vaccine), and we don’t know how effective the vaccine is in people who only get one dose. There is also the question of storage. mRNA vaccines must be stored at very cold temperatures, and improperly stored vaccines can become inactive.

Do pregnant women face increased risks from COVID-19?

A large study from the CDC has found that pregnant women are at increased risk of severe COVID-19 illness compared to women who are not pregnant.

The study looked at 409,462 women, ages 15 to 44, who had symptomatic COVID-19. Of these women, 23,434 were pregnant. Even after taking age, race, ethnicity, and underlying health conditions into consideration, pregnant women were significantly more likely to need intensive care, to require a ventilator, and to require a heart-lung bypass machine, compared to women who were not pregnant. They were also 70% more likely to die.

It’s important to note that the overall risk of these complications was low. For example, 1.5 symptomatic pregnant women out of 1,000 died, compared to 1.2 symptomatic women out of 1,000 who were not pregnant.

The CDC also released a smaller study, which found that women who were infected with the COVID-19 virus during pregnancy were more likely to deliver preterm (earlier than 37 weeks).

If you are pregnant, be vigilant about taking precautions. Wear a mask, physically distance from others, and avoid social gatherings. Do your best to follow the CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself if someone in your household becomes infected.

Continue to see your doctor for prenatal visits and get any recommended vaccines. Call your doctor’s office to discuss safety precautions if you have concerns.

Could wearing masks prevent COVID deaths?

According to a new study published in the journal Nature Medicine, widespread use of masks could prevent nearly 130,000 of 500,000 COVID-related deaths estimated to occur by March 2021.

These numbers are based on an epidemiological model. The researchers considered, state by state, the number of people susceptible to coronavirus infection, how many get exposed, how many then become infected (and infectious), and how many recover. They then modeled various scenarios, including mask wearing, assuming that social distancing mandates would go into effect once the number of deaths exceeded 8 per 1 million people.

Modeling studies are based on assumptions, so the exact numbers are less important than the comparisons of different scenarios. In this study, a scenario in which 95% of people always wore masks in public resulted in many fewer deaths compared to a scenario in which only 49% of people (the self-reported national average of mask wearers) always wore masks in public.

This study reinforces the message that we can help prevent COVID deaths by wearing masks.

What does the CDC’s new definition of “close contacts” mean for me?

The CDC has expanded how it defines close contacts of someone with COVID-19. Until this point, the CDC had defined a close contact as someone who spent 15 or more consecutive minutes within six feet of someone with COVID-19. According to the new definition, a close contact is someone who spends 15 minutes or more within six feet of a person with COVID-19 over a period of 24 hours.

Close contacts are at increased risk of infection. When a person tests positive for COVID-19, contact tracers may identify their close contacts and urge them to quarantine to prevent further spread. Based on the new definition, more people will now be considered close contacts.

Many factors can affect the chances that infection will spread from one person to another. These factors include whether or one or both people are wearing masks, whether the infected person is coughing or showing other symptoms, and whether the encounter occurred indoors or outdoors. Though the “15 minutes within six feet rule” is a helpful guideline, it’s always best to minimize close interactions with people who are not members of your household.

The CDC’s new definition was influenced by a case described in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report in which a correctional officer in Vermont is believed to have been infected after being within six feet for 17 non-consecutive minutes of six asymptomatic individuals, all of whom later tested positive for COVID-19.

How does obesity increase risk of COVID-19?

According to a recent review and meta-analysis that looked at 75 international studies on the subject, obesity is a significant risk factor for illness and death due to COVID-19.

When looking at people with COVID-19, the analysis found that, compared with people who were normal weight or overweight, people who were obese were

Obesity may impact COVID risk in several ways. For example, obesity increases the risk of impaired immune function and chronic inflammation, both of which could make it harder for the body to fight the COVID-19 infection. Excess fat can also make it harder for a person to take a deep breath, an important consideration for an illness that impairs lung function.

People who are obese are also more likely to have diabetes and high blood pressure, which are themselves risk factors for severe COVID-19. And obesity is more common in Black, Latinx, and Native Americas, who are more likely to get infected and die from COVID-19 than whites for a variety of reasons.

If you have obesity (defined as a body mass index, or BMI, of 30 or higher), stay vigilant about protecting yourself from infection. That means maintaining physical distance, avoiding crowds when possible, wearing masks, and washing your hands often.

This content was originally published here.

10 Equine Dentistry Resources on TheHorse.com – The Horse

The American Association of Equine Practitioners recommends adult horses receive annual oral and dental exams by licensed veterinarians. Doing so can help horses avoid nutritional and behavioral issues related to tooth pain. To help you brush up on your equine dental knowledge, we’ve scoured our archives and collected 10 important resources available to you for free on TheHorse.com.

Find more equine dentistry information by searching “dentistry” or by visiting the dentistry and dental problem subtopics on TheHorse.com.

ARTICLE: Study: Dental Work Improves Feed Digestibility in Horses Increased feed digestibility means greater conversion of feed to energy and–ideally–reduced feed bills.

ARTICLE: EOTRH: An Important Dental Condition in Aged Horses Scientists reviewed research on this painful disease that affects a horse’s teeth, gums, and bone.

ARTICLE: Signs Your Horse Needs a Dental Exam Are your horse’s teeth bothering him? Here are some common signs to watch for.

ARTICLE: Complications Rare Following Equine Tooth Extractions Researchers reviewed dental records from 428 tooth extractions. Here’s what they found.

ARTICLE: The Evolution of Equids and Dental Work The modern horse’s dentition results from millions of years of evolution in response to changing food sources and climates. Likewise, how veterinarians treat today’s equine teeth must evolve and improve constantly.

ARTICLE: Equine Wolf Teeth While these teeth usually don’t pose a health risk to the horse, they are often removed in performance horses.

ARTICLE: Back to Basics: Equine Dental Terminology and Anatomy Having a basic understanding of dental anatomy and terminology can help owners comprehend this complex topic.

SLIDESHOW: Equine Dental Care and Health Dental care is an important part of keeping a horse healthy and happy throughout his life. Learn about common tooth problems and regular dental care in this slideshow.

ARTICLE: Year by Year, Tooth by Tooth Answers to equine dental-care questions will vary with each individual horse and circumstance. Horses do, however, have some general tendencies based on age, gender, career, overall health, and dental health that provide guidelines from which to make recommendations.

SPONSORED ARTICLE: What to Expect During Your Horse’s Dental Exam Dental exams are safe, routine procedures that will keep your horse feeling his best all year.

This content was originally published here.

Biden puts health care front and center with a call to expand Obamacare

WASHINGTON — President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday laid out his case for expanding the Affordable Care Act, saying the coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the urgent need to give more Americans access to health insurance.

“Beginning on Jan. 20, Vice President-elect [Kamala] Harris and I will do everything we can to ease the burden of health care on you and your family,” Biden said in a speech in Wilmington, Delaware.

Introducing Biden on stage, Harris said Biden’s election victory over President Donald Trump amounted to a mandate for expanding access to health care and health insurance.

“Each and every vote for Joe Biden was a statement that health care in America should be a right and not a privilege,” she said. “Each and every vote for Joe Biden was a vote to protect and expand the Affordable Care Act, not to tear it away in the midst of a global pandemic.”

Biden’s remarks were timed to pivot off oral arguments Tuesday before the Supreme Court in a major case over the constitutionality of the landmark 2010 health-care law. 

But they also reflect the preeminent position that health and health-care issues occupy within the incoming Biden administration’s broader policy agenda.

Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election on Saturday, after he secured the 270 Electoral College votes needed to defeat President Donald Trump. 

“My transition team will soon be starting its work to flesh out the details so that we can hit the ground running, tackling costs, increasing access, lowering the price of prescription drugs. Families are reeling right now. … They need a lifeline, and they need it now,” said Biden.

On Monday, his first full workday as president-elect, Biden met with his newly assembled coronavirus task force and spoke afterward about the need for a nationwide campaign to encourage mask-wearing. Biden’s decision to use his second workday as president-elect to speak again about health and health care was noteworthy. 

“This doesn’t need to be a partisan issue. It’s a human issue,” he said of expanding health insurance.

Expanding the ACA to include a government-administered health insurance option was a core promise of Biden’s presidential campaign.

But Biden aides and advisors also knew that it was one of the pledges that relied most heavily on Democrats winning majorities in the House and Senate. 

With Republicans currently expected to hold on to their majority in the Senate, any “public option” expansion of the ACA is likely to exist more as a negotiating platform than a legislative reality.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has repeatedly called Obamacare “the single worst piece of legislation to pass in the last 50 years.”

This content was originally published here.

14 Things You Should Know Before You Get Invisalign | Chief Health

Invisalign braces sound fantastic – don’t they? They actually are too! However, here are 14 things you should know before you get Invisalign…

Every time a celebrity smiles for the camera, we can’t help but notice the perfect set of teeth they have. Some people feel envious of the perfectly straight set of pearly whites, while others can only hope that they get new ones just like Dustin Matarazzo (Stranger Things).

Sometimes, even after wearing braces for a decade, teeth don’t become flawless. People, who have gone through the pain of wearing traditional braces know the discomfort of the entire process.

Even after taking them off, there might be significant space between the teeth, which can cause difficulty in chewing.

Apart from the functional challenges, uneven teeth can cause a significant lack of confidence. We have seen teenagers, and young adults shy away from photos and selfies because they are conscious of their crooked teeth.

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Some impressionable children spend hours in front of the mirror practicing closed-mouth smiles or daydreaming about the day they will have straight teeth.

Teeth can be stubborn, and it can take multiple rounds of braces and jaw surgeries to correct the dental alignment. It is not only a costly procedure but also a painful one. Most adults do not have a health insurance plan that covers dental surgeries.

Moreover, these surgeries can take multiple sittings over two to four weeks, depending upon the complications. One modern and almost pain-less alternative is the Invisalign method.

According to an expert Orthodontist, Invisalign is similar to braces, but instead of metal wires and brackets, Invisalign uses invisible, custom-made aligners or retainers of plastic. These are significantly less noticeable than regular braces.

If you are an adult, who has always shied away from wearing braces as a kid, or someone who remembers how odd it felt wearing colorful “straightjacket” on your teeth, the Invisalign braces are worth a try.

Since these are relatively new and not a lot of orthodontists in the city work with them, you might find it challenging to find consolidated information on Invisalign and their benefits. We are happy to share the insight from Invisalign users from the last few years –

1. You Will Need To Wear Them 22 Hours Per Day

We have seen actors wear their retainers before sleeping and take them off before leaving for work. Like many Hollywood fantasies, their retainer wear time is one as well.

You might want to rethink your plans of taking them off for going on date night or heading to bed. You should keep them on unless it is time for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Moreover, you might want to invest in a couple of travel-sized toothbrushes for emergencies.

2. Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner Are Your Friend

Taking Invisalign braces off and putting them back on can be a difficult task when you’re first starting out. With this in mind, you will want pack on the calories for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to avoid excess snacking and taking your braces off more than you need to.

3. You Might Receive More Attachments Than You Expect

Invisalign braces sometimes include attachments. These attachments hold the Invisalign aligners in place and stick to your teeth just like braces brackets. They are often enamel-colored so the bumps are virtually invisible.

It is quite similar to wearing braces, except the Invisalign attachments are inconspicuous and less uncomfortable. Be warned – you may be told that you only need a few and end up with 20 (or more).

4. You May Lose Weight

Since the recommended wear time is 22 hours, that leaves two hours to eat per day. It’s an ambitious goal, but you should do your best to follow the guidelines. It really sucks to pull off your aligners more times than necessary because of how tight the Invisalign braces are and how sore your teeth may become. Even if you attempt to pack on the calories at mealtime, you may still be hungry many hours throughout the day – resulting in weight loss.

5. Say Goodbye To Your Favorite Lipstick

Colored lip gloss and lipsticks won’t be your friend when you begin using Invisalign braces. Lipstick and colored lip gloss easily sticks to the aligners and the attachments. Clear lip balm and gloss will be okay, but even they can leave a waxy residue on the aligners. Dramatic eye makeup can draw some of the attention away from your teeth.

6. No More Manicures

Popping the aligners in and out is almost impossible without nails, so unless you’re hapy with chipped nails, you should only buff them and stay away from painting them. If you still want to have gorgeous nails and avoid chipping them, you will want to buy an aligner removal tool.

7. Kissing Gets Awkward

Who would’ve guessed it? Yes, it is really weird trying to kiss with a giant plastic device all in and around your mouth. However, Invisalign shouldn’t kill your love life unless kissing is all you’re good at… (Don’t worry – we are only teasing!)

8. Whitening Isn’t An Option Until After You’re Finished

As long as the attachments are on your teeth, whitening won’t be an option until the treatment is complete. However, brushing your teeth often and avoiding stain-causing beverages will help your enamel quite a bit.

9. You Will Have To Be More Careful About Oral Hygiene

Brushing your teeth will become an addiction once you get the Invisalign braces. It is quite easy to get food and bits of snacks in the attachments.

Unless you brush more than three times per day, at least once every meal, you will suffer from bad breath and cavities. Not brushing is the leading cause of plaque buildup and tartar formation.

Always carry a toothbrush and toothpaste set with you, along with a small bottle of any mouthwash your orthodontist recommends.

10. The Invisalign Attachments Capture Stains

When you drink tea and coffee, without a complementary brushing habit, you are at full risk of developing stains on your attachments. Although Invisalign is almost invisible, these stains can take away that advantage. You might end up with blotchy looking attachments with bits of sugary stacks stuck all over your teeth.

11. No Hot Food

You can only drink cold water, or drinks at room temperature because hot water and other hot beverages will easily stain the aligners. Plus, they might even warp the attachments.

You might want to avoid sugar and alcoholic drinks. Alcohol with high congener content can increase the plaque buildup and stain the aligners. Reports from regular Invisalign users state that drinking red wine can stain the retainers almost immediately.

12. You Will Receive A Refinement Aligner

Once you complete your basic set of Invisalign retainers, you will receive another set of custom designed refinement aligners that can fix any stubborn crooked teeth. These can take care of the slightly misaligned teeth and the unsightly spaces between them. You should speak with your orthodontist before you begin your Invisalign treatment.

13. Consult With Your Orthodontist When Planning Vacations

Find out from your orthodontist about the next set of appointment dates before you head off to the tropics for summer. Although the Invisalign attachments require next to no maintenance, as long as you are regular with your brushing and honest with your oral hygiene, you might want to consult your dental expert before you make big plans in the next few months.

14. It’s A Small Sacrifice For A Giant Gain

Wearing Invisalign retainers is a breeze compared to wearing the metal braces we received as children. The duration of wearing this retainer will vary from one person to another depending on the condition of their teeth. You should consult your orthodontist regarding the different stages of Invisalign and refinement retainer attachments.

There aren’t too many cons of wearing Invisalign instead of going for metal braces or corrective surgery. The cost is negligible considering the long-term positive effect of the retainers on teeth alignment and self-confidence. Invisalign will help you make the right choice in life, and it will give you the perfect teeth you have always desired.

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This content was originally published here.

“Bring Hearts and Souls Back”: Ohio’s Former Top Public-Health Official on How America Can Avoid Dual Cataclysms | The New Yorker

On January 13, 1919, as the third wave of the so-called Spanish-flu pandemic began, the governor of Ohio, James Cox, delivered his inaugural address. Propagandist bulletins from the U.S. Public Health Service had called the virus “a very contagious kind of ‘cold,’ ” but Cox used his speech to note the “appalling” number of fatalities—the United States ultimately lost some six hundred and seventy-five thousand people. The federal government was of little help. Only five of Ohio’s cities employed full-time health officers. “And then when the outbreak was acute outside the municipalities, conditions were even worse,” Cox said, referring to an earlier wave. “In fact, they were well-nigh unspeakable.” Cox urged the “radical reorganization” of Ohio’s more than two thousand separate health jurisdictions and said that the need for “scientific resistance” to public-health emergencies was “second in importance” only to fighting in the First World War.

Exactly a century later, a new governor, Mike DeWine, took office. DeWine, a Republican, was Ohio’s former attorney general, and, in the early two-thousands, he had been a U.S. senator. The state’s public-health system now consisted of a hundred and thirteen independent programs in eighty-eight counties. The population was largely older, and there were many smokers; opioid addiction alone had recently killed tens of thousands of Ohioans. “Public health had been ignored for decades,” DeWine told me. “It was something we took for granted.”

Ohio does not require the state’s top health official to be a physician: when DeWine took office, in 2019, the most recent directors had been a lawyer and the former head of the Ohio Turnpike Commission. DeWine wanted a medical doctor for the cabinet position, one who could both lead a large staff and, he told me, “communicate to the people of the state of Ohio about health issues in general.” His top adviser, Ann O’Donnell, recommended Dr. Amy Acton, whom she knew through the Columbus Foundation, one of the country’s largest community charitable organizations.

Acton is fifty-four. In 1990, during the crack-cocaine epidemic, she interned at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in the Bronx, where she saw “rooms full of babies in incubators” who had contracted diseases in utero and would soon die. “It was devastating,” she told me the other day. “I saw how things can spiral.” Acton left clinical medicine to pursue teaching and philanthropy; by the time DeWine took office, she worked as a community research and grants officer at the Columbus Foundation.

O’Donnell thought that Acton would make a good health director partly because she had heard her mention a “tough childhood.” Acton is from the north side of Youngstown, in northeastern Ohio. Her father, who had worked in a steel mill, and her mother, an artist, divorced when she was three. Acton and her younger brother Philip lived with their mother, who remarried when Acton was about nine, after having moved around a lot. This deeply unstable period ended with the family spending part of one winter living in a tent, and with Acton, at age twelve, accusing her stepfather of sexual abuse. O’Donnell told me, “My mother used to talk about suffering: the people who have suffered have something special about them.”

Acton had a steely warmth that made her approachable; a former Ohio State University professor, she was skilled at explaining complex subjects. She and her husband, Eric, a schoolteacher and cross-country coach in the Columbus suburb of Bexley, had, between them, six grown children. “Her way of seeing, and of operating in the world, is not bureaucratic,” O’Donnell told me, adding that DeWine considers her “as much an artist as she is a scientist.” Acton lacked experience in the public spotlight, but O’Donnell strongly urged the governor to choose her anyway.

Acton began work on February 26, 2019, immediately thinking of Ohio’s nearly twelve million residents as her patients. Shortly after her swearing-in ceremony, she defended her department’s budget before a legislative committee, explaining that part of her duties involved emergency preparedness. Breaking from her written comments, she told the lawmakers, “I will be on call, most nights, for as long as you know me, with the worry of these issues.”

Ohio’s legislature contains a far-right element, and there is anti-vaccine sentiment in the state. Acton wanted to create a path for all Ohioans to understand how they could flourish, and told me, “How do you build that, as a community?” She and I were talking, last week, in Columbus, at the offices of the foundation, which is headquartered at the historic former governor’s mansion. The first time we met, we sat spaced out, on benches, in a leaf-strewn courtyard. Acton, who is dark-haired and lean, wore a black dress, tights, flats, a trench, and, snug around her ears, a taupe toboggan twinkling with subtle sparkles. Wellness, she explained, involves more than the mere absence of disease. Public health calls upon societal protections, many of which are beyond individuals’ control: food safety, immunization, the eradication of poisonous lead. As health director, she had been working on modernizing the state system for nearly a year when she began hearing about a “weird pneumonia” afflicting Wuhan, China.

Wuhan is the capital of Hubei Province—Ohio’s sister state. Scores of people routinely travel between the two locations, for business and school. Thousands of Chinese students attended Miami University, near Cincinnati. Ohioans had been taking sea cruises, and touring places like the Nile River, Acton told me. By the time the C.D.C. and the White House started having regular press conferences about COVID-19, in February, she suspected that the virus was already seeded in Ohio.

The Arnold Sports Festival and Arnold Classic were scheduled for the first weekend in March. The annual sporting event—founded by Arnold Schwarzenegger, the actor and former California governor—draws more than twenty-two thousand athletes and tens of thousands of spectators, and involves a trade show. Acton said, “We had this whole discussion. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s on the phone—so you’ve got that voice.” She and DeWine decided to largely close the event to most spectators. DeWine told me, “Everybody thought we were crazy.” But bringing in thousands of people from eighty countries, for four days, portended “disaster.”

Observing chaos in the federal response—“The C.D.C. was saying one thing, Health and Human Services another”—Acton had been making other defensive moves. She had moved up a long-planned tabletop exercise in pandemic control, and deployed health tips online. Her self-assembled network of advisers included infectious-disease specialists and other experts she had met through her service on the board of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, which represents more than a hundred thousand public-health officials. Her communications director’s brother Rajeev Venkayya was a pulmonologist who had focussed on vaccines at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and who had worked in the George W. Bush Administration, developing the nation’s influenza-pandemic plan. (The Trump Administration later dissolved the federal pandemic office; Joe Biden has said that, if elected, he will restore it.) Acton also had begun making short public-service videos. Wearing a white medical coat, she told Ohioans, “I want you to be prepared.”

DeWine declared a state of emergency on March 9th—when there were only three confirmed COVID-19 cases in Ohio. He and Acton started holding daily press briefings. Ohio’s network affiliates carried the pressers live, at two o’clock. On March 12th, DeWine became the first governor to announce the closing of K-12 schools; he and Acton shut down polling stations, effectively rescheduling the Democratic Presidential primary. Acton told the public, “The steps we’re taking now will absolutely save lives.” On March 22nd, after imposing one of the nation’s earliest stay-at-home orders, she said, “This is our one shot, in this country.” As if speaking directly to those who were accusing her of overreacting, she said, “I am not afraid. I am determined.”

The press conferences became appointment viewing in Ohio. A Times documentary producer watched seven weeks’ worth of these pressers and turned the material into a six-minute op-doc, “The Leader We Wish We All Had,” which declared that “other leaders should pay attention” to Acton’s effective use of vulnerability, empowerment, and “brutal honesty.” One clip showed Acton tearing up when she said, “People at home: you are moving mountains.” Acton told me, “I would look at the camera and I could feel the people on the other side.”

A singer performed an Amy Acton tribute song on YouTube (“I trust you completely”; “You look so fine in your long white coat.”) The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum unveiled an Amy Acton figure. Little girls dressed up like Acton and staged living-room press conferences. On Facebook, a fan page accrued more than a hundred and thirty thousand members. An Ohio nurse told an NBC affiliate, “I actually cry pretty much every time I watch her, because she’s very inspiring.” At a presser, Acton, after reading one child’s thank-you letter aloud, said that as a public servant it was her “job to do this for you.” In a poll, in March, seventy-five per cent of Ohioans said that they approved of DeWine’s management of the coronavirus crisis while forty-three per cent approved of the way President Donald Trump had handled it. The poll also included Acton. She, too, had a much higher favorability rating than Trump—sixty-four per cent.

Nationally, DeWine was being praised, along with the governors Charlie Baker, of Massachusetts, and Larry Hogan, of Maryland, as “the rare Republican official who does not automatically fall in step” with Trump. In Ohio, DeWine’s over-all favorability rating was also high. But, by the end of April, with the economy in trouble, some of Ohio’s Republican lawmakers were insisting that he reopen businesses. On April 27th, DeWine announced a phased reopening, for May. The next day, after being assailed by other Republicans, he backed off a plan to require masks at reopened businesses, calling the restriction “offensive to some of our fellow-Ohioans.”

