IS THERE A CONNECTION BETWEEN ORAL AND MENTAL HEALTH

Mental health is linked to oral health, and vice versa. Good oral health can enhance mental and overall health, while poor oral health can exacerbate mental issues. Likewise, mental conditions can cause oral health issues. The connection between them is direct, cyclical and, when oral health is neglected, detrimental.

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DIABETES AND YOUR TEETH

Diabetes may cause serious problems with keeping your mouth healthy and having an attractive smile. The disease causes difficulties in the mouth, and problems in the mouth may cause trouble with diabetes. With diabetes, glucose is present in the saliva. When diabetes is not controlled, increased glucose in the saliva allows harmful bacteria to grow.   Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is the most widespread chronic inflammatory condition worldwide, says Dr. Wayne Aldredge.

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SMART APPS FOR DENTAL HEALTH CARE

Oral health is often taken for granted. The mouth is a window into the health of the entire body. It can show signs of nutritional deficiencies or general infection. Systemic diseases – those that affect the entire body – may first become apparent because of mouth lesions or other oral problems.   Regardless of age, oral health is very important. Positive oral health leads to improved overall health. More Americans today are keeping their natural teeth throughout their lives.

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Last February, the FDA approved the drug Palbociclub. When used with the breast cancer drug Letrozole in trials, the combination stopped cancer progression in postmenopausal women with a treatable but incurable type of chronic breast cancer (ER-positive, HER2-negative advanced breast cancer) for an average of 20.2 months, about double the time with just Letrozole alone.


Genetics

Last May, researchers at Cambridge Research Institute found 93 genes whose mutations convert a normal breast cell into a cancer cell. They shared their findings with universities, pharmaceuticals and biotech companies to start developing new drugs. Researchers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the European Bioinformatics Institute sequenced the genomes of breast cancer genes. They found five additional genes associated with breast cancer and 13 new mutational signatures that influence tumor development. This shows new causes for cancer and explains why the disease affects certain individuals. It also allows for precision medication individualized for each patient. 


Genes also play a role in whether chemotherapy will work for a patient. Now there is a test to determine this. The Oncotype Dx test analyzes 21 genes in the tumor to see if the cancer is likely to recur and to determine whether chemotherapy will be effective. This will spare thousands of women from undergoing unnecessary chemotherapy. The findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine last September.

There are an estimated 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States, a testament to the more than 25-year decline in mortality, according to the American Cancer Society. Still, 231,000 women will be diagnosed with the disease this year, and about 40,000 will die. Fortunately, there have been some exciting breakthroughs in breast cancer detection and treatment recently.


Blood Tests

Last fall, international researchers discovered isotopes carbon-13 and nitrogen-15 in certain proportions in a tissue sample can reveal the presence of cancer. This means doctors may be able to detect breast cancer with a blood test in a few years, according to lead researcher Guilaume Tcherkez. The results were published in the journal Nature. The current “best method” of detection – mammograms – are inaccurate 16 percent of the time, which results in misdiagnoses and false positives. A breast cancer blood test is already in development in France. In the United States, gene-sequencing company Illumina is working on a liquid cancer biopsy that can detect any cancer, enabling early detection. Illumina expects the product to be on the market in three years.


Drugs

Triple-negative breast tumors are aggressive, fast-growing cancers more common in women under 40. They kill a quarter of patients within

LATEST BREAKTHROUGHS IN BREAST CANCER TREATMENT

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

more articles by Angela s. hoover

five years. The drug PIM-1 inhibitor, already in trials for fighting leukemia, attacks cancer cells resistant to chemotherapy. PIM-1 is a molecule found in leukemia patients. Scientists at King's College, London, and the Institute of Cancer Research found the PIM-1 molecule helps triple negative breast cancer cells survive by telling the cancerous cells to ignore “death signals” from toxic chemo drugs. The scientists claim giving the PIM-1 inhibitor can make cancerous cells vulnerable to chemo again. The research findings, funded by the charity Breast Cancer Now, were published in the journal Nature.


Other research found the combination of two cancer drugs, trastuzumab (Herceptic) and lapatinub (Tyverb), eliminated all signs of cancer in 11 percent of patients in 11 days. In 17 percent of the cases, the drug combination caused the tumors to shrink