Trump and his allies had set a publicly disparaging tone against health officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert. On April 18th—a particularly dire moment in the pandemic—the President’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, had bragged to Bob Woodward, “Trump’s now back in charge. It’s not the doctors.” In Colorado, nearly seventy per cent of local public-health officials reported receiving threats, and some resigned. In Washington State, one county official had to install a security system after making a simple phone call to remind a quarantining family to stay home: “Accusations started flying that we were spying, that we had put them under house arrest,” the official told NPR. In Nebraska, a former TV meteorologist and mayoral spokesman anonymously sent Adi Pour, head of the Douglas County health department, at least fifteen threatening e-mails, including one that read, “There was a lynching outside the Douglas County Courthouse a century and one year ago. You’re next, bitch”; in another, he wrote, “Maybe I will just slit your throat instead. That will get you to shut the fuck up.” (The meteorologist, Ronald Penzkowski, pleaded no contest to third-degree assault and stalking.) Fauci, after receiving death threats, was assigned a federal security detail.

In June, several physicians, writing in JAMA, called the harassment of health officials “extraordinary in its scope and nature,” and a “danger to the ongoing pandemic response.” They wrote that the attacks on public-health officials represented a “misunderstanding of the pandemic” and “a general decline in public civility.” The incivility started with the President: “The environment deteriorates further when elected leaders attack their own public-health officials.”

An “Anti Amy Acton” page appeared on Facebook, containing such posts as “We will always hate you Abortion Amy!!” (The Ohio health department oversees clinics that perform abortions.) She was called a “witch,” a “disgrace.” In one photo, the marquee at Phil’s Lounge & Beer Garden, in Sharonville, said, “Fuck you DeSwine and Hackton.” Protesters disrupted Acton’s press conferences by chanting outside the statehouse and pressing their faces against the windows. After Acton, who is Jewish, mentioned hosting a virtual seder, for Passover, protesters showed up at her home, with guns, wearing MAGA caps and carrying “TRUMP” flags. Their signs read “Dr. Amy Over-re-ACTON” and “Let Freedom Work.” They brought their children. DeWine told demonstrators, “I’m the elected official” and “Come after me.” Acton was assigned executive protection—a rare measure, for a public-health official—along with a retinue of state troopers.

As pressure mounted for DeWine to fully reopen Ohio, six county-level G.O.P. chairs jointly wrote to the governor, in early June, saying, “We are telling you that the damage you are doing economically is translating politically.” Republicans were “angry, disappointed, and dismayed” at DeWine’s “big-government approach.” In an editorial, the Columbus Dispatch noted certain lawmakers’ contributions to a “toxic hybrid of ignorance, fear, and hatred.”

The state’s three largest amusement parks joined a number of other businesses in lawsuits against Acton, demanding that she allow them to reopen. Republican lawmakers introduced legislation intended to strip her of her emergency powers. DeWine vowed to veto any such bill, but Acton began to worry that she might be forced to sign health orders that violated her Hippocratic oath to do no harm. On June 11th, she resigned.

Trump won Ohio in 2016, with more than fifty-two per cent of the vote. He is expected to win the state again, though narrowly. Despite surging hospitalizations and record infection rates, the President has gone on holding campaign rallies. Thousands of supporters mingle for hours, most not wearing masks, despite evidence of community spread in the wake of Trump gatherings. On October 23rd, the day before a Trump rally in Circleville, Ohio, I met an old man in a Navy cap who complained that the annual pumpkin festival had been cancelled and that the public was being forced to stay outdoors. When I explained that this was meant to protect people, he said, “From what?” Along the highway into Circleville, someone had installed a large stencilled sign that read, “JOE BIDEN IS STUPID” and “TRUMP IS A GREAT MAN.”

The next afternoon, at the rally, at the Pickaway County fairgrounds, Trump lied that “tens of thousands” of people were outside the gates and congratulated attendees for getting in. He ranted about “Sleepy Joe,” “Crazy Bernie,” “Shifty Schiff,” “treasonous things,” the “plague,” “favored nations,” and “quadruple” taxes. Biden, he said, will offshore your jobs, confiscate your guns, open your borders, eliminate your private health care, terminate your religious liberty, defund your police, destroy your suburbs. Fracking, dead birds, widespread blackouts, more fracking: “You frack till your heart’s content!” A trio of masked nuns in habits and purple vestments stood in the crowd behind him; one held a Bible aloft, as if administering a blessing or warding off a curse.

Progressives have complained that DeWine, who co-chairs Trump’s Ohio campaign, has failed to disavow the President at a crucial national moment. When I spoke with the governor, on Friday, he told me, “I know there’s people who want me to spend my time blasting Donald Trump; I’m sure there’s Trump supporters who think I have not talked enough about the President. But I’ve got to stay focussed.” Maintaining “a good relationship with the President of the United States—whoever the President is” allowed him to govern, he said. In 2022, DeWine is expected to seek a second term. His supporters suspect that he will “be primaried” next year by a far-right challenger.

The COVID-19 death toll stands at well over five thousand in Ohio and more than two hundred and thirty-one thousand in the United States. By the end of February, the national toll could reach half a million, according to a recent study by the University of Washington School of Medicine. DeWine has methodically been placing preparatory phone calls to every public-health team in Ohio. He still has not found a permanent replacement for Acton. In September, he named a new state health director. She quit within hours of DeWine’s hiring announcement, having reportedly decided that the job would pose a risk for her family.

After Acton left her cabinet position, she briefly remained an adviser to DeWine. In early August, she vacated that official role, too, and soon returned to the Columbus Foundation. (She still informally counsels the governor.) When I saw Acton last week, homes in some parts of town still displayed “Dr. Amy Acton Fan Club” yard signs.

Acton had given no media interviews since leaving government. She agreed to talk to me because she believes that, as we enter a dire pandemic phase, paired with a potentially tumultuous post-election period, the country needs, in its wellness “playbook,” a long-term emotional-survival strategy. She told me that leaders need to “lay down the science of how we could lose another two hundred thousand people, just like that.” As a public-health figure, Acton, a registered Democrat, strove to be apolitical. She and DeWine worked well together despite their party affiliations. Acton strongly believes that, should Biden win, he must not leave “a quiet space” between now and the Inauguration. “We cannot wait two and a half months to start leading and messaging” about unity, she said.

This content was originally published here.

Russian President Vladimir Putin stepping down amid health concerns: Report

Russian President Vladimir Putin is purportedly planning to step down in 2021 amid reports of health concerns, according to a new report from the Sun.

What are the details?

Putin is reportedly planning to step down next year amid health concerns that the 68-year-old — who has been the Russian president off and on for the last two decades — is suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

Moscow political scientist Valery Solovei told the outlet that Putin’s girlfriend, Alina Kabaeva, and his two adult daughters are pushing him to leave office come January.

“There is a family, it has a great influence on him,” Solovei told the outlet. “He intends to make public his handover plans in January.”

Solovei also appeared to suggest that the Russian president is suffering from Parkinson’s disease or a similar musculoskeletal condition.

The Sun reported, “Kremlin watchers said recent tell-tale footage showed the 68-year-old strongman had possible symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.”

“Observers who studied recent footage of Putin noted his legs appeared to be in constant motion and he looked to be in pain while clutching the armrest of a chair,” the outlet continued. “His fingers are also seen to be twitching as he held a pen and gripped a cup believed to contain a cocktail of painkillers.”

The New York Post reported that speculation over Putin’s plans and alleged medical condition comes as Russian lawmakers consider Putin-proposed legislation that would grant former Russian presidents a lifetime of immunity from any and all criminal prosecution.

If approved, the legislation would entitle a former president to a lifetime seat as a senator in the country’s federation council.

At the time of this reporting, Russian presidents are only protected from convictions while maintaining presidential office.

A spokesperson for the Kremlin told the Sun that speculation on Putin’s alleged medical condition is “nonsense” and that the Russian president is in “excellent health” and that “everything is fine.”

“Putin” quickly became a top-trending term on Twitter Thursday night as news of the allegations broke.

This content was originally published here.

Invisalign Shares Soar Following Huge Quarter, With Substantial Jolt From Charli D’Amelio – Tubefilter

The D’Amelio family — and specifically youngest daughter Charli — are turning out to be a massive booster for brands.

The wholesome 16-year-old and former competitor dancer is the most-followed creator on TikTok by leaps and bounds, with 95 million fans. And she has channeled this influence into myriad brand partnerships, including being named ambassador for a new Gen Z-aimed Morphe sub-brand, the face of Gen Z-Focused financial startup Step, and linking up with Dunkin’ Donuts on a signature drink, which sold hundreds of thousands of cups and significantly bolstered app downloads.

Now, CNN reports that Invisalign parent company Align Technology — maker of the transparent, teeth-adjusting devices — blew past Wall Street forecasts in the third quarter. And this was in large part due to D’Amelio. Align said that sales of its Clear Aligners — which D’Amelio helped promote to her legions of young followers — were up 26% year-over-year in terms of teenagers to 162,700 cases, significantly lifting overall revenues. Accordingly, CNN notes that the stock surged 35% following the earnings report to make it the best-performing stock in the S&P 500 by a long-shot yesterday.

In a release, Align CEO Joe Hogan sang D’amelio’s praises — as well as her campaign co-star Marsai Martin of ABCs’ hit sitcom Black-ish. For her part, D’Amelio joined the company’s so-called #SmileSquad of influencers in August, and began chronicling her process using the product.

“We saw strong response to our new teen and mom-focused consumer campaign with 118% year-over-year increase in total leads, an uptick in consumer engagement from new social media influencers like Charli D’Amelio and Marsai Martin, and a 25.6% year over year increase in teenagers using Invisalign clear aligners,” Hogan said. “Our overall revenue momentum has continued into October.”

This content was originally published here.

Viral video shows New York business owners take defiant stand when health inspector barges inside: ‘Go get a warrant’

Business owners in Buffalo-area took a defiant stand against Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s coronavirus-related restrictions on Friday, telling a local health inspector and sheriffs deputies, who showed up to enforce Cuomo’s arbitrary restrictions, to immediately leave their property because they did not have a warrant to be there.

What happened?

Robby Dinero, owner of Athletes Unleashed in Orchard Park, gathered dozens of area business owners at his gym on Friday night to discuss Cuomo’s latest business-killing restrictions, according to WGRZ-TV. Their goal was to plan how to survive the newest restrictions.

But, about 20 minutes into the meeting, members from the Erie County Department of Health and deputies from the Erie County Sheriff’s Department barged into the meeting, telling those gathered that they were violating Cuomo’s restrictions that prohibit gatherings of more than 10 people.

What happened next was caught on video and is going viral.

One of the people at the gatherings told the health department official to have compassion on area businesses and went she said that she does, another business owner told the official, “OK, well you need to go have compassion out in the parking lot.”

“This is private property. This is private property. This is private property,” the man told the health department official. The man then told the sheriff deputies to “do your jobs.”

“Your job is to remove people who are not wanted here,” the man said. One of the deputies responded by lecturing the business owners for not wearing face masks.

Another man then said, “You guys need to leave because right now, you’re trespassing without a warrant. You need to leave.” Others repeated, “Go get a warrant.”

After more back-and-forth, the business owners continued to tell the health department official and sheriff deputies that they needed to leave because they were trespassing on private property.

“You don’t get to violate the Constitution,” one of the business owners said. “You don’t circumvent or subvert the Constitution.”

The video ends as the business owners shout in unison, “Get out!” The deputies and health department worker are then driven out of the gym.

Business owners in Buffalo, NY demand “health inspector” leave private property. “Go get a warrant.”

People have… https://t.co/Jfub54t0e7

— Justin Hart (@Justin Hart)1605993989.0

What was the response?

In an interview with the Buffalo News, Tim Walton, who attended Friday night’s event, said the business owners are not doubting the existence of COVID-19, but rather the arbitrary nature of Cuomo’s restrictions.

Meanwhile, Health Department spokeswoman Kara Kane told the Buffalo News, “We are gathering information and will have more to share in our press conference on Monday.”

This content was originally published here.

Hypertension, health inequities, and implications for COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has led many people to forego follow-up and treatment of chronic health conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure). It is now quite evident that people with hypertension are also more likely to develop severe complications from the coronavirus. In the US, African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities, including Hispanics and Native Americans, are more likely to have hypertension, and consequently have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is the link between high blood pressure and heart disease?

Hypertension is the most common modifiable risk factor for major cardiovascular events including death, heart attack, and stroke, and it plays a major role in the development of heart failure, kidney disease, and dementia. Over the past few decades, major efforts have been launched to increase awareness and treatment of hypertension.

Hypertension increases stress on the heart and arteries as well as on other organs including the brain and kidneys. Over time, this stress results in changes that negatively impact the body’s ability to function. To reduce these negative effects on the heart, medications are typically prescribed when blood pressure goes above 140/90 for those without significant cardiovascular risk, or above 130/80 in people with known coronary artery disease or other coexisting diseases like diabetes.

Certain groups are disproportionately affected by hypertension and severe COVID-19

According to a recent study published in JAMA, the proportion of study participants with controlled blood pressure (defined as < 140/90 mm Hg) initially increased and then held steady at 54% from 1999 to 2014. However, the proportion of patients with controlled blood pressures subsequently declined significantly, to 44% by 2018. Further, certain subgroups appeared to have a disproportionately higher rate of uncontrolled hypertension: African Americans, uninsured patients, and patients with Medicaid, as well as younger patients (ages 18 to 44) and older patients (ages 75 and older). An accompanying editorial noted that the prevalence of uncontrolled blood pressure was disproportionately higher in non-Hispanic Black adults from 1999 to 2018.

With a higher prevalence of hypertension, African American, Native American, and Hispanic communities have had higher rates of hospitalization and death during the pandemic, according to the CDC. While vulnerability to severe complications of COVID is highest among older patients regardless of race or ethnicity and socioeconomic circumstance, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, “vulnerability based on pre-existing conditions collides with long-standing disparities in health and mortality by race-ethnicity and socioeconomic status.”

How does hypertension result in severe COVID-19 complications?

The link between hypertension and severe coronavirus disease remains complex. Some experts believe that uncontrolled blood pressure results in chronic inflammation throughout the body, which damages blood vessels and results in dysregulation of the immune system. This results in difficulty fighting the virus, or a dangerous overreaction of the immune system to COVID-19. Certain classes of blood pressure medicines (ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers, or ARBs) were initially thought to worsen infection, but this has since been disproven. Several research groups have shown that with close monitoring, these medications are safe to use during COVID infection.

What do people with hypertension need to know about reducing their risk?

Proper blood pressure control has long-term health benefits and may help prevent severe COVID-19 symptoms. Therefore, we strongly encourage taking your medications as directed and following healthy lifestyle practices like regular exercise, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, following a low-sodium, heart-healthy diet such as the Mediterranean diet, and reducing stress and practicing mindfulness.

In addition, following up with your doctor to keep blood pressure under control is more important now than ever. While the idea of heading into the hospital or a doctor’s office in the middle of a pandemic may put people on edge, many hospitals and clinics are quite safe due to appropriate safety measures like universal mask wearing and social distancing. Many have also expanded telemedicine or virtual visits for patients.

What can we do to tackle inequities in healthcare delivery?

COVID-19 has forced us to confront inequities in health care delivery that contribute to worse clinical outcomes in vulnerable patient groups.

With rising numbers of people with uncontrolled blood pressure, and the pandemic disrupting management of chronic health conditions, this may serve as a prime opportunity for us to purposefully change the current trends in hypertension and narrow the gap in health inequity. Potential areas of focus include:

  • promoting research on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected management of chronic diseases like high blood pressure
  • identifying barriers to care, particularly in vulnerable subgroups
  • increasing awareness of the importance of chronic disease management, particularly in communities where health care inequities exist
  • innovating to make virtual health technology more broadly accessible
  • delivering additional resources for chronic disease management to vulnerable subgroups
  • implementing long-term policy solutions to address health inequities.

The post Hypertension, health inequities, and implications for COVID-19 appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.

This content was originally published here.

Driving equity in health care: Lessons from COVID-19

Editor’s note: Third in a series on the impact of COVID-19 on communities of color, and responses aimed at improving health equity. Click here to read part one and here for part two.

If there is a silver lining of COVID-19, it’s that it has required us to address monumental health care disparities, particularly racial and ethnic disparities. I’ve been working on health care disparities for more than two decades, yet I’ve never seen our health system move so fast. Across the US, those of us in health care have been scrambling to bridge gaps and better understand why COVID-19 disproportionally impacts communities of color and immigrants — and, indeed, anyone who struggles with social determinants of health like lack of housing, food insecurity, and access to a good education.

A key lesson: Lived experience should guide change

I came to this country as an undocumented immigrant when I was 13 years old. English was not my first language. My mother was a single, teen mother and I’ve only seen my father twice in my lifetime. My childhood was filled with all the trauma that we hear about from many of our patients: domestic violence, drug addiction, mental health issues, foster care, and more. You can imagine, then, that all of this feels immensely personal to me, and drives me in the work that I do as director of the Disparities Solutions Center at Massachusetts General Hospital.

One key lesson is that there is no substitute for lived experience. We need people with lived experience to help redesign our health care systems so that we can take care of all our patients, and to help reimagine emergency preparedness for future events like the COVID-19 pandemic. Our health care teams should routinely include people from communities that bear the brunt of health inequities. Currently, our health care system is designed by default for the English-speaking person who is health literate and digitally literate, and who has access to computers and/or smartphones — because that is who is designing our systems. As we work toward change based on lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, and those we’ll continue to learn, we need to keep this in mind.

If you’re a member of the communities hit hardest by the pandemic, you can help by sharing your experiences — what worked, what didn’t — and advocating with health care institutions, community leaders, and through social media for approaches that address COVID-19 health care disparities. The ones I describe below are common themes from hospitals we’ve worked with, as well as what we have seen in our own healthcare system.

Take the steps required to build community trust

Trust is key to having messages about lessening the spread and impact of COVID-19 resonate with the community. But trust is often shaped by historical events. Health care organizations must look deeply at ways in which historical events have led to mistrust within the communities they serve. The messenger to each community needs to be a trusted community member, and outreach needs to happen in the community, not just at your health care facility.

Invest time in addressing language barriers

Integrating interpreters during a medical visit, whether in person or via a virtual platform, is not easy. And in fact, it’s not intuitive in most US health care systems. At MGH, we saw this with the intercom system used to safely communicate with our hospitalized COVID patients, and the virtual visit platform used for outpatient settings. Adding a third-party medical interpreter into these systems proved challenging. Input from an interpreter advisory council and bilingual staff members who took part in redesigning workflow, telehealth platforms, and electronic health records helped.

Making sure educational materials are available in multiple languages goes beyond translating them. We also need to get creative with health literacy-friendly modalities like videos, to help people understand important information. Ideally, our workforce would include bilingual health care providers and staff who could communicate with patients in their own language. Absent this, integrating interpreters into the workflow and telehealth platforms is key.

Understand that social determinants of health still impact 80% of COVID-19 health outcomes

COVID-19 disproportionally impacts people who are essential frontline workers and who can’t work from home, can’t quarantine through isolation, and depend on public transportation. So yes, social determinants of health still matter. If addressing social determinants seem overwhelming (for example, solving the shortage of affordable housing in Boston), then perhaps it is time for us to reframe the challenge. Rather than assuming the burden is on a health care system to solve the housing crisis, the question really needs to be: how will we provide care to patients who don’t have housing and live in a shelter, or are couch surfing with friends and families, or live in cheap hotels or motels?

Use racial, ethnic, and language data to focus mitigation efforts

Invest time in improving the quality of race, ethnicity, and language data in health care systems. Additionally, stratifying quality metrics by these demographics will help identify health disparities. At MGH, already having this foundation was key to quickly developing a COVID-19 dashboard that identified in real time the demographics of patients on the COVID-19 inpatient floors. At some point during our first surge, over 50% of our patients on the COVID units needed an interpreter, because the majority came from the heavily immigrant Boston-area communities of Chelsea, Lynn, and Revere. This information was crucial to our mitigation strategies, and would help inform any health care system.

Address privacy and immigration concerns

Overwhelmingly, our health center providers, interpreters, and immigration advocates tell us that immigrant patients are reluctant to participate in virtual visits, enroll in our patient portal, or come to our health care facility because they are afraid we will share their personal information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). We worked with a multidisciplinary group and our legal counsel to develop a low-literacy script in multiple languages that describes to these patients how we keep their information secure, why we are legally required to keep it secure (HIPAA), and in what scenario we would share it this with law enforcement (if there is a valid warrant or court order).

Additional strategies include educating providers to avoid documenting a patient’s immigration status, and educating patients on their rights and protection under the US constitution. In short, this relates back to the first point of creating trust between the health care organization and the community it serves.

Equitable care is a journey, not a single goal. Only by taking crucial steps toward it can we hope to achieve it, course-correcting with new lessons learned from this pandemic as we go.

The post Driving equity in health care: Lessons from COVID-19 appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.

This content was originally published here.

Promoting equity and community health in the COVID-19 pandemic

Editor’s note: Second in a series on the impact of COVID-19 on communities of color, and responses aimed at improving health equity. Click here to read part one.

In early March 2020, as COVID-19 was declared a public health emergency in Boston, Mass General Brigham began to care for a growing number of patients with COVID-19. Even at this early stage in the pandemic, a few things were clear: our data showed that Black, Hispanic, and non-English speaking patients were testing positive and being hospitalized at the highest rates. There were large differences in COVID-19 infection rates among communities. Across the river from Boston, the city of Chelsea began reporting the highest infection rate in Massachusetts. Within Boston, several neighborhoods, including Hyde Park, Roxbury, and Dorchester, exhibited infection rates double or triple the rest of the city. COVID-19 was disproportionately harming minority and vulnerable communities.

Working toward an equitable response to COVID-19

From the start, our work was driven by examining COVID data by race, ethnicity, language, disability, gender, age, and community. As the COVID crisis intensified in Massachusetts, we sought ways to improve health equity and extend support within the communities we serve. We designed and deployed initiatives aimed at our patients, community members, and employees. Below are examples of tools to enhance equity that we found useful.

Communicating with patients

As new COVID care models were established, we worked on access to clinical communication for all patients and their families. There was a particular focus on language, since COVID greatly impacted non-English speaking communities, and on communication for people with disabilities.

  • We linked COVID operations, such as our nurse hotline and telemedicine platforms, to interpreter services or bilingual staff, supported by patient tip sheets in multiple languages. Interpreters, working virtually through enhanced technology and remote communication, supported patients and families with limited English proficiency.
  • We collected information on clinical and administrative staff language proficiency, so that multilingual staff could help guide patient care. For example, at two hospitals we established a care model of Spanish-speaking physicians to provide cultural and linguistic support in inpatient and intensive care units that complemented interpreter services.
  • As all staff and patients began wearing masks, we ensured that deaf or hard-of-hearing patients would be able to communicate with care teams through the use of masks with a clear window, to allow for lip reading.

Providing up-to-date information for patients and employees

Guidance on how to protect yourself from COVID-19 evolved rapidly. Limited English proficiency, limited access to the Internet or to smartphones and computers, and limited tech savvy are barriers to receiving information for many of our patients and employees. We needed to identify ways to ensure that rapidly changing health information was available to everyone.

  • For our patients, we created COVID education in multiple languages, which was distributed through various modes, including brief videos. We also sent text messages with COVID alerts to more than 100,000 of our patients who live in hot-spot communities, or who were not enrolled in our patient portal.
  • For our employees, we initially hosted socially-distanced, in-person educational sessions in multiple languages. These sessions provided COVID education and updates on infection control protocol and human resources policies. Our employee educational effort later shifted to a remote model by enrolling 5,500 employees who do not use computers as part of their normal job function (such as environmental services and nutrition and food services staff) into a multilingual texting campaign designed to provide key information.

Expanding equity within communities

Through the COVID pandemic, we were building on our existing presence in, and partnerships with, the communities we serve in eastern Massachusetts in several ways.

  • Community members lacked necessary supplies to protect themselves from COVID, such as masks. In April, we launched the production of care kits — packages which included masks, hand sanitizer, soap, and patient education materials — and distributed them within our communities at locations such as COVID testing centers, food distribution sites, and housing authorities. To date, more than 175,000 care kits have been distributed, including more than 1.3 million masks.
  • We also partnered with community leaders to provide COVID education. We identified trusted community leaders to record and release brief educational videos over social media to reinforce wearing masks, social distancing, and washing hands.

Looking forward

We made it through the peak of the pandemic in Massachusetts, launching a suite of initiatives to address inequity within Mass General Brigham’s COVID response. However, the battle is by no means over. Now is the time for action. Even in states like Massachusetts, where infections, hospitalizations, and deaths have substantially declined in recent months, we need to ready ourselves for a resurgence — one that is already occurring in parts of the US and Europe. Surveillance and early preparation are key. Increased prevention and mitigation efforts, widespread testing, and identification of emerging hot spots can help curb the impact of a fall and winter resurgence of the virus. Unless we act now, and unless we ramp up efforts aimed at improving health equity, this will once again hit minority communities hardest.

The post Promoting equity and community health in the COVID-19 pandemic appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.

This content was originally published here.

CBD Dentistry | Project CBD

Oral health is an essential part of overall hygiene and well-being. Poor oral hygiene can lead to cavities, gum disease, and gum infection, which, if left untreated, can lead to systemic inflammation. Recently, a number of dental products containing cannabidiol (CBD) and other plant cannabinoids have been introduced to the marketplace. While we’ve seen plenty of outlandish products of dubious benefit (such as CBD-infused pillows and sportswear) come to market lately, CBD products may actually have a promising future in oral health.

When one talks about cannabis therapeutics, oral health has not generally been a topic that figures in the discussion. But recent data suggests that cannabinoids could become a staple in the dental field in the years ahead. Several toothpaste manufacturers have taken note of research showing that CBD and other plant cannabinoids have antimicrobial properties relevant to dental care. infused toothpastes and mouthwashes.

Better than Colgate

A 2020 study conducted by researchers in Belgium showed that cannabinoids were more effective in reducing the bacterial colony count in dental plaques as compared to well-established synthetic oral care products, such as Oral B and Colgate. To demonstrate this, the researchers recruited sixty healthy adults and arranged them into six different groups based on the Dutch periodontal scoring index (DPSI) representing different levels of gum health.2

CBD products may have a promising future in oral health

Samples of plaque were collected from intradental spaces between their teeth, and the samples were then plated on two separate Petri dishes. Four divisions in the dishes were then made, and on each section, cannabinoid (12.5%) or toothpaste (undiluted) was spread/streaked on the surface of the agar plate using microbrush applicator. On Petri dish A, a combination of four plant cannabinoids – CBD, cannabichromene (CBC), cannabiniol (CBN), and cannabigerol (CBG) – were used.  And on Petri dish B, cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), Oral B, Colgate, and Cannabite F (a toothpaste formulation of pomegranate and algae) were used. The resulting bacterial colony count was much higher in the Colgate, Oral B and Cannabite F treatments, whereas significantly less colony count was observed in all the cannabinoid treatments.

In a subsequent study, the same group of researchers demonstrated that cannabinoid infused mouthwashes containing CBD and CBG at <1% (that did not contain alcohol or fluoride) were as effective as 0.2% chlorhexidine mouthwashes in reducing dental plaque. This is both an intriguing and important finding since chlorhexidine mouthwashes are currently considered the gold standard in the field of dentistry for plaque reduction. This second study followed a similar design as the previous study, recruiting 72 healthy adults and placing them in different groups based on their DPSI scores and subsequently harvesting and plating plaques from intradental spaces in each patient. Zones of microbial inhibition were measured to compare the efficacy of each product.3

Based on these findings, it appears that cannabinoid formulations produce desirable results, perhaps even more so than traditional chlorhexidine mouthwashes, which have a propensity to stain teeth when used with regularity.

A Caveat

By highlighting the potential of CBD and other plant cannabinoids in the prevention of dental plaque formation, these two studies hint that the role of cannabinoids in dentistry could be vast. However, it’s important to caveat that these are preliminary in vitro studies, and in vivo studies and clinical trials are needed to fully assess the long-term safety and efficacy of CBD-infused dental hygiene products. Additionally, it is paramount that these findings be replicated by other groups, especially given that the authors of these papers have a financial stake in their findings. In particular, Stahl is a founder of CannIBite, a company involved in making cannabinoid infused dental products.

Kyle Boyar is a cannabis scientist with a background in neurobiology, microbiology, and analytical chemistry. He is currently employed as the Director of Product Science at TagLeaf and also serves as Vice Chair and Awards Committee Chair for the ).

Copyright, Project CBD. May not be reprinted without permission.

  1. Cannabinoids and cannabis extracts are known to possess antimicrobial properties through their olivetol core, which serves as the pharmacophore for this activity. A pharmacophore refers to the part of a compound’s molecular structure that’s responsible for a specific biological or pharmacological interaction with a trigger or target.
  2. Stahl V, Vasudevan K. Comparison of Efficacy of Cannabinoids versus Commercial Oral Care Products in Reducing Bacterial Content from Dental Plaque: A Preliminary Observation. Cureus. 2020 Jan 29;12(1):e6809. doi: 10.7759/cureus.6809. PMID: 32038896; PMCID: PMC6991146.
  3. Vasudevan, K., Stahl, V. Cannabinoids infused mouthwash products are as effective as chlorhexidine on inhibition of total-culturable bacterial content in dental plaque samples. J Cannabis Res 2, 20 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s42238-020-00027-z

This content was originally published here.

Fauci: ‘You cannot abandon public health measures’ even with COVID-19 vaccine

Sen. Rand Paul questions Dr. Anthony Fauci at the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on the coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus restrictions will need to remain in place in some form even after a vaccine becomes available, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Dr. Anthony Fauci told the “Fox News Rundown” podcast Thursday. 

Fauci, the most prominent member of the White House coronavirus task force, raised eyebrows Wednesday when he said, “I think it will be easily by the end of 2021 and perhaps into the next year before we start having some semblance of normality” during a webinar with the University of Melbourne in Australia.

On Thursday, Fauci told host Jessica Rosenthal that he was referring to “what we think of as normal, namely prior to December of 2019.” 

Fauci explained that health officials “likely will get knowledge of whether or not we have safe and effective vaccines by the end of this calendar year, likely some time in December.

“If we begin distributing doses of vaccine at the very beginning of 2021 … I think when you start seeing people getting vaccinated in January, February, March, April, May, and it’s clear that it’s safe and that it is impacting the course of the pandemic in the United States, more and more people will want to get vaccinated. That’s going to take several months. And if it takes several months, you’re going to get into the third and maybe the fourth quarter of 2021.”

However, Fauci warned, that timeline depends on “how effective the vaccine is, compounded by what percentage of the population actually wants to get vaccinated.”

For that reason, he said, “as that process evolves, you cannot abandon public health measures because the vaccine is not going to be perfect and not everybody is going to take it.”

As more people take the vaccine, Fauci said, Americans will “gradually be able to do things that we’re not doing now widely. For example, allowing occupancy of theaters, maybe not full capacity, but close to full capacity; having spectators be in the stadium or in the field during athletic events; having restaurants be close to full capacity.

“That doesn’t mean people should not be wearing masks and [that] people should not be avoiding congregate settings where there are big crowds,” he added. “But there will be a gradual lifting of the public health restrictions. And I think that’s going to take a full year.”

The exception, Fauci told Rosenthal, is schools.

“We should, right now, to the best of our capability … [be] trying to get children back to school,” he said. “I think children getting back to school will be much, much sooner than getting people into theaters at full capacity. No doubt about that.”

To hear the full interview, subscribe and download The FOX News Rundown on your favorite podcast player.

The FOX NEWS RUNDOWN is a news-based daily morning podcast delivering a deep dive into the major and controversial stories of the day.

This content was originally published here.

Mississippi Health Official: Maskless White People Are Responsible For Spike In COVID-19 Cases

Mississippi Health Official: Maskless White People Are Responsible For Spike In COVID-19 Cases By Kirsten West Savali ·October 24, 2020October 24, 2020

Maskless white people in Mississippi are responsible for the spike in COVID-19 cases, according to Dr. Thomas Dobbs, a State Health Officer.

“We’ve seen a pretty remarkable shift because early on, African Americans accounted for basically two-thirds, or 60 percent or more, of cases and deaths,” Dobbs said on CNN. “Then over the summer, and especially going into the fall, we’ve seen that shift basically upside down. Sixty-percent of new cases are caucasians and the deaths are nearing that also.”

Dobbs said that the state has been been working hard on safety measures, which have found “more fertile ground in the Black community.”

“As far as the case trends, we have had really pretty good uptake by a lot of folks in the Black community with masking and social distancing,” Dobbs said. “We’ve worked very aggressively to make sure that the Black community understands where the risks are and what can be done to prevent that. “And I just will say … I think big parts of the white community, especially in areas that maybe weren’t as hard-affected (previously), have not been as compliant or engaged actively with social distancing and masking. And I think that does make a difference.”

According to Dobbs, there are white parents sponsoring youth events, dances, and parties. Additionally, get togethers and gathering in bars have helped to undermine the state’s efforts to control the spread of COVID-19.

As of Friday, October 23, the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reported 1,212 new COVID-19 cases and 17 additional deaths, bringing the state’s totals to 115,088 cases and 3,255 deaths, WDAM reports.

White, maskless people are causing an uptick in Mississippi’s Covid-19 cases, Dr. Thomas Dobbs says.“It may well be that we found a pretty receptive audience in the African American community… We’re not having the same success… with other segments of the population” pic.twitter.com/EfrDZOTh74

— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) October 22, 2020

As white people continue to disproportionately endanger themselves and their neighbors, Black people continue to be most at risk from serious COVID-19 complications.

Mississippi is among the southern states that have opted not to expand Medicaid, but whose governors rushed to reopen businesses even though no vaccine or herd immunity had been established, ESSENCE previously reported.

“We—who were already neglected by states who chose profit and partisan politics over the health and well-being of our communities, who are disproportionately impacted by poverty, white supremacist violence, health disparities and more—are seeing less access to emergency care, while the few facilities that remain are becoming the primary source of care for our people,” Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson, Executive Director of the Highlander Research & Education Center, wrote in March. “We’re seeing health care providers leave communities because of the closure of rural hospitals, gaps in specialty care expanding, job loss, and so much more, as the need for services increases beyond our ability to provide them.”

Those facts have not changed.

COVID-19-MississippiCNN

Less than one month after Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves irresponsibly ended the state’s mask mandate on September 30, he has reinstated the mandate for nine counties, WJTV reports.

Still, the Republican governor continues to politicize his COVID-19 response and sharing misleading information about the health of the state he claims to lead, tweeting Friday, “17% decrease in Mississippi COVID cases this week compared to last week. Even as cases surge in most states. Keep up the good work! We can do this without going crazy on government interventions—people get it! Virtue signaling is useless, but limited action in key areas works!”

17% decrease in Mississippi COVID cases this week compared to last week. Even as cases surge in most states.Keep up the good work! We can do this without going crazy on government interventions—people get it! Virtue signaling is useless, but limited action in key areas works!

— Tate Reeves (@tatereeves) October 23, 2020

According to CNN, President Donald Trump, who is known to be anti-science, including in his COVID-19 response, won Mississippi in 2016’s election by 17.8 percentage points.

Perhaps, the maskless white people endangering their own lives and others are following their president’s lead. Trump, who held a super-spreader event at the White House while not wearing a mask, called his own COVID-19 diagnosis a “blessing from God.”

To date, the United States has had 8.58 million COVID-19 cases and 224,ooo deaths.

The post Mississippi Health Official: Maskless White People Are Responsible For Spike In COVID-19 Cases appeared first on Essence.

This content was originally published here.

Invisalign maker Align surges 26% after reporting a boom in 3rd-quarter sales driven by social-media influencers

Summary List Placement

Shares of Align Technology — the maker of Invisalign teeth straighteners — soared by more than 25% in early trading on Thursday after the company crushed expectations for third-quarter earnings. The beat was driven partially by young social media stars using its products. 

The San Jose, California-based company, whose see-through plastic braces have grown in use all over the world, reported net income for the third quarter of $139.4 million, or $1.76 a share, compared with $102.5 million, or $1.28 a share in the same period last year. Analysts had expected EPS of $0.54, according to Yahoo Finance.

Align shares were last up around 26% in pre-market trading around $422.25 a share, having closed at $335.81 on Wednesday, before reporting third-quarter earnings.

Read more: World-beating fund manager Mike Trigg is bringing in huge returns by investing in 3 high-growth areas his peers neglect. He shares the keys to betting on each.

Align Technology President and CEO Joe Hogan said the company had hit a milestone of 9 million patients and that there had been “strong momentum across all regions and customer channels,” for the company’s Invisalign aligners, as well as other services.

“We also saw strong response to our new teen and mom-focused consumer campaign with 118% year-over-year increase in total leads, an uptick in consumer engagement from new social media influencers like Charli D’Amelio and Marsai Martin, and a 25.6% year over year increase in teenagers using Invisalign clear aligners,” Hogan said.

D’Amelio is a dancer, whose videos on social media app TikTok, have gathered nearly 90 million followers, while Martin is a young actor who stars in the ABC comedy show “Black-ish” and who has almost 3 million followers on Instagram. 

Align also posted a 29% year-on-year rise in sales to nearly half a million units and reported total revenue of $734.1 million in the three months between July and September.

This marked a new record, and an increase of 20.9% over total revenue for the third quarter last year, the company said. 

Read more: Big investors pay thousands of dollars for Danielle DiMartino Booth’s research. The former Fed advisor explains how the central bank has distorted markets — and shares 2 areas where analytical traders can still find returns.

Join the conversation about this story »

This content was originally published here.

Why Hugging Is Actually Good for Your Health

During the pandemic, it may feel like hugs are a thing of the past. In fact, of all the things you may crave during this difficult time, a hug may top the list. The isolation and lack of human connection are part of what makes quarantining so difficult. The longing for human touch and connection is as basic as any human need, and there’s strong evidence that hugs don’t just make you feel good. Researchers have found that giving your loved ones an affectionate squeeze can actually be good for your health.

“The health benefits of giving and receiving hugs are quite impressive. Hugs have a therapeutic effect on people,” says psychologist Joe Rock, PsyD. He says hugs are a good way to show someone you care about them. What’s more, they’re good for your health. 

“Research shows that hugs can be healthy,” says Dr. Rock. “Hugs cause a decrease in the release of cortisol, a stress hormone, and other research indicates that hugs decrease your blood pressure and heart rate in stressful situations,” he adds. 

Additional research found that giving and receiving hugs can actually strengthen your immune system. 

Dr. Rock says hugging seems to have a therapeutic effect. That’s because your brain has specific pathways created to detect human touch. 

“We can detach ourselves from people and get locked up in our own world,” he says. “Just the physical act of hugging someone really does connect us with them and lets down some of our defenses.”

Hugging communicates that you are safe, loved and that you are not alone — a much-needed message right about now.

Ways you can safely give (and receive) affection during the coronavirus pandemic

Things have certainly changed since we’ve all become aware of coronavirus. Adhering to social distancing guidelines and masking up may make you fearful of physical touch or hugging. But is there a way to walk a balance between carefully distanced and also connected?  

Given that hugging can actually raise the level of oxytocin or “feel good” chemical in your brain, connecting — in whatever way we can — may be just the ticket right now. The safest thing to do is to avoid hugs. But there are some safe ways to give and receive affection right now. 

  • Hug a loved one in your household: You’re already sharing germs with those in your household. Now may be a perfect time to hug members of your household more often. 
  • Connect with loved ones online: Technology has definitely helped many weather the coronavirus storm. FaceTime, Zoom and other video conferencing apps can help you feel connected while remaining safely socially distant. 
  • Self-care during quarantine: Use the extra time to pamper yourself or start a new self-care routine. Facials, bubble baths, and online exercise programs offer many options for taking care of yourself while staying safe.  
  • Mask up and head out: If you crave the close proximity of friends, do so safely. Wash your hands well, don your favorite mask, and meet a friend for a socially distant coffee date at an outdoor coffee shop, for example. Or, call ahead for take out, and have a picnic in an outdoor location (still masked and six feet apart, of course).

The coronavirus has definitely changed the way we give and receive affection. But it’s important for our mental health to remain connected to those we love. With some creativity, and a little planning, we can do so safely and share affection with those who are important to us. 

This content was originally published here.

‘Darkest part of the pandemic’ is approaching, says public health expert | PBS NewsHour

Well, we actually have a convergence of factors that are making for what is, I think, going to be the darkest part of the pandemic over the course of the next 12 weeks.

Michael Osterholm:

Well, first of all, we’re going to see these large numbers.

And we already saw this past summer what it looks like to have 70,000 cases a day. And it’s horrible, even when it was only in a few states where they were really in trouble. Now we’re going to see many more states are going to be in trouble. And the numbers are going to go much higher.

On top of that, when you listen to the very excellent reports you just had, they talked about opening up new beds. You know, the big problem in this country isn’t going to be about new beds. We can get those. What we’re running out of are people who have expertise in intensive care medicine, doctors, nurses, the support teams.

And when you don’t have that kind of expertise at hand, even though you may have a bed, you’re not getting the care that may necessarily save your life. And so expect to see not only severe illnesses increasing, and the number of people in ICUs, but expect to see the deaths increase.

And that’s what’s going to be a challenge for us. And then, as you said, we’re getting closer to the holidays. And I have said for months this is our COVID year. Expect it to be different. Don’t try to make it like last year or, hopefully, it’ll be like next year.

And I think that, based on the number of experiences that I have personally been involved with where young adults take home the virus to mom and dad, grandpa and grandma, uncle Bill and aunt Jane for some kind of celebration, only to have them become infected and be dead three weeks later, we don’t want that to happen at the holidays.

So that means you’re going to have to really all reconsider, how do we do the holidays? Is it time to go home? We all want to see our loved ones. But we have to ask ourselves, if we really love them, what are we going to do to help protect particularly those who are older who have underlying health problems? This is going to be a huge challenge.

This content was originally published here.

Rush Limbaugh Gives Harrowing Health Update

Conservative radio icon Rush Limbaugh on Monday told his listeners “the days where I do not think I’m under a death sentence are over” and his fight with cancer is “terminal.”

In February, the legendary broadcaster revealed he had advanced lung cancer but vowed to stay on the radio as he battled the disease. Limbaugh said in May that his treatment was physically grueling but that he would not stop fighting. As recently as July, he said he was hoping the treatment would give him “extra innings.”

But on Monday, Limbaugh told his audience that the latest results show the cancer that had been stymied is growing once again, according to a transcript of his remarks posted on his website.

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“From the moment you get the diagnosis, there’s a part of you every day, OK, that’s it. Life’s over,” he said. “You just don’t know when. But when you get that diagnosis, I mean, that’s … So, during the period of time after the diagnosis, you do what you can to prolong life, do what you can to prolong a happy life. You measure a happy life against whatever medication it takes.

“And at some point you can decide, you know, this medication may be working, but I hate the way I feel every day. I’m not there yet. But it is part and parcel of this.

“It’s tough to realize that the days where I do not think I’m under a death sentence are over. Now, we all are, is the point. We all know that we’re going to die at some point, but when you have a terminal disease diagnosis that has a time frame to it, then that puts a different psychological and even physical awareness to it.”

He said that when he went to the doctor last week, “The scans did show some progression of cancer. Now, prior to that, the scans had shown that we had rendered the cancer dormant. That’s my phrase for it. We had stopped the growth. It had been reduced, and it had become manageable.”

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Limbaugh said the results were in some ways inevitable “because it is cancer. It eventually outsmarts pretty much everything you throw at it. And this, of course, this is stage four lung cancer.”

Later he noted that “stage four is, as they say, terminal. So we have some recent progression. It’s not dramatic, but it is the wrong direction.”

The results mean that Limbaugh’s treatment is being adjusted “in hopes of keeping additional progression at bay for as long as possible.”

Many on Twitter saluted Limbaugh.

I can only say that every day God grants us this man’s presence amongst us is a blessing. #RushLimbaugh https://t.co/7EqKmjOxnk

— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) October 20, 2020

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#RushLimbaugh updates audience: some disease progression on his lung cancer scan, so treatment will be tweaked. Upbeat nonetheless: “It’s a great thing to wake up each morning. Stop and thank God when you do.” He says he is humbled by all the prayers; so let us multiply them.

— Mark Davis (@MarkDavis) October 19, 2020

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Despite the grim update, Limbaugh spent much of his discussion about his health talking about blessings.

“You know, all in all, I feel very blessed to be here speaking with you today. Some days are harder than others. I do get fatigued now. I do get very, very tired now. I’m not gonna mislead you about that. But I am extremely grateful to be able to come here to the studio and to maintain as much normalcy as possible — and it’s still true,” he said.

“You know, I wake up every day and thank God that I did. I go to bed every night praying I’m gonna wake up. I don’t know how many of you do that, those of you who are not sick, those of you who are not facing something like I and countless other millions are. But it’s a blessing when you wake up. It’s a stop-everything-and-thank-God moment,” he said.

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Limbaugh spoke of faith and fears.

“I try to remain committed to the idea what’s supposed to happen, will happen when it’s meant to. I mentioned at the outset of this — the first day I told you — that I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ,” he said. “It is of immense value, strength, confidence, and that’s why I’m able to remain fully committed to the idea that what is supposed to happen will happen when it’s meant to.

“There’s some comfort in knowing that some things are not in our hands. There’s a lot of fear associated with that, too, but there is some comfort. It’s helpful … God, is it helpful. It’s helpful to be able to trust and to believe in a higher plan.”

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The eternal fighter that is Limbaugh noted that at the time of his diagnosis he was told his case was “hopeless.”

“I’m just gonna tell you, there is no way back in January and February that I had anything but hope that I would still be alive on this day, October 19th, and that I would be fully productive working. There was no way. I didn’t share that with anybody. So given that as a starting point, given that as a baseline, I’m kicking butt — and the future remains pretty good-looking, given all of that,” he said.

Limbaugh said that no matter what, it is never too late.

“You know, I’ve loved to point out we all only get one life,” he said. “We don’t get a do-over in the … well, we do. Actually, we get a do-over every day if we choose to look at it that way.

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“Once we’re old enough and mature enough to understand what life is and that there is only one, then you do get do-overs, an opportunity to fix what you think you might not have done so well the day before, which is an operative philosophy of mine.”

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

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.

Doctors Smash Rumors About Trump’s Health, Experts Say POTUS’ Symptoms ‘Resolving and Improving’

President Donald Trump’s medical team cleared the air with regard to establishment media speculation and rumors about his condition after he was diagnosed with the coronavirus and hospitalized this week.

A CNN report Friday evening on “Anderson Cooper 360,” for example, inferred the president was dealing with significant respiratory issues, as well as other symptoms.

But a news briefing held by Trump’s doctors outside of Walter Reed Medical Center on Saturday dispelled rumors regarding the president’s health.

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“This morning the president is doing very well,” said physician to the president Dr. Sean Conley, a commander in the U.S. Navy. “At this time, the team and I are extremely happy with the progress the president has made.”

“Thursday, [Trump] had a mild cough and some nasal congestion and fatigue — all of which are resolving and improving,” Conley added.

The president has also been fever-free since Friday, Conley said.

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Conley added that the decision to hospitalize the president was made as a “precautionary measure.”

Dr. Sean Dooley, another member of Trump’s medical team, said the president is “in exceptionally good spirits,” and added that Trump told him, “I feel like I could walk out of here today.”

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When fielding questions from reporters, Conley dispelled rumors, such as the one reported by CNN, about Trump’s condition.

CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta had claimed on the network Friday that a Trump campaign source informed him the president was having difficulty breathing and was also dealing with extreme fatigue.

“I talked to a Trump campaign adviser just a short while ago who said that this is serious, that the president has been having some trouble breathing, that he’s been very fatigued today, very tired,” Acosta told Cooper.

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Acosta went on to claim another source told him there were “serious concerns” in Trump’s inner circle about the president’s condition. Acosta did not name his sources.

Jim Acosta just now on CNN: “I talked to a Trump campaign advisor a short while ago that said this is serious. That the president has been having some trouble breathing, that he’s been very fatigued today, very tired.” pic.twitter.com/PciehG4IUg

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 3, 2020

The CNN correspondent made sure to point out prior to his on-air conversation with Cooper that Trump, who has an active case of the coronavirus, did not take questions from reporters while en route to Walter Reed on Friday evening.

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Trump did not stop for questions pic.twitter.com/YQhfHcAeYv

— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) October 2, 2020

Conley’s remarks Saturday challenged the veracity of Acosta’s reporting, although not directly.

According to Conley, Trump has not been having any trouble breathing.

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Currently, Trump has no need for supplemental oxygen, Conley said. The president is currently undergoing a regiment of remdesivir antiviral therapy, he added.

The doctor went on to say that Trump’s vital signs are normal, and that aside from being male, 74 and moderately overweight, the president is not considered to be at high risk for complications from the coronavirus.

Conley would not give a timetable for when Trump can return to the White House, but did confirm he is working from the presidential suite at Walter Reed.

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

This content was originally published here.

Connecticut orthodontist indicted in Westchester County love-triangle stabbing

A Connecticut orthodontist was indicted in the stabbing of the girlfriend of her former fiancee in a love-triangle attack where she pretended to be a hero, New York prosecutors said Wednesday.

Alika Crew, 42, of New Rochelle, N.Y., worked at the Stein Dental Group in Stamford, Conn. She faces a slew of charges, including attempted second-degree murder, three counts of first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault and unlawful imprisonment, all felonies, and misdemeanor criminal possession of a weapon, Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpino said.

She has pleaded not guilty, lohud.com reported.

Crew is accused of attacking her romantic rival July 28. She reportedly hid in the back seat of the woman’s Jeep and lunged at her. She chased the woman who fled and sliced her neck and hand with a razor blade, prosecutors said.

The woman suffered “significant and possibly permanent damage to the neck,” authorities said. The attack took place a few blocks from where Crew and her ex-fiance were living together at the time.

After the attack, she left the scene, but returned and pretended to be a good Samaritan as concerned neighbors came to help the victim, prosecutors allege. When police officers arrived, the victim pointed Crew out as her assailant and she was arrested.

She was released on $200,000 bail and is expected to appear in court Nov. 2.

This content was originally published here.

D.C. health department can’t reach White House for COVID-19 tracing, Bowser says | PBS NewsHour

WASHINGTON (AP) — Officials with the Washington, D.C., Department of Health have been unsuccessful in trying to connect with the White House to assist with contact tracing and other protocols regarding the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak that has infected President Donald Trump and several senior staff members.

“We have reached out to the White House on a couple of different levels, a political level and a public health level,” Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said Monday. She added that a D.C. health department representative who reached out to the White House “had a very cursory conversation that we don’t consider a substantial contact from the public health side.”

The lack of communication represents an unwelcome obstacle for the D.C. government, which has worked to contain the spread of the virus through mandatory mask requirements and limits on the size of gatherings.

Bowser acknowledged on Monday that White House medical officials “have their hands full” at the moment. But a D.C. official, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to comment on the record, said White House doctors have not informed the D.C. Department of Health of any of the positive test results — a necessary step before contact tracing and quarantining can begin.

There have been multiple attempts to contact them, the official said.

Bowser’s government, which has publicly feuded with the Trump administration multiple times, is in a difficult position regarding the current outbreak. The Trump White House has operated for months in open violation of several D.C. virus regulations, hosting multiple gatherings that exceeded the local 50-person limit and in which many participants didn’t wear masks.

A Sept. 26 Rose Garden ceremony to announce Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court is now regarded as a potential infection nexus, with multiple attendees, including Notre Dame University President Rev. John Jenkins, testing positive afterward. Jenkins flew in to attend the ceremony from Indiana, a state D.C. classifies as a virus hot-spot — meaning he would have been expected to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival.

Washington’s local virus regulations don’t apply on federal property, but the current outbreak has blurred those distinctions. Trump inner-circle members like former counselor Kellyanne Conway, who has also tested positive, are D.C. residents, as are many of the staffers, employees, Secret Service members and journalists who have had close contact with infected officials. But the Health Department has been unable to conduct contact tracing or any of the other normal protocols. Instead it has been forced to entrust the White House medical staff to conduct its own contact tracing.

“There are established public health protocols at the White House that are federal in nature,” Bowser said. “We assume that those protocols have been engaged.”

The White House says it is doing contact tracing and that “appropriate notifications and recommendations are being made.”

Dr. LaQuandra Nesbit, head of the D.C. Health Department, said the process must begin with an official notification from a medical professional.

“If that information has been provided to us … the D.C. contact trace force will do its work,” Nesbit said.

The situation has been further complicated by the apparent resistance of some senior Trump officials to voluntarily quarantine and the inability of the D.C. government to force the issue. Attorney General William Barr, who was repeatedly seen in close contact with Conway and other infected people, said over the weekend that he would limit his activities or movements. On Monday he reversed course and a spokesman said Barr would self-quarantine “for now.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also been kept out of the White House’s outbreak response so far.

The CDC has said repeatedly that it has a team ready to help the White House investigate how the outbreak unfolded. The White House so far has not asked for such assistance, but such an investigation could sort out who started the outbreak and whether the spread happened at the outdoor gathering or at related indoor events or both, several infectious disease experts said in a conference call with reporters.

“The tools are present to dissect what actually happened,” said Dr. Robert Schooley, an infectious disease specialist at the UC San Diego School of Medicine.

Indoor spread is easier, but the attendees of the Rose Garden ceremony sat very close together for an extended time, said Linsey Marr, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech. At this point, “I don’t think we can rule out transmission occurring outdoors,” Marr said.

Bowser and Nesbit took pains Monday to avoid direct commentary or criticism of the White House — perhaps seeking to avoid the appearance of politicizing the crisis. Nesbit refused to specifically comment on the Sept. 26 Rose Garden ceremony. But she spoke in generalities about everyone’s need to “make better decisions” in their personal and professional lives.

“We have encouraged people to choose the activities they would go to wisely,” she said. “If someone was hosting an event where people were not going to wear facemasks, where people were not going to be socially distant, that you would choose to make better decisions about attending such an event.”

Associated Press writer Mike Stobbe in New York contributed to this report

This content was originally published here.

‘We have to learn to live with’ COVID rather than react to numbers: Top public health expert | Toronto Sun

“We have way more in terms of control measures in place,” Goel says in response to the argument some have made that those most dire indicators are now on the cusp of flaring up. “If we look at how many companies and organizations still have people working from home, so the number of daily interactions are limited, we have physical distancing and other requirements, we don’t have big conferences, sports events, theatres — so we are already starting from a baseline of control measures that didn’t exist back in March.”

On Monday, Ontario reported 700 new cases of COVID-19, the highest number the province had ever recorded. Shortly after the figures were made public, the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) called for the province to return to a Stage 2 lockdown, which included added restrictions for most businesses.

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“We have to really start to think more about all the different data elements and be very clear with Canadians on that strategy and also be clear with Canadians that the strategy is on maximizing overall health,” says Goel.

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That overall health of society includes things like keeping businesses going and the schools open. “We know that unemployment is a major predictor for poor health outcomes and deaths,” Goel notes. “It’s not just about minimizing COVID-19. We also want to ensure our children can develop, we want to keep people working, because if you can’t put food on the table that will effect your health.”

Part of the challenge right now is that the government hasn’t clearly communicated their objective. “Is it containment or eradication? Is it learning to live with it? Is it trying to maximize health across all angles?” Goel asks.

“While eradication is a worthy stretch objective, we need to be realistic and unless we’re going to somehow build a wall and become more like New Zealand and have really drastic control measures, it’s going to be really difficult for Canada to have eradication.

“We have to think about what the world is going to be like until there are effective vaccines fully deployed, and even in that scenario we may still have some cases. So it means we have to learn how to live with this.”

This doesn’t mean Goel thinks there isn’t much more work to be done. He wants to see more testing, contact tracing and supports the use of tracing apps.

This content was originally published here.

Supporting Public Health Experts’ Vaccine Efforts – About Facebook

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of preventive health behaviors. While public health experts agree that we won’t have an approved and widely available COVID-19 vaccine for some time, there are steps that people can take to stay healthy and safe. That includes getting the seasonal flu vaccine. So today we’re announcing new steps as part of our continued work to help support vaccine efforts. These include: 

“Vaccines have always been a global priority for UNICEF, and will be even more so as the world continues to battle COVID-19. Building demand for vaccination in communities worldwide is key to saving lives. Our collaboration with Facebook is part of our efforts to address vaccine misinformation and share resonant and reassuring information on vaccination.” 

– Diane Summers, Senior Advisor, Vaccine Acceptance & Demand, UNICEF

Helping People Get Their Flu Shot 

Public health officials recommend that most people get a flu shot every year. This year, they think it is especially important to minimize the risk of concurrent flu and COVID-19. To help, we’ll be directing people to general information about the flu vaccine and how to get it, including the nearest location to get the vaccine in the US using our Preventive Health Tool. We’ll also be including sharable flu vaccine reminders and resources from health authorities in News Feed and within the COVID-19 Information Center. We’re starting this campaign in the US this week, and we’ll expand it to more countries and add new features in the coming weeks. 

Prohibiting Ads That Discourage Vaccines 

Today, we’re launching a new global policy that prohibits ads discouraging people from getting vaccinated. We don’t want these ads on our platform.

Our goal is to help messages about the safety and efficacy of vaccines reach a broad group of people, while prohibiting ads with misinformation that could harm public health efforts. We already don’t allow ads with vaccine hoaxes that have been publicly identified by leading global health organizations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Now, if an ad explicitly discourages someone from getting a vaccine, we’ll reject it. Enforcement will begin over the next few days.

Ads that advocate for or against legislation or government policies around vaccines – including a COVID-19 vaccine – are still allowed. We’ll continue to require anyone running these ads to get authorized and include a ‘Paid for by’ label so people can see who is behind them. We regularly refine our approach around ads that are about social issues to capture debates and discussions around sensitive topics happening on Facebook. Vaccines are no different. While we may narrow enforcement in some areas, we may expand it in others.

Amplifying the Voices of Public Health Partners

With vaccination rates still low in many parts of the world, we’re working with global health organizations on vaccine education campaigns. This includes working with organizations including WHO and UNICEF on public health messaging campaigns to increase immunization rates. We’re working with WHO’s Vaccine Safety Network to train and support their network of vaccine partners to utilize Facebook to reach as many people as possible with public health messaging.

Insights for Impact, which is part of the Facebook Data for Good Program, in collaboration with CrowdTangle will expand its partnership with UNICEF and other nonprofits to share aggregated insights from public posts to better understand how people are talking about vaccines. We will analyze this public conversation across genders, age brackets and regions. Early results from our pilot vaccine messaging work with UNICEF across 10 countries show that nonprofits can use this aggregated information from public posts to build public trust in vaccines. Expanding this program will help our partners deliver vaccine related content to many different communities.

We will continue supporting vaccine efforts as part of our work to help the people who use our platform stay healthy and safe. 

This content was originally published here.

Nancy Pelosi says Democrats will be having an event about the 25th Amendment — and President Trump’s health

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday announced that Democrats are set to hold a Friday event concerning the 25th Amendment amid President Donald Trump’s positive COVID-19 diagnosis.

What are the details?

During questions at a Thursday press briefing, Pelosi told reporters, “Tomorrow, by the way, tomorrow, come here tomorrow. We’re going to be talking about the 25th Amendment.”

Reporters pressed Pelosi to clarify what she meant and asked if she believed it would be prudent to invoke the 25th Amendment in an attempt to remove Trump from office, the speaker did not provide a definitive answer one way or the other.

“I’m not talking about it today except to tell you, if you want to talk about that, we’ll see you tomorrow,” she said. “But you take me back to my point. Mr. President, when was the last time you had a negative test before you tested positive? Why is the White House not telling the country that important fact about how this made a hot spot of the White House?”

Trump announced last Friday that he tested positive for coronavirus, prompting a three-day stay at Walter Reed National Medical Center for treatment. He returned to the White House on Monday.

The 25th Amendment says, “Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.”

What did the president say?

On Thursday, the president spoke with Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business, where he said, “I feel perfect. There’s nothing wrong.”

Trump has yet to publicly remark on Pelosi’s Thursday afternoon remarks.

GOP Rapid Response Director Steve Guest pointed TheBlaze to a tweet when asked for comment on the speaker’s remarks.

The tweet simply read, “Nancy Pelosi is UNHINGED.”

This content was originally published here.

Connecticut orthodontist indicted in love-triangle stabbing

A Connecticut orthodontist has been indicted on attempted-murder charges in the love-triangle stabbing of her ex-fiancee’s new girlfriend, the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office said.

Alika Crew, 42, who works out of a high-end Stamford dental practice, was arraigned Wednesday on the eight-count indictment, which also charges her with five counts of felony assault and a felony count of first-degree unlawful imprisonment.

Crew is accused of hiding in the back of her romantic rival’s SUV in New Rochelle on July 28 and lunging at the 30-year-old victim with a razor, the DA said in a release.

The victim ran from the vehicle, but Crew chased her down and slashed the woman in the neck and hand, prosecutors allege.

When cops got to the scene, Crew pretended to be a good Samaritan who was aiding the victim, police said.

But the victim told cops that Crew was her attacker, not her savior.

Crew was charged with attempted murder the following day and released on bail.

In court Wednesday, she pleaded not guilty to the indictment, lohud.com reported.

Westchester County Court Judge David Zuckerman allowed Crew to remain free on $200,000 bail pending a return court appearance Nov. 2.

This content was originally published here.

Dems say moving forward with Barrett’s confirmation ‘threatens the health and safety’ of members

6m ago / 7:24 PM UTC

Dems say moving forward with Barrett’s confirmation ‘threatens the health and safety’ of members

All 10 Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee are calling on the panel’s Republican chairman, Lindsey Graham, to hold off on the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.

“To proceed at this juncture with a hearing to consider Judge Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court threatens the health and safety of all those who are called upon to do the work of this body,” the senators wrote in a letter to Graham that was spearheaded by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

They also wrote that holding a remote hearing for a Supreme Court nomination is “not an adequate substitute.” Conducting the hearings virtually “ignores the gravity of our constitutional duty to provide advice and consent on lifetime appointments, particularly those to the nation’s highest court.”

On Saturday, Senate Republicans signaled that they would move forward with the hearings the week of Oct. 12 despite three GOP senators, including two who are members of the committee, testing positive for Covid-19.

Josh Lederman and Kelly O’Donnell

28m ago / 7:02 PM UTC

Tensions building outside Walter Reed

A tense, circus-like situation has developed outside the entrance to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center between Trump supporters and anti-Trump protesters.

At one point, NBC News witnessed a minor physical altercation between an anti-Trump protester and a maskless Trump supporter carrying a Trump sign. It was unclear who started it, but they took a few swings at each other and screamed before police eventually showed up. It did not appear that anyone was injured. We have not seen any arrests.

“We can’t hear you, you might want to take your mask off, come on,” one Trump supporter is shouting through a megaphone.

Both local police and military police are now on hand.

In addition to shouting at each other, both the pro-Trump people and the anti-Trump people have been driving back and forth along Rockville Pike, where the media is set up on the sidewalk, honking their horns and occasionally screaming at reporters.

There are about 50 or so people gathered currently, mostly Trump supporters, some with signs wishing the president a speedy recovery. A few have signs saying coronavirus is a hoax.

The anti-Trump protesters have signs with profane references to Trump.

Trump’s physician walks back earlier statements, tries to clear up diagnosis timeline

Dr. Sean Conley, President Donald Trump’s physician, clarified comments from earlier Saturday when doctors stated that the president was “72 hours” into his diagnosis and had begun treatment “48 hours ago.”

“This morning while summarizing the President’s health, I incorrectly use the term ‘seventy two hours’ instead of ‘day three’ and ‘forty eight hours’ instead of ‘day two’ with regards to his diagnosis and the administration of the polyclonal antibody therapy,” Conley wrote in a statement.

While Conley did say during the press conference that Trump was “72 hours” into his diagnosis, he did not make the comment about starting treatment “48 hours ago.” Dr. Brian Garibaldi, another physician at the news conference, made those remarks.

Conley’s statements earlier in the day created a cloud of confusion, raising questions as to whether the president had withheld his diagnosis from the public for more than 24 hours and whether he had continued to hold campaign events knowing he was ill.

This content was originally published here.

What You Need to Know About Immune System Health After 50

More than 24 million Americans have an autoimmune disease, and that number is climbing. When researchers in North Carolina examined 14,000 Americans between 1991 and 2012, they discovered that the prevalence of antinuclear antibodies, an early marker of autoimmunity, had increased by 45 percent. Another study — this one spanning three decades — found that autoimmune diseases of the joints, glands and digestive system are rising at a steady 3.7 to 7.1 percent each year. Smoking and being overweight are two risk factors within your control that are associated with greater risk of RA, one of the most common autoimmune disorders, which affects the lining of your joints.

Food allergies. This is an immune system overreaction that can occur immediately after eating something as seemingly benign as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Food allergies now afflict more than 1 in 10 adults, according to a Northwestern University study of 40,000 people. Rates are particularly high for shellfish, milk and nut allergies, and the number of people who have them has been climbing steadily since the 1980s. “We’re now more susceptible to responses against harmless stuff that shouldn’t be a big problem for our immune system,” Ansel says. “But instead we generate these big and often destructive responses.”

So what’s causing the confusion in the immune system? To a large extent, it’s our changing environment.

“Our bodies deal with thousands of chemicals that were not in the environment 50 years ago — and some not even 20 years ago,” says Aristo Vojdani, a clinical immunologist and adjunct associate professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at Loma Linda University. Heavy metals and industrial pollutants are among the top offenders, but pesticides, preservatives and compounds in food can also alter immune function. All told, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) counts more than 300 environmental chemicals that reach measurable levels in our bodies.

“Exposure to different environmental insults can add up and alter how the immune system functions,” says David Shepherd, a professor of environmental immunology at the University of Montana. “In some cases, [the chemicals] are immune-activating,” meaning they cause inflammation, “and in others, they’re immunosuppressive,” which makes you susceptible to attack.

Add to that a general decrease in physical exercise, ever-increasing levels of stress and, yes, our increasing age. All these many factors have laid siege to our immune system like never before.

Andrew Brookes/Getty Images

Get to know your immune system

When bacteria and viruses enter your body, these natural defenders spring into action   

Macrophage
This gargantuan white blood cell lies in wait within healthy tissue. Sometimes years pass without action, but when a pathogen emerges, macrophages release a blast of proteins called cytokines, which calls the immune system into battle. From there, the macrophage joins the cleanup crew by gobbling up dead and crippled pathogens.

Natural Killer Cell
Some infected cells can be rendered “invisible” to the immune system, which allows the pathogen to continue to spread unabated. That’s when natural killer cells provide an extra layer of defense. A natural killer cell has the ability to identify abnormal cellular appearance — as is often the case with cells infected by a virus. The killer cell studies its mark, and if the suspect cell appears to be infected, it releases proteins near the suspected pathogen. The pathogen then eats the protein — a fatal, final meal.

Neutrophil
At the first sign of trouble, neutrophils swarm like killer bees with multiple stingers. Neutrophils can capture their enemy, set traps, inject poison and amplify signals that pull in more immune-system warriors. Neutrophils only live for about a day, but as long as the battle continues, fresh cells keep showing up to fight. Unfortunately, in their frenzy, they can often mistake healthy cells for the enemy. When that happens, and the neutrophils attack healthy tissue, the result is inflammation, and inflammatory diseases, throughout the body.

B Cell
Although B cells don’t kill invaders directly, they help to slow down pathogens by covering them with sticky Y-shaped proteins, robbing them of their strength and making them easy targets for cells like macrophages, which eat them in clumps. The B cell is an adaptive immune cell, meaning it is highly effective against diseases it has battled before but struggles to recognize new pathogens. When a novel coronavirus arrives, it takes time to ramp up production of antibodies.

T Cell
The T cell is one of the special-ops white blood cells called upon to “recognize” a foreign invader and know exactly how to fight it off. With new enemies like COVID-19, however, the process can take weeks. Once the T cell learns the code — essentially mapping the molecular structure on a pathogen’s surface — it quickly trains an army of T cells to begin opening infected cells and pumping them full of toxins. Doctors call this process immunity, although with COVID-19, we still aren’t certain how long it lasts.

This content was originally published here.

SBA Finalist Spotlight: Northern Virginia Orthodontics

Thank you to Northern Virginia Orthodontics for answering a few of our questions.
Congratulations on being named a finalist for Health & Wellness Business of the Year!

1.Tell us your story of how your company got to where it is today? 

After finishing my orthodontic residency at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond in 2006, my wife and I knew we wanted to move to Loudoun County. We both grew up nearby, and were aware of the planned residential growth, excellent schools, and the fact that Loudoun would be a great place to raise our kids and open an orthodontic practice. We settled on Brambleton Town Center, centrally located in Loudoun, to both live and work. With my vision to make an impact on patients, my team, and my community, I opened Northern Virginia Orthodontics in February of 2008. We saw just two patients that day, and despite the economy crashing in 2008 and 2009, NVO continued to grow thanks to our dedication to treating patients like our own family, over-delivering on top-notch service, and changing lives both inside and outside our office.

Since opening our doors in 2008, we’ve expanded twice in our Brambleton office, added the East Coast’s first, adult-only Invisalign Center, earned the title of Washingtonian Magazine’s Top 50 Places to Work, treated the most Invisalign patients in the state of Virginia, and in 2017 became the #2 Invisalign provider in the entire country.

Despite all these incredible accomplishments, what I’m most proud of is NVO’s impact on the local community. To date, NVO has donated over $1 million to local schools and organizations, as well as to pediatric cancer research and awareness. With our brand new 501(c)(3), The NVO Foundation, we can continue to do even more to help those in need right here in Loudoun County. It’s been an incredible ride going from just two patients that very first day to now seeing over 100 patients on a daily basis, but NVO is just as committed as ever to changing smiles and impacting lives.

2. What would it mean to you and your company to win a Small Business Award?  

Winning an award of this magnitude would serve as affirmation that Northern Virginia Orthodontics is impacting and improving the Loudoun County community, and would serve as fantastic recognition for our entire team.

3. If you weren’t running your own business/working at this business, what would you be doing?

I’ve always had a passion for medicine and helping others, hence becoming an orthodontist. I couldn’t imagine not working at NVO, but if I had to do anything else, I’d probably be a pilot.  I love flying and aeronautics.

4. What book are you reading right now? / What is your favorite book?

“Tools of Titans” by Tim Ferriss. It’s a study of successful people’s habits, and focuses on three critical elements – health, wealth and wise. Great read for anyone, especially business owners.

5. If you have 24-hours off, and your family was out of town, what would you do?

I’d work out, eat a healthy breakfast, then look for a D.C. sporting event to attend, like a Nationals or Capitals
game. Then a good glass of wine with dinner and call it a day – but I’d rather be with my family!

6. What is the smallest thing that has made the largest impact on your business?

Having no fear of change. It’s absolutely essential to assume risk, and to be open to change as your business grows.

7. What did you want to be when you grew up as a child? / What was a childhood dream that you had?

A professional baseball player. Baseball was my passion growing up, and remains a giant part of my family. My oldest son is currently plays baseball at the University of Arizona, and my wife and daughters love the sport as well.

8. Who is the one person that has influenced you the most in your career?

There are so many people that have influenced me along the way, but my older brother has definitely influenced me the most. He has a solution for every problem. He is an attorney by trade, but is always there when I need an opinion on anything business-wise and has been a huge part of NVO’s success.

9. What is your favorite thing about running a business in Loudoun County?

The growth and success of the county, and the pro-business mindset of its leaders.

10. If you’re not in the office where can we find you?

At my son’s baseball game, my daughters’ soccer games, a local winery, a D.C. sporting event, teaching the orthodontic residents at MCV (Medical College of Virginia), or out helping others.

11. What is your favorite weekend activity in Loudoun County?

Visiting one of Loudoun County’s many incredible wineries with family and friends.

The post SBA Finalist Spotlight: Northern Virginia Orthodontics appeared first on Loudoun Chamber.

This content was originally published here.

L.A. County Health Director Admits Schools Won’t Open Until After the Election – The Rush Limbaugh Show

RUSH: The Los Angeles County health director is a woman by the name of Barbara Ferrer, and she got caught. It was an open mic moment. She has said that it’s not realistic to open the schools now. (paraphrased) “No, no, no. We can’t open the schools now. That would be very, very unrealistic. No, no, no, no. We are gonna open the schools after the election.”

You see, the phony part of science has tied the reopening of schools to an election. Not to a vaccine, not to treatments, not to infection rates, but to the election, in Los Angeles County. Every aspect of the education of our children has been politicized, meaning education is dead in the public schools. It means that indoctrination is now the name of the game.

Pupils, students are nothing more than pawns for Democrat games. So education, journalism, comedy, sports, they have all been cheapened, they have all been diminished, they have all been perverted now. So, here is the tape. Here’s Dr. Barbara Ferrer on a conference call with school administrators and medical professionals.

FERRER: We, uh, don’t realistically anticipate that we would be moving to either tier 2 or reopening, uh, K-through-12 schools at least through, uh, — at least until after the election. It seems to us a more realistic, uh, approach to this would be to think that we’re gonna be where we are now until, uh, we get after — until we — we are done with the election.

RUSH: Now, what’s that got to do anything? (summarized) “We won’t be moving to either tier 2 or reopening K-through-12 schools at least until after the election. It seems to us a more realistic approach to this would be to think that we’re gonna be where we are now until, uh, we get after — until we — we are done with the election.”

Really? Gonna reopen the schools after the election? Oh, yeah. We can’t do it before the election. That would help Trump! We’ll do it after the election, and especially, especially if Biden wins. However, there’s a problem. I want to share with you some headlines that I just took from the Drudge page today, because there are people who think that COVID-19 is once again declining.

Number of infections: Declining. Number of deaths: Declining. Okay. Here’s some headlines. “Pandemic About to Enter its Most Treacherous Phase?” Oh, yeah! You got people out there thinking it hasn’t even gotten anywhere near as bad as it’s gonna get. You wait ’til fall and winter hits, and you wait ’til people have to go back and stay inside most of the day.

Oh, you have no idea how bad it’s gonna be! It’s gonna be worse than it’s been ever. (That’s what that story is.) Next headline: “Centers for Disease Control: People with Virus Twice as Likely to Have Eaten at a Restaurant.” Right when they’re trying to open inside dining in New York, here comes a story from the CDC: “People with Virus Twice as Likely to Have Eaten at a Restaurant.”

I mean, my old buddy Sal Scognamillo is hoping to be able to open up Patsy’s and all of his fellow restaurateurs for 25 to 40% inside dining capacity, and here comes a story (from the CDC no less) that people who have COVID-19 are twice as likely to have eaten at a restaurant. That’s like saying, “People involved in automobile accidents yet have eaten carrots in the past 30 days.”

It’s just… (interruption) You want more? Here’s more. “Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Fail to Separate Patients, Putting Others at Risk.” Oh, yeah. Did you know that when you go to the hospital, they’re not even trying to keep you separate from the COVID-19 patients? No. They’re putting you right in the same place, same part of the hospital.

You could easily get infected just because the hospitals are not separating people. There’s more: “France Records 9,800 New Cases, the Highest Daily Total Yet.” “Spiking in Eastern Europe; Hungary Drafts ‘War Plan,’” and the piece de resistance: “Fauci Warns U.S. Needs to ‘Hunker Down’ for Fall, Winter: ‘It’s Not Going to Be Easy.’”

So here we are with the LA health executives thinking we’re gonna open schools after the election — that’d be in November — and that we’re gonna start showing over the hump and the number of cases, number of deaths gonna be on the way down. Not so fast. Not so fast. It’s gonna be worse than ever, are the headlines that you can easily find throughout the Drive-By Media.

You know, I have some contradicting or contradictory stories again.

This content was originally published here.

Coronavirus Nashville Cases: Mayor’s Office, Health Department Concealed Low COVID Numbers | National Review

Officials in Nashville, Tn. concealed from the media how few coronavirus cases had been traced to bars and restaurants in the city, according to emails sent between the mayor’s office and the city’s health department. 

Emails obtained by FOX 17 News appear to show that the two offices seemingly conspired to conceal data showing that while construction and nursing homes led to more than a thousand cases each as of June 30th, only 22 cases had been traced to bars and restaurants. 

In a discussion of the numbers, Leslie Waller from the health department asked, “This isn’t going to be publicly released, right? Just info for Mayor’s Office?”

“Correct, not for public consumption,” replied senior advisor Benjamin Eagles.

The next month, in response to rumors that only 80 cases had been traced to bars and restaurants, a Tennessean reporter asked, “The figure you gave of ‘more than 80’ does lead to a natural question: If there have been over 20,000 positive cases of COVID-19 in Davidson and only 80 or so are traced to restaurants and bars, doesn’t that mean restaurants and bars aren’t a very big problem?”

An unnamed sender responded, “My two cents. We have certainly refused to give counts per bar because those numbers are low per site. We could still release the total though, and then a response to the over 80 could be because that number is increasing all the time and we don’t want to say a specific number.”

Get Jim Geraghty’s tour of the political news of the day.

Get Jim Geraghty’s tour of the political news of the day.

A city staff attorney, at the instruction of council member Steve Glover, was able to verify that the emails are real, the report said. 

Glover accused the city of covering up the data and “fabricating information.”

“They’ve blown their entire credibility,” he said. “It’s gone, I don’t trust a thing they say going forward …nothing.”

The councilman said many bartenders, waitresses, and restaurant owners from downtown Nashville have reached out asking why officials wouldn’t release those numbers. 

This content was originally published here.

Braces vs. Invisalign -Is the Hype Around Invisalign Really Justified

Often being advocated as “invisible braces”, Invisalign is a renowned product with a commanding market lead among its peers of clear aligners. A look at the growth of Invisalign-producer Align tech says it all – best-performing stock of the S&P 500 (2017), which represents the 500 biggest US companies by market value. Literally everybody knows somebody who had it and who doesn’t secretly or openly crave for perfectly straight teeth without the inconvenience of wearing fixed braces?

But is the hype really justified? Can Invisalign really replace braces altogether – for everyone, regardless of the nature of the tooth positioning issue at hand?

In the following, we want to give an understandable comparison to braces and work out some of the important advantages and disadvantages you need to know before making a decision.

Let’s start with the comparison. Both approaches seek to perfectly align the teeth and are scientifically proven. To understand the differences, one has to take soft factors, like patients’ comfort, convenience and esthetic needs in our modern society into account. It is these categories, which became more and more relevant for the long-neglected group of adult patients in recent years. Modern lifestyle, is widely associated with health, esthetics, comfort and convenience and these trends apparently don’t stop at the doorsteps of medicine and dentistry.

As implied in the name Invisalign, the aligners are barely visible for the outside world, which especially for a considerable proportion of the main interest group of working grown-ups, easily is the most important decision-making factor. Braces, on the other hand, are always visible, even though some newer bracket systems try to tackle this disadvantage by being made out of tooth-colored ceramics. But the wires between the brackets are still made of metal and therefore still visible. In modern days, with people taking increased care of their visual perception by others, this esthetic disadvantage of conventional braces is losing acceptance at every level of society and especially among adults.

In terms of treatment time for the majority of cases, Invisalign narrowly edges out braces with an average of 6 to 18 months as compared to the usual 1.5 to 2 years in brace therapy.

In regards to pricing, it depends on the severity of the case and – especially for brace therapy – can vary considerably from one practitioner to the other. But in most comparable case scenarios, the prices are quite similar and payment in installments is very common for both treatment options, given the duration of the procedure and the significant costs involved.

Another very important issue is comfort. In this point patients almost unanimously prefer Invisalign over , mainly because the latter frequently causes blisters on the cheek which is due to friction from the brackets and wires. In the same category Invisalign also avoids the typical problem of food getting stuck within the braces. While Invisalign also requires proper oral hygiene (patients need to brush after each meal to avoid staining), braces require significantly more attention because of the mentioned food impaction. If a patient fails to manage his or her oral hygiene, we are at times forced to remove the braces altogether to avoid and treat dental caries or gum infections.

From the orthodontist’s perspective, there are still some important advantages for the traditional brace treatment. Especially patients with poor compliance might forget to wear their aligners or even lose them. In both cases, achieving good results can get quite complicated. This, of course, isn’t possible with braces. They aren’t removable, so the patient can’t possibly do anything wrong.

Invisalign developed very fast in recent years and showed more and more capabilities to treat even some of the most complex orthodontic issues with great success. According to a growing number of orthodontists, Invisalign even displays some advantages over braces when it comes to treating vertical issues like open or deep bites. Most practitioners still prefer traditional braces for closing bigger gaps in the lower back jaw. Some practitioners also prefer them for solving rotations of single teeth.

Overall, it must be stated, that Invisalign and other clear aligner systems seem to become more and more important to both patients and practitioners and the trend is so far only accelerating.

It is important to know that Invisalign and other clear aligner systems are also offered by non-specialist general practitioners. Most of them have acquired licenses for certain systems of clear aligners, but this alone isn’t a sufficient quality seal in the eyes of a growing number of patients. Clear aligner systems like Invisalign are often misconceived as simple, straightforward treatment. In most cases it is, but any rotated tooth or more complex issue needs a sophisticated decision making progress. This makes the selection of a trusted practitioner very important. In more complex cases, patients should also consult with their trusted orthodontists.

To put it all together, both systems work similarly with the end goal of ideal alignment. Moreover, they also work in similar case scenarios, with a few rather seldom exceptions, when big tooth gaps in the lower back jaw or severe tooth rotations demand a traditional approach with braces as the better option. Apart from these exceptions, the choice is up to the patient and both treatments deliver very good and predictable results in most cases, if performed by an experienced practitioner. It is the author’s conviction, that clear aligner systems, spearheaded by Invisalign, which continues to dominate the market, will never fully replace the traditional brace therapy for some case scenarios. It must be noted though, that considerable research with aligners led to modified treatment approaches that already solve more complex tooth alignment issues than most practitioners ever expected.

This content is brought to you by Dr. Dominique Laatz MSc.

Photo: Shutterstock

The post Braces vs. Invisalign -Is the Hype Around Invisalign Really Justified appeared first on The Good Men Project.

This content was originally published here.

Meet Presley, the new emotional support puppy at Vestavia Family Dentistry

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Presley, the emotional support puppy at Vestavia Family & Facial Aesthetics. Photo via Nathan Watson for Bham Now

Going to the dentist can be a stressful experience, especially for younger children. That’s why Vestavia Family Dentistry & Facial Aesthetics is trying a new strategy. Meet Presley, the new emotional support dog helping patients smile and relax!

The Importance of Emotional Support Animals

Presley providing comfort to a young patient and Dr. Pruitt himself. Photos courtesy of Vestavia Family Dentistry & Facial Aesthetics

Dogs have long played an integral role in the American family, offering unconditional love and—of course—lots of snuggles. In fact, research shows that close contact with dogs can help lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety and improve overall health. However, the concept of a live-in pet has been lagging behind in the dental field—until now!

Meet Presley

How can you not love a face like that? Photo via Nathan Watson for Bham Now

A couple of months ago, Dr. Pruitt of Vestavia Family Dentistry & Facial Aesthetics announced his new employee—a toy Aussiedoodle named Presley. Aside from being adorable, Presley is being trained to provide comfort and affection—and to detect when patients need it.

If a patient is nervous or uncertain, Presley will place her head on a patient’s lap, climb into the dentist’s chair and wag her tail or offer her soft fur to calm a patient’s nervous system and remind the patient that everything will be okay. For most appointments, Presley just sleeps in the patients lap during the procedure. I can’t say I blame her—being adorable 24/7 must be exhausting!

 “Adding an emotional support animal to the practice is something that I have been thinking of doing for quite a while. With all that is going on in the world, I could not think of a better time to incorporate Presley into the practice. What she provides to the patients is immeasurable—she is my new essential healthcare worker.”

Dr. Pruitt, Vestavia Family Dentistry & Facial Aesthetics

Here’s what patients have to say about Presley

Presley comforting a patient during a dental procedure. Photo courtesy of Vestavia Family Dentistry & Facial Aesthetics

From elderly patients to young children, Presley has been a hit at Vestavia Family Dentistry & Facial Aesthetics. Here’s what a few patients have said about Presley:

Tracey: “Having Presley to pet and hold during my multiple dental procedures helped me to stay relaxed and calm. She is so adorable! She took my mind off of my mouth and all I could think about was how I could put her in my purse and take her home with me! Such an added benefit of being a patient of Dr Pruitt and Vestavia Family Dentistry!”

Olivia, age 11: “I really don’t like getting my teeth cleaned but when I found out Presley was there, she comforted me so much and now I’m never scared to get my teethed cleaned at that office again! The only bad thing was that I couldn’t take her home with me. She’s such a nice sweet puppy!”

Miranda: “I was very anxious about my dental appointment, and that’s when Dr. Pruitt brought Presley in. She is such a sweet puppy and being able to love on her during my appointment was very comforting and helped me relax. It was a special experience for me and definitely one I’ll never forget. I’m grateful for Dr. Pruitt and Presley for a truly unforgettable dental visit.”

Carson Pruitt, Dr. Pruitt’s son, with Presley in Vestavia Family Dentistry. Photo courtesy of Vestavia Family Dentistry & Facial Aesthetics

Carson Pruitt: “Even as a dental student, I can relate to patients in that I also do not like going to the dentist. Having Presley in my lap for the duration of my appointment really helped with my dental anxiety and is something unique to Vestavia Family Dentistry. Every dentist should have a trained dental anxiety dog, like Presley, to help ease patients at their appointments and to help them forget they are sitting in a dental chair!”

Kala: “I love Presley, I’m starting to want one just like her. She made all of my dental appointments go by so smooth and easy and she helped to keep me relaxed and calm. I said I would never get another dog but she might have changed my heart.”

Want to meet Presley?

Swing by Vestavia Family Dentistry & Facial Aesthetics to meet Presley! Photo via Nathan Watson for Bham Now
  • Connect: 205.823.3223 | Email | Website | Facebook | Instagram
  • Address: 2816 Columbiana Rd, Vestavia Hills, AL 35216
  • Hours: 7AM-5PM, Monday-Thursday; Call for availability Friday; Closed Saturday and Sunday

If you want a chance to meet Presley, plan a visit to Vestavia Family Dentistry & Facial Aesthetics. The team has been taking extra precautions to stay safe at the office, including taking the temperature of each guest and asking a short questionnaire.

Swing by Vestavia Family Dentistry & Facial Aesthetics to meet Presley—and be sure to tag @bhamnow with your thoughts!

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The post Meet Presley, the new emotional support puppy at Vestavia Family Dentistry appeared first on Bham Now.

This content was originally published here.

U.S. Pulls $62 Million in Funding from World Health Organization

The Trump administration pulled $62 million in funding from the World Health Organization on Wednesday and is taking further steps to withdraw from the body, which the United States accuses of helping China obfuscate information about the coronavirus pandemic.

The United States is on track to cut its funding and personnel from the agency before July 2021, when President Donald Trump’s order earlier this year ending the U.S. relationship with WHO is set to begin, according to senior administration officials working on the matter. The United States will not consider rejoining the organization until it “gets its act together,” according to Nerissa Cook, deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs.

Recent Stories in National Security

U.S. officials informed the WHO of the administration’s decision Wednesday and reiterated demands that the organization implement a series of widespread reforms to limit China’s interference in the body. American diplomats have been pressuring the organization for months over its efforts to help China hide evidence of the coronavirus’s origins. The Trump administration maintains the WHO was complicit in Beijing’s efforts to promulgate lies about the virus in the early days of its spread. The WHO went along with China’s claim that it was the first country to publicly report the virus. U.S. pressure on the WHO has irritated China and European powers that continue to maintain the organization is an effective oversight body.

“The position of the White House is that the WHO needs to reform, and that is starting with demonstrating its independence from the Chinese Communist Party,” Cook said. “And it needs to make improvements in its ability to prepare for, to prevent, to detect, and to respond to outbreaks of dangerous pathogens.”

The United States paid around 22 percent of the WHO’s regular budget, more than $100 million a year. In 2020, the United States sent more than $120 million to the organization, $58 million of which had been disbursed prior to Trump’s decision to freeze funding to the organization in April. The remaining money “will be reprogrammed to the U.N.” for other programs and organizations the United States still supports, according to Cook.

After it leaves the WHO, American diplomats will continue to pressure for reforms that they say must be implemented before the United States considers rejoining the organization. In addition to splitting from China, the United States is demanding structural reforms that would help the WHO more quickly respond to emerging pandemics and inform the world about possible dangers.

“If they’re interested in seeing the United States stay, they will take [those demands] seriously and negotiate seriously,” said Garrett Grigsby, director of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Global Affairs.

The Department of Health and Human Services, as well as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), will end its voluntary contributions to the WHO and begin bringing American officials stationed there home before the end of the year, officials from both agencies confirmed. This includes Americans who are working with the WHO on various global health issues.

USAID and HHS, however, will not halt what they called “one-time” donations to the WHO. This includes up to $40 million that HHS has promised the organization to support its work with immunization and influenza, according to Grigsby.

USAID will also move forward with a “one-time disbursement” this year of up to $68 million to support the WHO’s work on health issues in Libya and Syria, according to Alma Golden, USAID’s assistant administrator for global health.

After both agencies make good on these donations, officials will begin to cement partnerships with organizations and countries that are not WHO members, officials said.

“The World Health Organization has failed badly by those measures, not only in its response to COVID-19, but to other health crises in recent decades,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on Thursday. “In addition, WHO has declined to adopt urgently needed reforms, starting with demonstrating its independence from the Chinese Communist Party.”

This content was originally published here.

UAE Covid-19 vaccine is safe to use, cleared for health staff

The vaccine will be available to the frontline workers who are at the highest risk of contracting the virus, a minister announced.

The UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (Mohap) has announced an “emergency approval” for use of a Covid-19 vaccine that’s being trialled here.

The vaccine will be available to the frontline workers who are at the highest risk of contracting the virus, a minister announced. This will protect them from any dangers.

“The vaccine emergency approval for use is fully aligned with regulations and laws which permit (an) accelerated authorisation process,” said Abdul Rahman bin Mohammed Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, during a virtual Press briefing on Monday. “The results of the first and second test phases (of the vaccine) showed that it is safe, effective and triggered the right response.”

He noted that the emergency approval was granted on “meeting a set of criteria for this specific purpose, and working closely with the vaccine’s developers”.

Dr Nawal Al Kaabi, Chair of the National Clinical Committee for Covid-19 and Principal Investigator of the third phase of clinical trials of the inactive vaccine, said the clinical trials are “moving on the right path, with all tests being successful so far”.

“In less than six weeks since the study began, 31,000 volunteers representing 125 nationalities have participated in the clinical trials. The side effects which have been reported so far are mild and expected, like any other vaccine, and no severe side effects have been encountered,” she said.

Officials said the vaccine’s evaluation was done “under a licence for emergency and limited use, considering target groups, product characteristics, clinical studies data, and all relevant available scientific evidence”.

“The health authorities have followed all procedures to control the quality, safety and efficacy of the vaccine, in coordination with the vaccine’s creators,” said Dr Al Kaabi.

Phase III clinical trial of the Covid-19 inactivated vaccine was rolled out in Abu Dhabi on July 16.

Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) had in July collaborated with the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, G42 Healthcare and Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinopharm CNBG – the developer of the vaccine – to facilitate the third phase of its clinical trials.

A team of specialist medical practitioners from SEHA has been managing the trials. All shots have been administered at dedicated centres equipped to accommodate the volunteers – both Emiratis and expats.

Volunteers are intensively monitored for approximately 42 days. They need to visit the testing centres at least 17 times. During this time, the individual is required to not travel outside the country and needs to have easy access to the clinics. After this, periodic follow-ups are conducted via teleconsultation for up to six months.

ismail@khaleejtimes.com 

This content was originally published here.

Mental health professionals replace police on some Denver 911 calls under new program

A concerned passerby dialed 911 to report a sobbing woman sitting alone on a curb in downtown Denver.

Instead of a police officer, dispatchers sent Carleigh Sailon, a seasoned mental health professional with a penchant for wearing Phish t-shirts, to see what was going on.

The woman, who was unhoused, was overwhelmed and scared. She’d ended up in an unfamiliar part of town. It was blazing hot and she didn’t know where to go. Sailon gave the woman a snack and some water and asked how she could help. Could she drive her somewhere? The woman was pleasantly surprised.

“She was like, ‘Who are you guys? And what is this?’” Sailon said, recounting the call.

This, Sailon explained, is Denver’s new Support Team Assistance Response program, which sends a mental health professional and a paramedic to some 911 calls instead of police.

Since its launch June 1, the STAR van has responded to more than 350 calls, replacing police in matters that don’t threaten public safety and are often connected to unmet mental or physical needs. The goal is to connect people who pose no danger with services and resources while freeing up police to respond to other calls. The team, who is not armed, has not called police for backup, Sailon said.

“We’re really trying to create true alternatives to us using police and jails,” said Vinnie Cervantes with Denver Alliance for Street Health Response, one of the organizations that helped start the program.

Though it had been years in the making, the program launched just four days after protests erupted in Denver calling for transformational changes to policing in response to the death of George Floyd.

“It really kind of proves that we’ve been working for the right thing, and that these ideas are getting the recognition they should,” Cervantes said.

No day is alike according to the two professionals from the Mental Health Center of Denver who work out of the van — Sailon and Chris Richardson.

Rachel Ellis, The Denver Post

Chris Richardson, associate director of criminal justice services at Mental Health Services of Denver, helped coordinated the use of the STAR van, pictured behind him.

The team has responded to an indecent exposure call that turned out to be a woman changing clothes in an alley because she was unhoused and had no other private place to go. They’ve been called out to a trespassing call for a man who was setting up a tent near someone’s home. They’ve helped people experiencing suicidal thoughts, people slumped against a fence, people simply acting strange.

“It’s amazing how much stuff comes across 911 as the general, ‘I don’t know what to do, I guess I’ll call 911,’” Richardson said. “Someone sets up a tent? 911. I can’t find someone? 911.”

The city has touted the program, still in its pilot, as an example of progress as it is barraged with criticism during and after the protests.

“It’s the future of law enforcement, taking a public health view on public safety,” Denver police Chief Paul Pazen said. “We want to meet people where they are and address those needs and address those needs outside of the criminal justice system.”

Pazen doesn’t think an expanded program would reduce the number of police officers needed by the city but it would allow them to focus on other priorities, such as violent crime and traffic fatalities. The STAR van handles a small fraction of the department’s annual 600,000 calls, but the department is tracking calls across the city to see how many could be handled by the STAR team if it were to expand.

The department has seen an increase in the number of mental health related calls over the last few years, he said, and data collected by the state shows that about a third of the people in Denver’s jails are unhoused.

“Instead of putting people in handcuffs we’re trying to meet their needs,” Pazen said.

The STAR program builds off the city’s co-responder program, which has paired mental health professionals with police officers since 2016 on calls where a person is suspected needing mental health services. The 17 mental health professionals responded to 2,223 calls in 2019 and the city’s Department of Public Health and Environment pays the Mental Health Center of Denver about $700,000 a year for their services. The co-responser program, which started with three mental health workers, is hiring now to expand to 25 such professionals, Pazen said.

The combination of STAR, the co-responder program and regular police units creates a sort of continuum of response that dispatchers can choose from, Richardson said. So far, the most common calls the van responds to have been trespassing and mental health checks.

“Once upon a time, someone called and police were tagged in to see what was going on,” Pazen said. “And I think we’re at a point where we’re realizing that police don’t have to be the first people all the time.

During STAR’s six-month pilot program, the van is operating between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday in central downtown and along South Broadway. Eventually, the community groups want to move the STAR program from underneath the police department and manage it themselves, an idea Pazen said he supports.

The pilot program was paid for by a grant from Caring for Denver, a pot of money for initiatives to address mental health and substance abuse collected through a sales tax. The foundation managing the money awarded $208,141 to launch the STAR program. Though sales tax revenue is expected to decline in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cervantes said the city should make STAR part of its budget and expand it citywide.

Rachel Ellis, The Denver Post

An unmarked STAR van is parked at West 5th Avenue and Banncock Street in Denver.

“I’m not so much worried about the funding being there, it’s about the will to get funding to the right places,” Cervantes said.

Organizers are working to help other cities adopt the program. Aurora city leaders are considering launching their own program as they face protests about police brutality and pressure to reshape emergency response.

One of the perks is the team often has the luxury of working with a person for two hours if needed, Sailon said. They’re able to build lasting relationships and connect people to longterm support.

“The rapport we’ve been able to build with people is really incredible,” Sailon said. “Something’s on the right track.”

This content was originally published here.

USC Professor Placed on Leave after Black Students Complained His Pronunciation of a Chinese Word Affected Their Mental Health | National Review

The University of Southern California has placed a communications professor on leave after a group of black MBA candidates threatened to drop his class rather than “endure the emotional exhaustion of carrying on with an instructor that disregards cultural diversity and sensitivities” following the instructor’s use, while teaching, of a Chinese word that sounds like a racial slur.

Greg Patton, a professor at the university’s Marshall School of Business, was giving a lecture about the use of “filler words” in speech during a recent online class when he used the word in question, saying, “If you have a lot of ‘ums and errs,’ this is culturally specific, so based on your native language. Like in China, the common word is ‘that, that, that.’ So in China it might be ‘nèi ge, nèi ge, nèi ge.’”

In an August 21 email to university administration obtained by National Review, students accused the professor of pronouncing the word like the N-word “approximately five times” during the lesson in each of his three communication classes and said he “offended all of the Black members of our Class.”

The students, who identified themselves as “Black MBA Candidates c/o 2022” wrote that they had reached out to Chinese classmates as they were “appalled” by what they had heard. 

“It was confirmed that the pronunciation of this word is much different than what Professor Patton described in class,” the students wrote. “The word is most commonly used with a pause in between both syllables. In addition, we have lived abroad in China and have taken Chinese language courses at several colleges and this phrase, clearly and precisely before instruction is always identified as a phonetic homonym and a racial derogatory term, and should be carefully used, especially in the context of speaking Chinese within the social context of the United States.”

The students accused the professor of displaying “negligence and disregard” in using the word and said he “conveniently stop[ped] the zoom recording right before saying the word,” calling his actions calculated. 

“Our mental health has been affected,” the group continued. “It is an uneasy feeling allowing him to have the power over our grades. We would rather not take his course than to endure the emotional exhaustion of carrying on with an instructor that disregards cultural diversity and sensitivities and by extension creates an unwelcome environment for us Black students.”

The students added that the incident “has impacted our ability to focus adequately on our studies.”

“No matter what way you look at this, the word was said multiple times today in three different instances and has deeply affected us. In light of the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the recent and continued collective protests and social awakening across the nation, we cannot let this stand,” the group concluded, before calling for an immediate remedy to the situation. 

Get Jim Geraghty’s tour of the political news of the day.

Get Jim Geraghty’s tour of the political news of the day.

In response, Dean Geoff Garrett apologized for the professor’s use of a “Chinese word that sounds very similar to a vile racial slur in English,” in an email on August 24 obtained by National Review, saying “understandably, this caused great pain and upset among students.”

“I am deeply saddened by this disturbing episode that has caused such anguish and trauma,” he said.

The dean announced that a new instructor would immediately take over instruction for the remainder of the class.

Two days later, in an email to members of the USC Marshall Graduate Student Association Executive Board, Patton apologized, explaining that he has taught the course for 10 years and had been given the example by several international students years ago.

“The inclusion is part of a deep and sustained effort at inclusion as I have reached out to find and include many international, global, diverse, female, broad and inclusive leadership examples and illustrations to enhance communication and interpersonal skill in our global workplace,” he said. 

“I have since learned there are regional differences, yet I have always heard and pronounced the word as ‘naaga’ rhyming with ‘dega,’” the professor wrote.

He added that the transcript of the session records his pronunciation as “naga” and that his pronunciation of the word comes from time spent in Shanghai. 

“Given the difference in sounds, accent, context and language, I did not connect this in the moment to any English words and certainly not any racial slur,” he wrote.

“Unfortunately messages have circulated that suggest ill intent, extensive previous knowledge, inaccurate events and these are factually inaccurate. Fortunate [sic] we have transcripts, audio, video, tracking of messages and a 25 year record,” he wrote. “I have strived to best prepare students with Global, real-world and applied examples and illustrations to make the class content come alive and bring diverse voices, situations and experiences into the classroom.”

He said he had received positive feedback on the lesson in years past but accepted blame for failing “to realize all the many different additional ways that a particular example may be heard across audiences members based on their own lived experiences.”

In a statement to Campus Reform, USC said Patton “agreed to take a short term pause while we are reviewing to better understand the situation and to take any appropriate next steps.”

According to a brief bio on the school’s website, Patton is “an expert in communication, interpersonal and leadership effectiveness” who has received “numerous teaching awards, been ranked as one of the top teaching faculty at USC and helped USC Marshall achieve numerous #1 worldwide rankings for Communication and Leadership skill development.”

“Professor Patton has extensive international experience, has trained, coached and mentored thousands of leaders worldwide, and created scores of successful leadership programs,” the bio adds.

This content was originally published here.

Illinois orthodontist wins ADA Stanford Award for retainer research

An Illinois orthodontist won the American Dental Association’s 2019 John W. Stanford New Investigator Award for her research paper evaluating the effects of eight cleaning methods on copolyester polymer, a material commonly used in clear thermoplastic retainers.

This content was originally published here.

Association Between Universal Masking and SARS-CoV-2 Positivity Among Health Care Workers

The institutional review board of MGB approved the study and waived informed consent. Using electronic medical records, we identified HCWs providing direct and indirect patient care who were tested for SARS-CoV-2 with reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction between March 1 and April 30, 2020. The primary criterion for testing HCWs in our health care system was having symptoms consistent with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Information on the job description of each HCW was obtained by linking their record to the MGB Occupational Health Services and Human Resources databases.

We identified 3 phases during the study period: a preintervention period before implementation of universal masking of HCWs (March 1-24, 2020); a transition period until implementation of universal masking of patients (March 25–April 5, 2020) plus an additional lag period to allow for manifestations of symptoms (April 6-10, 2020), as previously defined5; and an intervention period (April 11-30, 2020). Positivity rates included the first positive test result for all HCWs in the numerator and HCWs who never tested positive plus those who tested positive that day in the denominator. For each HCW, any tests subsequent to their first positive test result were excluded. Using weighted nonlinear regression, we fit the best curve for the preintervention and intervention periods (based on R2 value). The number of daily tests was used as the weight such that days with more tests had more weight in determining the curve. The overall slope of each period was calculated using linear regression to estimate the mean trend, regardless of curve shape. The change in overall slope between the preintervention and intervention periods was compared to determine any statistically significant change in mean trend, using a 2-sided α = .05. The analysis was conducted using R version 4.0 (R Foundation).

Discussion

Universal masking at MGB was associated with a significantly lower rate of SARS-CoV-2 positivity among HCWs. This association may be related to a decrease in transmission between patients and HCWs and among HCWs. The decrease in HCW infections could be confounded by other interventions inside and outside of the health care system (Figure), such as restrictions on elective procedures, social distancing measures, and increased masking in public spaces, which are limitations of this study. Despite these local and statewide measures, the case number continued to increase in Massachusetts throughout the study period,6 suggesting that the decrease in the SARS-CoV-2 positivity rate in MGB HCWs took place before the decrease in the general public. Randomized trials of universal masking of HCWs during a pandemic are likely not feasible. Nonetheless, these results support universal masking as part of a multipronged infection reduction strategy in health care settings.

Section Editor: Jody W. Zylke, MD, Deputy Editor.

Corresponding Author: Deepak L. Bhatt, MD, MPH, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 75 Francis St, Boston, MA 02115 (dlbhattmd@post.harvard.edu).

Accepted for Publication: July 1, 2020.

Published Online: July 14, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.12897

Author Contributions: Dr Bhatt had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. Drs Wang and Ferro contributed equally to this article.

Concept and design: Wang, Ferro, Hashimoto, Bhatt.

Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: All authors.

Drafting of the manuscript: Wang, Ferro.

Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: All authors.

Statistical analysis: Wang, Zhou.

Administrative, technical, or material support: Wang, Ferro, Hashimoto.

Supervision: Hashimoto, Bhatt.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr Bhatt discloses the following relationships: advisory board: Cardax, CellProthera, Cereno Scientific, Elsevier Practice Update Cardiology, Level Ex, Medscape Cardiology, PhaseBio, PLx Pharma, Regado Biosciences; board of directors: Boston VA Research Institute, Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care, TobeSoft; chair: American Heart Association Quality Oversight Committee, NCDR-ACTION Registry Steering Committee, VA CART Research and Publications Committee; data monitoring committees: Baim Institute for Clinical Research, Cleveland Clinic, Contego Medical, Duke Clinical Research Institute, Mayo Clinic, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Population Health Research Institute; honoraria: American College of Cardiology, Baim Institute for Clinical Research, Belvoir Publications, Duke Clinical Research Institute, HMP Global, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, K2P, Level Ex, Medtelligence/ReachMD, MJH Life Sciences, Population Health Research Institute, Slack Publications, Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care, WebMD; deputy editorship: Clinical Cardiology; research funding: Abbott, Afimmune, Amarin, Amgen, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Cardax, Chiesi, CSL Behring, Eisai, Ethicon, Ferring Pharmaceuticals, Forest Laboratories, Fractyl, Idorsia, Ironwood, Ischemix, Lexicon, Lilly, Medtronic, Pfizer, PhaseBio, PLx Pharma, Regeneron, Roche, Sanofi Aventis, Synaptic, The Medicines Company; royalties: Elsevier; site coinvestigator: Biotronik, Boston Scientific, CSI, St Jude Medical, Svelte; trustee: American College of Cardiology; unfunded research: FlowCo, Merck, Novo Nordisk, Takeda. No other disclosures were reported.

Additional Contributions: We thank Stacey A. Duey, MT(ASCP), MCHP, Mass General Brigham, for assistance in extracting data from the Research Patient Data Registry, and Karen Hopcia, ScD, ANP-BC, Mass General Brigham, for assistance in extracting data from Occupational Health Services. No compensation was received for their roles.

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Japan’s Abe to meet media as hospital visits fuel health concerns | News | Al Jazeera

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is set to hold a news conference on Friday afternoon in which he is expected to address growing concerns about his health after two recent hospital examinations within a week.

Ruling party officials have said Abe’s health is fine, but the hospital visits, one lasting more than seven and a half hours, have fuelled speculation about whether he will be able to continue in the job until the end of his term in September 2021. On Monday, he became Japan’s longest-serving leader, beating a record set by his great-uncle Eisaku Sato half a century ago.

Under fire for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and scandals among party members, Abe – who vowed to revive the economy with his “Abenomics” policy of spending and monetary easing – has recently seen his support decline to one of the lowest levels of his nearly eight years in office.

While he has beefed up Japan’s military spending and expanded the role of its armed forces, his dream of revising the country’s pacifist constitution has failed because it lacks broad public support. 

Shinzo Abe becomes Japan’s longest continuously serving PM

Sources have told Reuters that Abe would consult his doctors before meeting the media, either by phone or another hospital visit.

COVID-19 measures

The prime minister is expected to provide an explanation about his health and lay out new measures to fight the coronavirus at the news conference which is due to start at 5pm (08:00 GMT). Among them will be a pledge to secure enough vaccines for everyone in the nation by early 2021, paying for this with reserve funds, Japanese media said.

Abe, who has been struggling with the chronic condition ulcerative colitis since his teens, has not provided any detail about the hospital visits. Returning from the last visit on Monday, he said he wanted to take care of his health and do his utmost at his job.

Speculation that he would step down has been dismissed by allies in his ruling Liberal Democratic Party including Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, who told Reuters on Wednesday that he meets Abe twice a day and has not seen any change in his health.

He added that Abe’s comments on Monday that he would continue to do his best in the job “explains it all”.

Abe has been prime minister since 2012; his second stint in the role. He resigned abruptly from his previous term in 2007 because of his illness, which he has been able to keep in check with medicine that was not previously available.

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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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Mercury Use in Dentistry Is on Its Way Out

This Mercury-Free Dentistry Week, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Consumers for Dental Choice, the nonprofit advocates moving mercury-free dentistry from dream to reality.

From protecting dentists’ right to practice without mercury-laden dental amalgam fillings to obtaining mandated fact sheets to inform patients about amalgam’s mercury content, to bans and restrictions on amalgam use around the world, Consumers for Dental Choice and its leader, former state Attorney General Charlie Brown, are making mercury-free dentistry more widely available than ever before.

And, that progress is starting to sway the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the chief regulator of dental amalgam, at the federal level. Thanks to your donations, Consumers for Dental Choice has reopened the door for FDA action against amalgam.

I ask that you continue your support by donating at ToxicTeeth.org, and I will match all donations during Mercury-Free Dentistry Week (August 23 to 29, 2020) up to $150,000. So, double your impact today. Together, we can win the campaign for mercury-free dentistry at FDA that has come so far.

>>>>> Click Here <<<<<

Consumers for Dental Choice Sues the FDA — and Wins

The FDA is legally required to classify — that is, issue a rule for — all medical devices, including dental amalgam. But for 30 years, FDA dodged its legal duty to classify amalgam.

Consumers for Dental Choice put an end to FDA’s negligence. In 2008, this dynamic nonprofit organization assembled plaintiffs and sued FDA, demanding that amalgam be classified. The judge agreed and told FDA to sit down with Consumers for Dental Choice to determine a deadline. FDA was compelled to commit to classifying amalgam by July 2009.

But when July 2009 came around it was clear the FDA had not considered the science — especially the evidence of harm amalgam can cause vulnerable populations like children, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers. Its abysmal rule reflected it, posing no restrictions on amalgam use to protect the public — or even requiring that patients be told that amalgam is made of mercury.

Nonetheless, FDA’s rule acknowledged that amalgam could be harmful and that there was no proof of safety for the populations most susceptible to this toxin:

“The developing neurological systems in fetuses and young children may be more sensitive to the neurotoxic effects of mercury vapor. Very limited to no clinical information is available regarding long-term health outcomes in pregnant women and their developing fetuses, and children under the age of six, including infants who are breastfed.”

Fortunately, Consumers for Dental Choice never puts all its eggs in one basket. So, Charlie and his team challenged FDA’s rule while pursuing other opportunities to advance mercury-free dentistry, like defeating pro-mercury state dental boards, fighting for amalgam fact sheet laws for patients at the state level and getting amalgam into the Minamata Convention on Mercury.

And as Consumers for Dental Choice racked up win after win — regaining licenses for mercury-free dentists persecuted by state boards, gaining fact sheets to protect dental patients, achieving an amalgam reduction requirement in the Minamata Convention — the FDA’s rule became more and more outdated and the U.S. slipped further and further behind.

Consumers for Dental Choice’s Game-Changing Return to FDA

Almost a decade after the FDA issued its flawed amalgam rule, Consumers for Dental Choice launched a nonstop campaign focused on getting FDA moving again on amalgam. And that campaign is starting to bear fruit. To succeed, Consumers for Dental Choice brought a whole new ball game to the FDA, giving the agency even more reasons to act.

First, Consumers for Dental Choice assembled an accomplished team of experts to approach the FDA. In 2018, they unveiled the Chicago Declaration to End Mercury Use in the Dental Industry at the University of Illinois School of Public Health.

This declaration, signed by 50-plus heavy-hitter environmental groups, called on the FDA “to bring its policies in line with the Federal Government as a whole and with its responsibilities under the Minamata Convention and to publicly advise a phase down of the use of mercury amalgams with the goal of phasing out entirely.”

Furthermore, it recommended immediately ceasing amalgam use in children, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers. Working with some key signatories to the Chicago Declaration, Consumers for Dental Choice sent the declaration to FDA — and their team got meetings with the top of the agency.

Second, Consumers for Dental Choice organized a strong showing of public support from you. Do you remember its online petition that almost 50,000 of you signed? Consumers for Dental Choice presented it to the FDA in person at its first meeting with the agency and has continued to make sure your voice is heard via such means as the public comments on patient preferences it asked you to submit to the FDA last spring.

As one article’s headline described the result, “FDA Gets Mouthful on Mercury Dental Fillings After Requesting Public Comment on Device Regulation.” Third, Consumers for Dental Choice presented the FDA with new science showing amalgam’s harmful effects.

FDA Flips Their Position on Amalgam

Having reached the top of the agency, Consumers for Dental Choice could submit scientific studies that someone at the FDA would read. As a result, FDA’s most recent scientific review of amalgam flips FDA’s position on a major issue.

FDA now recognizes evidence that shows once dental amalgam is implanted in the human body, its elemental mercury can convert to toxic methylmercury — the same type of mercury that the FDA warns about in fish.

Furthermore, FDA is starting to recognize the bioaccumulative effect of amalgam’s mercury. With patients exposed to so many sources of mercury — from high-mercury fish in their diets, occupational exposures in their workplaces and waste incinerators emitting mercury in their neighborhoods — the mercury from amalgam could very well be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Consumers for Dental Choice laid a track record of victories on the table at the FDA. Working with strong local partners, Consumers for Dental Choice has won amalgam phase-out set dates in the Philippines, Ireland, Slovakia, Finland, Nepal, Moldova, Czech Republic and New Caledonia.

Consumers for Dental Choice has also won — again partnering with a local partner — bans on amalgam use in children in the European Union, Vietnam and Tanzania, and public warnings about amalgam’s mercury in Nigeria.

And, it let the FDA know about these victories because if other countries can do it, so can the U.S. Armed with this new support, Consumers for Dental Choice succeeded in persuading the FDA to reopen the amalgam issue, starting with a new FDA review and scientific advisory committee meeting.

Consumers for Dental Choice Convinces the FDA

In November 2019, the promised FDA scientific advisory committee met to discuss metal implants and specifically dental amalgam. First, the committee heard from the public, primarily Consumers for Dental Choice’s team of 16 experts.

Consumers for Dental Choice executive director Charlie Brown testified alongside 15 heavy hitters from the Children’s Environmental Health Network, Tuskegee University, International Indian Treaty Council, Organic & Natural Health Association and Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice, as well as city and county commissioners, a physician expert in environmental justice, a pharmacist specializing in toxicology and several attorneys — all speaking out for mercury-free dentistry.

You can see Consumers for Dental Choice’s team and their colleagues in action in the video at the top of this article, which shares highlights of the advisory panel meeting. The FDA advisory committee members discussed amalgam among themselves. They recommended that the agency provide information to patients about the risks of dental amalgam, especially for vulnerable populations.

Committee members expressed particular concern about the disproportionate use of amalgam in disadvantaged populations, including communities of color and low-income communities that are already exposed to higher levels of toxins. And many committee members even called for an end to amalgam use:

Dr. McDiarmid — “I’ll speak for myself and say I think that the evidence is there because we can show an exposure and we know the behavior of these neurotoxicants in the developing brain of children. We really need to think about continuing to just bless this because the evidence isn’t quite there.”

Dr. Connor — “But it seems like if a product came on the market today that said it’s 50% made with a material we know is highly toxic and we’re only going to use it predominantly in disadvantaged populations, we wouldn’t be having a meeting, you know? FDA would not approve it without a meeting.

So, I mean, I’ll leave that right there in terms of our discussion, but if this were coming on the market today saying it’s 50% highly toxic material and we’re predominantly going to use it in disadvantaged populations, it wouldn’t even be a question.”

Dr. Weisman — “So given all that, my feeling is that mercury-containing amalgam should probably be on its way out.”

Mr. Lison — “I think everybody would agree that mercury in the body isn’t a good thing. I see no reason why it shouldn’t be phased out as quickly as possible.”

Even the FDA advisory committee chair, Dr. Rao, agreed as he summed up the committee’s conclusions to the FDA:

“And I think, generally, the Panel feels in response to Question Number 6 that the evidence that was presented and is available currently confirms what was previously known and tends to move the needle a little bit further along in the direction that there is some recognition and understanding of the risks associated with mercury-containing amalgams.

These risks are to the environment and also to the patient, and potentially, to the — and to the dental professionals involved in the insertion of these. I don’t think there’s been any clear understanding of a quantified increase in risk that is available currently.

But the trend seems to be that when there are alternatives available to the use of mercury, the general direction should be to move away from using mercury-containing amalgams and towards non-mercury-containing products to help with dental restorations.”

So, the consensus of its own advisory committee is that FDA’s silence on amalgam must end. But as executive director Charlie Brown explains:

“FDA has a history of not acting on advisory committee recommendations, so Consumers for Dental Choice is keeping them on the agency’s plate. We’ve been following up with meetings, letters from experts and multiple memos answering specific questions raised at the committee meeting.”

Now It’s Your Turn to Act

Consumers for Dental Choice has brought a whole new ball game to FDA, and this time it looks like the FDA is ready to play ball. But you don’t have to wait on the government; you can go to a mercury-free dentist now by checking out Consumers for Dental Choice’s listing of mercury-free dentists.

With your continuing support, this effective advocacy organization can make the dream of mercury-free dentistry a reality at the FDA. Will you consider a donation to this 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating mercury-free dentistry?

If you donate during Mercury Awareness Week (August 23 to 29, 2020), I will double your money. I’ll match you, dollar for dollar (up to $150,000). Donations are tax-deductible and can be made online at ToxicTeeth.org. Checks can be mailed to:

Consumers for Dental Choice
316 F St., N.E., Suite 210
Washington DC 20002

Thank you for helping make the dream of mercury-free dentistry into reality for all patients, everywhere.

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Pedophilia Is a Mental Health Issue. It’s Still Not Treated as One

On the nights when the mental sexual images of children were most overwhelming, Joseph Parker took cold showers and baths, hoping the shock of freezing water would push his intrusive thoughts away. Other times, he would fixate on a picture of the Sri Lankan Buddhist monk Henepola Gunaratana, so that the monk’s “wrinkly face” might replace the disturbing imagery in his head.

Parker, who is using a pseudonym to protect his identity, had known he was attracted to children since he was 17, but he didn’t start having overpowering sexual urges until he was 24. (He’s now 26.) These urges were the worst when he was falling asleep. “As soon as I tried to release myself from wakefulness, my mind would sink into the pool of sexual energy, and I would feel this horrible sense of joy and happiness towards children,” he said.

He read online about medications that could lower testosterone levels and, as a result, sex drive—a process sometimes referred to as “chemical castration.” When he asked a psychiatrist for these drugs, he was given Risperidone, an antipsychotic, instead. He took that for about a year, then added on Sertraline, an antidepressant, but only found these drugs mildly helpful. He turned to the internet to get what he had wanted in the first place.

From a Turkish division of the pharmaceutical company Bayers, he ordered cyproterone acetate, which lowers testosterone, along with the female hormone estradiol, and now takes the two medications together. The website that processes the sales is frequently shut down because of its illicit nature: “To my knowledge this is their third or fourth website change, at least, since I came upon them 14 months ago,” he said.

Parker wishes it wasn’t this hard for pedophiles to get sex-drive reducing medications. But for many pedophiles—and especially pedophiles who have not committed crimes—access to even talk therapy, let alone medication, can be difficult to come by, and the process is riddled with fears about being reported to legal authorities.

In the past several decades, researchers have arrived at new understandings about pedophilia, the sexual attraction to children. Pedophilia appears to be an in-born sexual preference, something a person does not choose and cannot change. A pedophile’s attraction to children is consistent—not a phase—and they develop their attraction to children around the same time that other people develop sexual attractions.

While researchers’ knowledge has been evolving, access to widespread, up-to-date healthcare hasn’t kept up pace. Outside of the handful of researchers who provide therapy and medication to pedophiles, the barriers to finding an informed therapist or psychiatrist remain high. This has led to a hodgepodge of therapeutic approaches in the community, or people self-medicating, like Parker did. Many pedophiles are only directed towards treatment in the context of the criminal justice system, where in some states, chemical castration is used on sex offenders.

Yet importantly, researchers have established there’s a distinction between pedophilia and child molestation, a difference between the attraction itself and the crime. “Most people hear these words and think that they’re synonyms. They’re not,” said James Cantor, a Canadian clinical psychologist and neuroscientist who studies pedophilia.

Only about half of child sex offenders are genuine pedophiles. The other half prefer adults sexually, and are abusing children because they’re available or easily manipulated. (Child porn offenders, on the other hand, are nearly always pedophiles because of the ready availability of adult porn alternatives.)

The goal of any modern, preventative treatment for pedophila should be to help people manage their sexual interests rather than try to change them, Cantor said. This can involve the voluntary use of hormone-reducing medication to control urges or therapy. Since pedophilia and sexual abuse are not synonymous, treatment for pedophilia is also not solely about preventing child sexual abuse—it’s about helping people with their overall mental health and well-being too. That’s a concept that may be hard to accept. It involves recognizing that people who are sexually attracted to children deserve to live healthy and meaningful lives.

Online support groups for non-offending pedophiles have only recently entered the public eye. The most well-known group, the Virtuous Pedophiles, was formed in 2012 as a safe place for pedophiles to discuss their struggles and commitment to not offend. Parker belongs to the Virtuous Pedophiles and is known to the community as Double22. Another organization, the Association for Sexual Abuse Prevention (ASAP) was formed by some members of the Virtuous Pedophiles, and they are currently ramping up their goal to create a platform to connect pedophiles to mental health professionals.

“In my opinion, they should not be seen as second class patients.”

In April of this year, the first randomized placebo-controlled study of a hormone-reducing drug for pedophilia took place in Sweden. Published in JAMA Psychiatry, it found that the drug reduced both high sexual desire and sexual attraction to children, and that the effects were noticeable within two weeks.

The study is the first to include people who self-identified as pedophiles and were seeking help of their own accord, not just people funneled from the criminal justice system. What’s even more remarkable about the study is that it included a placebo group—the first pedophilia study to do so. In an editorial about the study, Peer Briken, a professor of sex research at the University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf in Germany, wrote that it “marks a milestone in clinical sexual science and the field of forensic psychiatry.”

“I think one of the biggest problems is that people just don’t understand this as a mental health issue,” said Fred Berlin, an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “Rightfully, people are concerned about protecting children. And so we just quickly stigmatize people who are attracted to children and often don’t even see them as human beings with a problem who might be deserving of help.

“In my opinion, they should not be seen as second class patients.”

In 2014, journalist Luke Malone wrote an article about young people, some of them minors, who were discovering that they were attracted to children, and how they were coping with it. It was adapted as an episode of This American Life, one of several high-profile media pieces about pedophiles that explored the complicated existence of being born attracted to children—and how hard it is to get help.

When Adam, one of the young pedophiles in Malone’s story, admitted to a therapist what was wrong, “she just became extremely cold and harsh,” he told Malone. “She even, a few times, almost got to the level of shouting.” She ended up telling Adam’s mother.

“There is a huge reason [pedophiles] would avoid therapists and doctors—those people have an obligation to report them to police if they think children might be in danger in the future,” said Ethan Edwards, one of the co-founders of the Virtuous Pedophiles, who uses a pseudonym.“Especially if they are not specifically trained in the issue, and with the common belief that all pedophiles molest children sooner or later, it is very perilous for a pedophile to seek out a therapist.”


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Christoffer Rahm, a psychiatrist, researcher at the Karolinska Institute, and the senior author on the JAMA study from April, once worked at a clinic linked to a Swedish national helpline focused on sexuality, PrevenTell. Rahm ended up meeting some pedophiles who called in; one was a bus driver who brought children to school. The bus driver was struggling with his impulses and fantasies, but had not sexually offended in any way. Rahm looked for research to help determine the best treatment for his patient and found a gap in the literature: There were no rigorous comparisons of different medications, or recommendations about who might do best with therapy. (As far as we know, female pedophiles are rarer, and the research on treatment for them even more sparse.)

Cantor feels it’s more than just a gap when it comes to pedophilia. “It is a black hole,” he said. “This is a topic that scientists in the fields of mental health are not just uninterested in—it is actively repugnant.”

That’s what motivated Rahm to conduct his study. “If there are people seeking help for this, the best thing would be to manage it in a preventative phase before the damage is done,” he said. “Of course, society needs to say that any kind of abuse against a child is not okay. But it is counterproductive if these people can’t even seek help with a professional.”

The medication Rahm studied is Degarelix, approved by the FDA in 2006 for treatment of advanced prostate cancer. This is the first time that it’s been used off-label for pedophilia. It’s an injection that starts working right away and lasts for about three months. It works by shutting down signals from the brain to the body to produce testosterone.

In qualitative interviews Rahm’s team did during the study, they found that some of their participants experienced positive effects. “They described feeling an inner calm,” Rahm said. “They felt less pressure, that they had a better intimate life with their partners. Some described that the annoying thoughts around children disappeared so they can focus on other things. And many described that they had lost that enervating impulse to masturbate, and were able to see children as just human beings and not sexual symbols.” A majority of the participants in the group that got the active drug said that they would want to continue taking it.

Many of the therapies that have been used for pedophiles have not been validated this way, but deployed through forensic psychology and the criminal justice system. Though Berlin has prescribed hormone-reducing medications to countless patients, he feels that the legal system usually doesn’t collaborate with doctors and scientists who are studying the use of these drugs. “As a physician, I think that’s completely inappropriate,” he said.

If someone goes to prison being sexually attracted to children, there’s nothing about prison that can get rid of that attraction, or enhance a person’s ability to resist temptation later on, Berlin said. It also leads to a mistrust of treatment, because of a history of involuntary use of chemical castration and aversion therapy—a therapy that associates negative cues with images of young children to dissuade future attraction.

“The idea that we can solve this simply through punishment and incarceration is very naive,” Berlin said.

Talk therapy should focus on managing a person’s sexual interests, with an explicit acknowledgment that those interests will likely never change. In the past, therapy sometimes focused on searching for trauma, because of the belief that a history of abuse led someone to abuse. The truth is a bit more complicated. Having been sexually abused in your own childhood could be a factor in committing sexual abuse as an adult, but is not necessarily a factor in pedophilia.

“This is what I’ve heard over and over,” Cantor said. “They knew. They always knew it. All their past therapists were telling them to focus on trauma, what happened in their childhood. But their genuine experience of it was that they were born this way.”

“We need to move on to the next generation of research and quality development.”

Cantor said that once that basic framework of therapy changes from changing one’s sexuality to managing it, people adapt very quickly. It makes more sense to his patients, and they’re able to better commit. If a person has looked at child porn or committed sexual abuse in the past, a therapist would help them examine how and why their self-control broke down, and how to set up their life so that it doesn’t happen again—not how to stop being attracted to children.

For some people, this process could be paired with sex-drive reducing drugs. “Some people find they would rather live in that state than with those nagging sex drive that they can’t express and can do anything to do anything about,” Cantor said.

Yet even in those states that have issued mandates for sex offenders to receive hormone-reducing drugs as punishment, it can be incredibly difficult for non-offending pedophiles who want it to get medication. “I get letters from people around the country all the time wanting access and they can’t even get access to it,” Berlin said.

Rahm doesn’t advocate for medication to be used for every pedophile for life—his study explores whether this specific drug could help. He said a person may only want and need it for a few months. It could help a person through a difficult time, or be combined with the start of a behavioral therapy practice. “We need to move on to the next generation of research and quality development,” Rahm said. “We need to evaluate our treatments and to get evidence-based treatments out there so we know what we’re doing.”

The word “castration” has a dark history, and dark connotations. It’s often been wielded involuntarily: In Germany the number of involuntary castrations of sex offenders increased as a result of the Nazi German Act, with at least 2,800 sex offenders were castrated between 1934 and 1944. In the United States, Black men accused of raping or sexually assaulting white women could find themselves subject to castration. For reasons like these, Rahm is torn about calling Degarelix “chemical castration.” While he thinks researchers and clinicians should accurately describe what the drug is doing and its side effects, he worries that referring to it as castration could scare people away, or disregard the consent and autonomy of patients who want it.

Rahm said that every person who participated in their study did so voluntarily, and was informed in detail about any possible side effects from taking Degarelix. They had the option to quit the study at any moment. He’s also currently running another placebo-controlled study on a non-pharmacological option: therapy geared specifically towards pedophiles that they can access anonymously, through the dark web.

The mere existence of Rahm’s studies is important, outside of the details of the findings. Doing placebo-controlled studies on pedophilia was previously thought to be impossible, because of the ethical implications of not giving an active treatment to a group of people attracted to children.

In Briken’s editorial, he wrote that because the medication they used was fast-acting, and they allowed anyone with pedophilia into the study—not just those who were high-risk for offending—it helped make the placebo group ethically possible. Briken concluded that Rahm’s study was “the most important contribution to the field of pharmacotherapy of pedophilic disorders since” the original study of hormone reducing drugs in 1998, and offers a starting point for a more comprehensive approach to pedophila treatment.

In Germany, Prevention Project Dunkelfeld, which offers therapy and medication, has 10 locations throughout Germany, and a person can get help while remaining completely anonymous.

The demand for their work is high: After a BBC documentary on the Dunkelfeld Institute aired, the Guardian reported that Dunkelfeld’s hotline was overwhelmed with calls from British pedophiles. “One British man was so desperate, he moved to Germany to be able to access a Dunkelfeld programme,” the Guardian wrote. “In an email exchange with the Guardian, the man, who wished to remain anonymous, wrote: ‘So far, all I have ever received from the NHS is doors slammed in my face.'”

There’s not as well-known a center for pedophiles in the U.S. to go to. Richard Kramer, the educational director at B4U-ACT, an online support group for pedophiles, said he figured out he was attracted to pubescent boys in his 20s. (His attraction is to boys around the age of 12 or 13, which is technically called hebephilia.) “I was very ashamed about it and thought that I was seriously defective as a human being,” Kramer said, who is using a pseudonym. “I really wasn’t able to find any information about it. They didn’t want to go to the library for fear that people would see what I’m looking up.”

When he began reading information online, he said, everything he encountered was very negative. “It said that I would be a monster, I would have hundreds of victims, and that my entire life would be centered around an elaborate plot to deceive parents and to manipulate children into abusing them,” he said. “So I thought, well, this is what they think about me. I have no interest in seeing them and seeing a therapist.”

A big part of being successful in therapy is having the support of family and friends, something that pedophiles can lack. They often are going through difficult treatments alone, and are unable to talk about it to others. You can’t tell co-workers, or ask a boss for time off for your appointments. “You have two choices,” said Michael Seto, a forensic psychologist and sexologist at the University of Toronto. “You don’t do it or you lie about it.”

When Kramer was ready to look for a therapist again, he didn’t really care what kind of approach they used, but was more concerned about whether they understood enough about pedophiles to not treat him like a criminal. His goals didn’t involve a struggle to control his impulses, but to manage the shame and sense of isolation from others because he couldn’t be honest.

“We have to insist that people who have this orientation not act upon it,” Berlin said. “If we think about that, that can be quite a burden. It’s not surprising that some of these folks might be in need of mental health assistance, because of the effect of experiencing these attractions on their sense of self-esteem and self-worth.”

“Happy, mentally healthy people do not molest children.”

Some pedophiles are attracted to adults and children; some, only children. For those who are exclusively attracted to children and dedicated to non-offending, Kramer said, there needs to be a space for helping them grieve over not being able to have romantic and sexual relationships. “How do they deal with loneliness?” he said. There are other concerns, some almost mundane: How, for instance, do they deal with answering questions friends and co-workers ask about their personal lives? He’s had friends who asked him if he was gay, and he said he wasn’t sure how to answer.

“I’m not exactly gay, but I’m definitely not straight and I’m definitely not asexual,” he said. “How do you respond to that?”

Gary Gibson founded the ASAP as one potential solution to this problem. Through an involvement with the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA), Gibson has been curating a list of therapists to whom he can refer pedophiles. The list is now around 400 names long. ASAP primarily focuses on non-offending pedophiles, but they will also help people who have offended and want to stop. “People are just desperate out there,” Gibson said.

He has worked with pedophiles who were so desperate for help that they underwent physical castrations. One man traveled to Mexico to have the operation done; when he returned, he tried to find a doctor to supervise his recovery and medications. “I could not find a doctor who would take him on,” Gibson said. “They didn’t want him in the office. I did find a therapist to work with him, and I kind of lost contact with him. I’m worried about what happened to him.”

Until recently ASAP has been handled almost entirely by Gibson, but ASAP is currently undergoing a significant expansion. It has increased its office and volunteer staff, is making a new, online database of mental healthcare providers, and creating a 24/7 helpline. Gibson said his dream is to get a multimillion dollar grant to create a mentor program for teenagers, aged 13 to 17, who are learning that they’re pedophiles. “I’ve applied three times,” he said. “Maybe the third time’s the charm, because I’ve been denied twice.”

The goal is to help every non-offending person attracted to children find therapy if they want or need it, said Robert Hillman, a “lifelong virtuous (non-offending) pedophile,” and the new president of ASAP.  Hillman said that the mantra is: “All pedophiles are born non-offending,” and the aim is to help keep it that way. “Happy, mentally healthy people do not molest children,” he said.

“People do the most desperate things when they feel the most desperate,” Cantor said. “A lot of what these groups and therapy provide is helping people lead a life that is worth protecting. When they have a life worth protecting, that’s when people get the energy and the willpower to control themselves, because they don’t want to risk the life that they have.”

What Hillman and Gibson want is the opportunity for any person attracted to children to chart their own path, and figure out what works best for them. That may include an experimentation with medication, and it may not. ASAP doesn’t control their therapists—they all operate independently, using different methods of treatment. They’re not always successful. “One guy has committed suicide that I know of,” Gibson said said. “But I think that we have probably saved a few lives and saved many children from being abused.”

These support groups and therapy networks are providing a lifeline, but alone, they don’t guarantee a consistency in treatment, nor fill the gaps in the scientific literature when it comes to which treatments might be best for a certain person. There might be certain hormone-reducing medications that are less risky or work better than others; certain pedophiles that fare better without drugs; certain therapeutic practices that are more helpful than others. Those answers aren’t clear-cut.

As with all medications, some people have good experiences and others do not. Pedophiles can identify as “ego-dystonic” or “ego-syntonic.” Ego-syntonic people consider pedophilia as part of their identity, and can be okay with fantasizing and masturbating about children (though not with porn), while ego-dystonic people are not. It may be that treatment should be different with those who have different attitudes towards their attraction, even if members of both groups have the same commitment to not offend.

After about five weeks, Parker said that he felt better from the medication he had ordered online. “It was night and day,” he said. “I can’t tell you what a weight was lifted off of me, or a pressure from under me that was relieved. Whenever I think about it I just lay back in my chair and breathe a contented sigh, knowing that I won’t suffer like that again. Both physical urges in my body and intrusive imagery in my mind have disappeared.”

He doesn’t think that medication should be thought of only as a stop-gap to a person committing sexual abuse. “Offending was never a danger for me in the first place,” he said. He doesn’t take the medication to stop himself from molesting a child, but as a way to improve his quality of life.

When Max Weber, who helps run a peer-support website for pedophiles in Germany, realized his attraction to young girls in his early 20s, he said, he was terrified. “My picture of pedophilia at the time was the same wrong impression most parts of society have: that pedophiles were bound to offend,” he said.

Weber got treatment at Dunkelfeld, and said he views medication like a pair of eyeglasses. “You can put [them] on to help yourself focus on things that you want to change about your life.”

To Weber, pedophilia was like being surrounded by deep water; he had to struggle to stand on his toes to avoid drowning. “I needed all my strength to cope with it and don’t drown in my own fears and self-hate,” he said. “As a result sexual impulses felt very powerful since, when you are standing on your toes, even the slightest push could throw you over.”

He took medication for about nine months. During that time when his sexual feelings were repressed, he regained a foothold on his life, he said, and found that even without medication he is able to be around children without issue. “I now know that I am in charge, and no one can make me offend other than myself,” he said.

Two years ago, David, a 22 -year-old recent college graduate from New York and a volunteer for a peer-support group including pedophiles, desperately wanted to take hormone-altering medication. “I hated myself for having feelings about children, and I just wanted to be like everyone else,” he said. “I was also going online and finding articles about how to raise libido, and doing the opposite of all of the advice I found. But I couldn’t find a therapist I felt safe coming out to.”

Since then, he said that support groups like Virtuous Pedophiles have helped him realize that being attracted to children is not something he chose, and he’s not tempted towards any illegal behaviors. “In the end, there was no need for me to go through such a treatment with dangerous side effects,” he said.

Though he never ended up trying medication, David thinks his experience with peer support reveals something important about. It can help reduce physical symptoms, but the rest—the support, the isolation, the shame—all needs to be addressed outside of just taking a pill.

“I struggled with serious depression, anxiety, and self-hatred as a teenager starting to understand that I was a pedophile,” David said. “Becoming less isolated, having people to help when I was hurting, and being able to help others in the same way is what brought me back from that.”

Hillman was a patient of Berlin’s about 25 years ago. “I was on the brink of madness from the desires and from the shame and self-hatred and loathing,” he said. “It was crushing me and I was not going to survive it.” He took hormone-reducing medication with Berlin’s help, and said that combined with therapy, it saved his life. “Since I was at that time and have always been non-offending, my anti-androgen therapy was not mandatory in any way and thus I started and stopped it several times, because of the affordability issues,” Hillman said. “But I can attest that the medication did reduce my thoughts and therefore some of my distress.”

Then he found the Virtuous Pedophiles group about one year ago, and the support he’s culled from the others there has given him a new gusto for life, without medication. “Now I am dedicated to living. And I am dedicated to making sure no one else has to waste their life just to be virtuous,” he said.

Hillman said that these narratives reveal how all pedophiles are different. “Some will benefit from meds and some will not,” he said. “Some are against medication, some are not.”

Rahm hopes to continue studying treatment options for pedophilia, in a rigorous way. In his view of a forthcoming modern pedophile treatment, each person would get an individual assessment and be offered an evidence-based treatment. It would work with helping a pedophile address both their personal feelings and concerns, and also their risk of offending.

“In my vision, some people need therapy, some need medication, some need both, and some won’t have any effect on any of these. They need something else,” Rahm said. This is nothing novel or groundbreaking, he added. “I would just like to apply modern psychiatric thinking to this group.”

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Boris Johnson plans to resign in 6 months because of lingering coronavirus health problems, according to Dominic Cummings father-in-law

  • Boris Johnson plans to resign in six months, according to the father-of-law of his chief adviser.
  • Dominic Cummings’ father-in-law Sir Humphry Wakefield reportedly said that the prime minister would quit early next year due to lingering health problems caused by the coronavirus.
  • Johnson was admitted to an intensive care unit with COVID-19 in April but returned to work just weeks later.
  • Wakefield compared Johnson’s condition to an injured horse who returns to work too soon.
  • “If you put a horse back to work when it’s injured it will never recover,” he is quoted as saying.
  • A Downing Street source described the claim he plans to stand down as “utter nonsense.”

UK prime minister Boris Johnson plans to stand down in 6 months time because of lingering health problems caused by the coronavirus, the father-in-law of his closest aide Dominic Cummings, has reportedly said.

The Times of London diary reported a conversation between Sir Humphry Wakefield, father of Cummings’ wife Mary, and Anna Silverman last week, in which he is alleged to have revealed that Johnson would resign early next year due to the lasting effects of his time in intensive care.

Silverman says she had the conversation with Wakefield when she bumped into him on a trip to Chillingham Castle in Northumberland, northeast England.

Wakefield reportedly compared Johnson’s condition to that of an injured horse who is brought back too early.

“If you put a horse back to work when it’s injured it will never recover,” the Times quotes him as saying.

However, a Downing Street source strongly denied the claim that Johnson was planning to resign in six months’ time, describing it to Business Insider as “utter nonsense.”

Prime Minister Johnson spent five days in intensive care at London’s St Thomas’ Hospital in April after catching the coronavirus. He has since revealed that doctors made “arrangements” for his death and that he was given “litres and litres of oxygen” at the height of his illness in order to keep him alive.

“It was a tough old moment, I won’t deny it. They had a strategy to deal with a ‘death of Stalin’-type scenario,” Johnson said in an interview with The Sun newspaper in May.

“I was not in particularly brilliant shape and I was aware there were contingency plans in place.”

He said: “The doctors had all sorts of arrangements for what to do if things went badly wrong.

“They gave me a face mask so I got litres and litres of oxygen and for a long time I had that and the little nose jobbie.”

There have been multiple reports in the months following his hospitalisation, that his health remains poor.

However, Downing Street has been keen to dispel any suggestions of lingering health problems, with the prime minister posing for photographs whilst doing press-ups, and photos of Johnson jogging being distributed to UK news outlets.

Johnson has been UK prime minister for just over a year after succeeding Theresa May as Conservative party leader in July last year.

He will have to stay on as prime minister for nearly another four years in order to fight the next general election, which is due to take place in May, 2024.

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DNC Illegal Immigrant: ‘I Need Health Insurance. I Deserve it, Right?’

The Democrats’ used their convention on August 19 to prod Americans to welcome ill migrants who enter the United States in search of American health care.

The video features an illegal immigrant who brought her disabled daughter into the United States for life-saving health care. Americans saved the child but cannot yet cure the spina bifida that keeps her apparently confined to a wheelchair.

Jessica Sanchez, the grown daughter, told the Democrats’ audience, “I don’t have the right ID, so I can’t get health insurance through the [Obamacare] exchange. I need health insurance. I deserve it, right?”

“Of course you do,” her mother, Sylvia, said in Spanish. “We all deserve hope, a good life, and health.”

“My mother had no choice,” said Lucy, Sylvia’s U.S.-born daughter. “There was no time to wait to save my sister. She came here looking for a miracle.”

“It breaks my heart to see how babies are separated from their families at the border,” the mother added. “That’s wrong. Those babies need to be with their families.”

“I want to go to law school,” said Jessica. “I want to help my community.”

This segment endorsing a welcome for all sick foreigners is a dramatic escalation from the Democrats’ unpopular promises to fund health care for at least 11 million resident illegal aliens, most of whom work long hours for low wages in the U.S. labor market that is flooded by illegal and legal immigrants.

The Democrats’ video extends their free-health care offer to many millions of people living outside the United States, including roughly 175 million people in Mexico and Central America.

The Democrats’ pitch to migrants is politically risky, partly because many legal-immigrant Latinos have a very ambivalent view of foreign Latinos. For example, in April, a Washington Post poll showed that Latinos were the strongest advocates for a near-total halt to legal immigration during the coronavirus epidemic and economic crash. Other polls show that white, black, and brown Americans will welcome legal migrants but also want limits to protect jobs and resources.

Any bar against foreigners getting life-saving health care is easy to write — but very painful to implement or to ensure public support. For example, foreigners can arrive as tourists, then bring their dying children to hospitals, while also offering to work low-wage jobs. Illegal immigrants get injured at construction sites, can spread epidemics, or be struck down by health problems that can be swiftly and cheaply cured by eager Americans.

But the opposite policy is also painful: Any legal approval for foreigners to use U.S. hospitals will create a global magnet for many millions of poor foreigners who are crippled or dying of cancer, heart diseases, and other ailments. For example, the 2018 caravans of Central American migrants included some who told reporters they were hoping to get treatment for cancer and heart ailments.

In practice, the U.S. quietly provides health care to at least ten million illegal migrants who are in the United States, while also erecting tough physical and legal barriers to the arrival of yet more illegal aliens. This generous healthcare policy is backed by hospital chains that gain millions of extra customers and billions in extra revenue.

President Donald Trump’s deputies also allow a modest number of foreigners to get health care after flying into the United States as tourists. The number of patients and the cost of the “Deferred Action” policy is unpublished.

In 2019, Trump’s deputies dropped a revamp of the program amid an emotional, media-magnified response by Joe Biden, hospitals, and pro-migration groups.

The Democrats used their convention to escalate the dispute.

Trump’s deputies reduce plan to curb the number of overstay illegals using US healthcare after Joe Buden accused officials of cruelly wanting to ‘unplug’ sick kids. It seems DHS/USCIS will grandfather existing patients but block future arrivals. https://t.co/snx3dTkJeD

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Whitmer signs order calling racism a public health crisis

Whitmer signs order calling racism a public health crisis

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News
Published 3:15 PM EDT Aug 5, 2020

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Wednesday an order declaring racism a public health crisis and creating the Black Leadership Advisory Council to “elevate Black voices.”

The executive directive asks the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to have all state employees undergo implicit bias training for employees and “make health equity a major goal.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the state during a speech in Lansing, Mich., Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020.
Michigan Office of the Governor via AP

People applying to the leadership council must do so by Aug. 19. 

“We must confront systemic racism head on so we can create a more equitable and just Michigan,” Whitmer said in a statement. “This is not about one party or person. I hope we can continue to work towards building a more inclusive and unbiased state that works for everyone.” 

Early in the virus’ path through Michigan, the virus has hurt the Black community more than other communities, and the trend has held true through the summer. 

African-American individuals have made up about 27% of the confirmed cases in Michigan and 39% of the deaths, despite making up 14% of the state’s population, according to state data. 

In April, Whitmer appointed the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities chaired by Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist to study the issue of racial disparity. 

While the virus has been challenging for all state residents, “they have been especially tough for Black and Brown people who for generations have battled the harms caused by a system steeped in persistent inequalities,” Gilchrist said.

“These are the same inequities that have motivated so many Americans of every background to confront the legacy of systemic racism that has been a stain on our state and nation from the beginning,” he said.

Whitmer’s Wednesday executive order would task the council with reviewing state laws that perpetuate inequities, promoting legislation seeking “to remedy structural inequities,” providing advice to community groups seeking to benefit the Black community and promoting cultural arts in the African-American community. 

The task force will consist of 16 members and will fall under the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. 

“We are blessed to have a governor who is willing to hear us, march with us and use her office to build a better, more equal world.” Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley said. 

Whitmer’s separate directive to the state health department requires it to review data and find ways to advocate for communities of color. Data on health disparities among Black people should be analyzed and made available.

The directive requires all existing state employees to complete implicit bias training and new hires to do so within 60 days. 

The department will use an Equity Impact Assessment tool to guide state officials through the potential implications their decisions may have on minorities, according to Whitmer’s office. 

The governor’s remarks come a day after the state of Michigan upped its tally of confirmed cases to 84,050 and its count of deaths related to the virus to 6,220. Hospitalizations linked to the virus have remained relatively low despite upward trends in cases since June. 

“Overall we are seeing a plateau in cases after a slight uptick in June and July,” Khaldun said. 

The Detroit, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo regions have a little more than 40 cases per million people per day, the Jackson and Upper Peninsula regions about 35 cases per million people per day and the Saginaw and Lansing regions have just under 30 cases per million people per day, the chief medical executive said.  

All of those regions, with the exception of Lansing, have seen decreasing daily case averages over the last weeks, Khaldun said. 

The Traverse City region, which recently came under stricter rules by Whitmer, is averaging about 10 cases per million people per day, she said. 

The state considers daily case incidences that rise above 20 cases per million people per day to be cause for concern, while a safer level is one that stays below 10 cases per million people per day. 

“These are all good signs and we will continue to monitor these metrics,” Khaldun said. But “these plateauing trends are not reason to let our guard down.”

eleblanc@detroitnews.com

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Phil Murphy to Slap 2.5% Tax on Health Insurance Premiums in New Jersey – Shore News Network

TRENTON, NJ – A new bill in Trenton has been passed and is headed for Governor Phil Murphy’s desk that includes a 2.5% tax on health insurance for everyone in New Jersey.  That money will be put in a health insurance affordability fund to provide health insurance for illegal aliens and to support the NJ FamilyCareAdvantage program.

The bill requires entities to pay an annual assessment that is 2.5% of the entity’s net written premiums as defined by the bill.

The bill requires the commissioner to calculate and issue to the health provider a certified assessment that is 2.5% of the entity’s net written premiums. The bill requires entities to pay the assessment issued by the commissioner to the State Treasurer no later than May 1 of each year, as prescribed by the commissioner.

The bill reads:

The bill provides that if the commissioner determines that the amount of the assessment will reduce the State’s total revenue, the commissioner may reduce the assessment. The bill establishes in the Department of the Treasury a nonlapsing revolving fund to be known as the “Health Insurance Affordability Fund.” This fund is to be the repository for all monies collected pursuant to the bill. As directed by the commissioner, in consultation with the Commissioners of the Department of Human Services and the Department of Health, the monies in the fund are to be used only for the purposes of increasing affordability in the individual market and providing greater access to health insurance to the uninsured, including minors, with a primary focus on households with an income below 400 percent of the federal poverty level, expanding eligibility, or modifying the definition of affordability in the individual market, through subsidies, reinsurance, tax policies, outreach and enrollment efforts, buy-in programs, such as the NJ FamilyCare Advantage 2 Program, or any other efforts that can increase affordability for individual policyholders or that can reduce racial disparities in coverage for the uninsured. The bill provides that a report currently required to be issued by the Commissioner of Banking and Insurance by June 1, 2022 shall also set forth the impacts of the measures taken pursuant to the bill on affordability and reductions in racial disparities in health insurance coverage, including impacts by income level, race, and immigration status. The report shall make recommendations to increase affordability and reduce the uninsured rate in New Jersey, as appropriate, based on the data available to the department. The bill also requires that the assessments collected pursuant to the bill be used only for the purposes contained in the bill, with certain provisions to ensure the assessments are used for those purposes in future fiscal years.

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FDA to Henry Ford Health: You can’t use hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19

FDA denies Henry Ford Health request to use hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 patients

Kristen Jordan Shamus
Detroit Free Press
Published 5:43 PM EDT Aug 13, 2020

Weeks after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration revoked emergency use authorization of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19, saying the drug doesn’t help coronavirus patients and has potentially dangerous side effects, Henry Ford Health System filed for permission to continue using it. 

The Detroit-based health system told the Free Press this week that it sought emergency use authorization July 6 to resume treating some COVID-19 patients with the drug, which is commonly used as an anti-malarial medication and for people with autoimmune diseases like lupus. 

The request came four days after Henry Ford published a controversial study in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases that suggested hydroxychloroquine slashed the COVID-19 death rate in half. The peer-reviewed observational study contradicted other published reports that showed the drug doesn’t help coronavirus patients and could cause heart rhythm problems in some people.

The FDA denied Henry Ford’s request this week.

More: After Fauci criticism, Henry Ford Health clams up on hydroxychloroquine study

More: Hydroxychloroquine saved coronavirus patients’ lives, Michigan study shows

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration informed us that it would not grant our request for an emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine for a segment of COVID-19 patients meeting very specific criteria,” said Dr. Adnan Munkarah, Henry Ford’s executive vice president and chief clinical officer, in a statement. 

The patients who would have received the drug would have had to meet the same criteria as those who were enrolled in Henry Ford’s initial study:

Henry Ford’s study was widely criticized because it was observational, retrospective and not randomized or controlled. Additionally, the health system used hydroxychloroquine in combination with dexamethasone, a steroid, which has been known to improve outcomes for people with COVID-19.

Hope, and conflicting research

Early in the pandemic, hydroxychloroquine looked like it could be a promising treatment for COVID-19, but use of the drug quickly became political.

A French study published March 20 suggested the drug helped people with coronavirus, reporting it “is significantly associated with viral load reduction/disappearance in patients with COVID-19.” Positive outcomes, it noted, were improved when used in combination with the antibiotic azithromycin. 

The next day, President Donald Trump tweeted that hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin “have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine.”

Encouraged by those preliminary findings, researchers around the world began to launch their own investigations of the drug, and the FDA issued an emergency use authorization March 28 to allow doctors to begin treating patients with it in hospitalized settings outside clinical trials. 

Henry Ford Health System was among many nationally and across the state to begin using hydroxychloroquine in that way. Michigan Medicine, the Detroit Medical Center and McLaren Health Care also used it.

In early April, both Michigan Medicine and Henry Ford announced they would enroll patients in studies testing the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of coronavirus. Henry Ford’s study was a retrospective analysis of 2,541 patients hospitalized between March 10 and May 2, 2020 across its six hospitals.

In the weeks that followed, more research suggested that the drug might not help coronavirus patients and could cause some harm. 

An April 23 preliminary review of 368 novel coronavirus patients at U.S. Veterans Health Administration hospitals suggested that the use of hydroxychloroquine — with or without azithromycin — did not reduce the likelihood of needing a mechanical ventilator and it may actually have made patients more likely to die.  

And a review of the initial French study found it was flawed and overstated the benefits of hydroxychloroquine treatment. The review also showed that patients who had bad outcomes after using the drug were dropped from the study, skewing the results. 

Still, Trump continued to publicly praise the drug’s effectiveness, and spoke at White House Coronavirus Task Force news conferences about how he was taking it himself with hopes it would prevent him from contracting the virus.  

With evidence mounting, the FDA issued a warning in late April, urging caution about using hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 patients. 

“Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have not been shown to be safe and effective for treating or preventing COVID-19,” it said. “They are being studied in clinical trials.”

The drugs, it warned, “can cause abnormal heart rhythms such as QT interval prolongation and a dangerously rapid heart rate called ventricular tachycardia. … Patients who also have other health issues such as heart and kidney disease are likely to be at increased risk of these heart problems when receiving these medicines.”

But the federal agency didn’t revoke emergency use authorization of hydroxychloroquine until June 15, writing: “In light of ongoing serious cardiac adverse events and other potential serious side effects, the known and potential benefits of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine no longer outweigh the known and potential risks for the authorized use.”

The World Health Organization announced June 17 that it would stop testing hydroxychloroquine in coronavirus patients through its Solidarity Trial. The National Institutes of Health halted its hydroxychloroquine study a few days later.

The FDA’s Adverse Events Reporting System logged 9,363 reports of bad reactions to hydroxychloroquine and related medications just in the first eight months of this year. Of them, 8,936 were classified as serious reactions in which 402 people died.

Comparatively, in all of 2019, there were 8,059 reports of adverse reactions to the drug, and 6,982 were considered serious; 146 people died. 

The politics of hydroxychloroquine

When Henry Ford Health System published its hydroxychloroquine study in early July showing success in the treatment of COVID-19 — cutting the mortality rate from 26% among those who did not receive the medicine to 13% among those who did — it was met with skepticism by many in the medical community.

Among the critics was Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, who called the study “flawed” in his testimony in late July at a congressional hearing on the federal government’s efforts to control the pandemic.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies before a House Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing on a national plan to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, July 31, 2020.
KEVIN DIETSCH, Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Patients in the Henry Ford study, Fauci said, were given corticosteroids, which are known to be of a benefit to people with COVID-19. And it wasn’t randomized or placebo-controlled, the gold standard for medical studies. 

Yet, Henry Ford’s hydroxychloroquine research was hailed by the president as proof that the drug he touted from the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis works. 

Trump took to Twitter on July 6 — the same day Henry Ford asked the FDA for authorization to resume using hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 patients — alleging Democrats disparaged the drug for political reasons.

The next day, Dr. Steven Kalkanis, Henry Ford Health System’s chief academic officer and senior vice president, told the Free Press that medicine shouldn’t be political. 

Dr. Steven Kalkanis, CEO of the Henry Ford Medical Group and chief of clinical academics for the Henry Ford Health System.
Henry Ford Health System

“We’re scientists, not politicians,” Kalkanis said. “We’ve never had a preconceived agenda with this study or any study regarding hydroxychloroquine. We simply wanted to use the resources and the opportunity of COVID, given that Detroit was such a hard-hit region, to find out which treatments worked and which treatment didn’t.

“So early on, we embarked on several different studies, and we wanted to let the data lead us to what is appropriate for patients. We stand behind the results of our study. We found that, you know, among 2,500 patients, the use of hydroxychloroquine cut the death rate in half.”

Last week, Henry Ford issued an open letter about its study, saying, “the political climate that has persisted has made any objective discussion about this drug impossible.”

The health system said in the letter that it will no longer comment outside the medical community on the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat novel coronavirus. 

“We are deeply saddened by this turn of events,” said the letter, signed by both Munkarah and Kalkanis.

Dr. Adnan Munkarah, Henry Ford Health System’s executive vice president and chief clinical officer.
Ray Manning/Henry Ford Health System

“Like all observational research, these studies are very difficult to analyze and can never completely account for the biases inherent in how doctors make different decisions to treat different patients. Furthermore, it is not unusual that results from such studies vary in different populations and at different times, and no one study can ever be considered all by itself.”

Trump has continued to support the use of hydroxychloroquine, saying in a July 28 White House news briefing that he believes in its benefit and that “many doctors think it is extremely successful.”

“I took it for a 14-day period, and I’m here. Right?” he said. “I’m here. I happen to think it’s — it works in the early stages. I think front-line medical people believe that, too — some, many. And so we’ll take a look at it. … It’s safe. It doesn’t cause problems. I had no problem. I had absolutely no problem, felt no different. Didn’t feel good, bad, or indifferent.”

Henry Ford is continuing with another research study of hydroxychloroquine that was announced in April in conjunction with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. Called the WHIP COVID-19 study, it’s the first large-scale U.S. study to investigate whether using the drug can prevent coronavirus among 3,000 health care workers and first responders.

“The decision does not impact the ongoing WHIP COVID-19 study, a randomized, double-blind investigation of hydroxychloroquine as a preventive treatment,” Munkarah said. 

The outcome of that research has yet to be published.

Contact Kristen Jordan Shamus: 313-222-5997 or kshamus@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @kristenshamus. 

This content was originally published here.

Our November Practice of the Month — Zammitti & Gidaly Orthodontics

mysocialpractice.com

Congratulations to our November Practice of the Month — Zammitti & Gidaly Orthodontics!

This month we’d like to spotlight an absolute social media powerhouse practice, Zammitti & Gidaly Orthodontics! They’re using social media dental marketing to reach new audiences, strengthen relationships with current patients, and stand out in their community.

They also impressed us with their phenomenal reviews presence, with over 350 positive patient reviews across Facebook and Google.

We reached out to Michelle Camp, patient care and marketing coordinator of the practice, for some insight on how social media is growing their business and what’s been working for them. Take something from what their team has learned to apply in your own social media strategy!

Ready for a quick demo of our reviews service? Fill out the form below.

Q&A With Michelle Camp, Marketing Coordinator

(Responses edited for length and clarity.)

What has been the biggest surprise of social media marketing for you?

The biggest surprise of using social media in our practice is how fun and exciting it is creating the posts. Our staff has really loved getting involved in taking pictures, sharing their fun facts or just listening to our silly post ideas. Taking pictures of the staff and patients is a fun and quick way to break up the day/week and add some excitement to our patient’s visits.

Which of your team’s social media efforts have shown to be most effective?

The social media tool or tactic that has been most successful has been our “Fun Fact Friday”–where each staff member shares a little fact about themselves that our patients may not otherwise know. People love getting to know our staff and doctors through these posts. Our patients look forward to this post in particular because it is fun to see everyone’s unique answers while also thinking about what their answer would be for each week’s fun fact.

What has been the biggest challenge of using social media in your practice?

The biggest challenge of social media marketing has been staying fresh and current. We have a large multi-doctor, multi-location practice and it can be difficult to make sure all employees/doctors/locations are included while being sure we are not posting the same thing each week. My Social Practice has helped us with this challenge by providing interesting new content ideas.

What has been the biggest benefit to your patients since you started using social media?

The number one benefit of our social media for our patients is that it helps patients to develop a more intimate relationship with our practice. With our daily posts our patients get a little glimpse behind the scenes while also getting to know our employees and doctors more. Our patients can see that we are a family that works hard while having fun too.

What has been the biggest benefit to your practice since you started using social media?

The #1 benefit social media has brought to our practice is the ability to always stay on people’s minds. Everyone is scrolling through Facebook and Instagram at some point throughout the day. When they scroll past our posts it helps people to think about us when they otherwise wouldn’t. If they are current patients it may be a reminder to tell a friend about our office. If they are not patients yet it may be that extra reminder to call our office to schedule a consultation. Social Media brings our practice into people’s homes and into their everyday conversations.

What kind of feedback have you gotten from patients about your social media?

Luckily, the feedback we have received from our patients about our social media efforts has been positive. We have had parents of patients and older patients themselves tell us how much they enjoy our posts. I personally have been able to use this feedback to get to know our patients more, asking them what they dressed up as for Halloween or what their least favorite food is.

What do you do in your office to promote your social media presence?

Right now our employees promote our social media presence in a low-key, laid-back manner. It may be as simple as mentioning a recent post or telling a patient to look for an upcoming post. Of course, taking pictures of patients and telling them to look for their photo on our social media is a great way to promote also! We don’t ever want a patient or parent to feel pressured or uncomfortable so something as simple as “check us out on Facebook/Instagram” has done the trick so far.

What advice would you have for a dental practice just starting to build their social media presence?

For a dental practice just starting out on social media I would tell them to stay true to their values and beliefs. Social media is an amazing platform that can reach a lot of people, it is important that what is being displayed on your practice’s social media is a great representation of who you are and what you believe in. Put your best qualities out there and let social media be another marketing platform that keeps you on people’s minds.

Which My Social Practice product or service has been the most help to you?

My Social Practice’s Engagement Boxes have been the biggest help for our practice. Each engagement box has included a great variety of fun and interesting tools/props/ideas to help our posts stay fun and fresh. Each engagement box has been filled with fun props along with well-made signs and ideas for each post. We have always been impressed with the content delivered within each box!

Thank you for sharing, Michelle! Your team really understands how social media grows dental practices, and we’ve loved watching your online presence grow!

Dental social media marketing is about growing practices through increasing your reach, enhancing your local reputation, and building relationships with patients and potential patients. My Social Practice has remained laser-focused on these key objectives for over a decade as we’ve built the perfect dental social media solution.

Even if you have no social media experience and no time to learn, My Social Practice can do all the heavy lifting for you—growing your practice while you focus on serving your patients.

and we’d love to show you step-by-step how we can make your practice shine online!

Ready for a quick demo of our social media service? Fill out the form below.

The post Our November Practice of the Month — Zammitti & Gidaly Orthodontics appeared first on My Social Practice – Social Media Marketing for Dental & Dental Specialty Practices.

This content was originally published here.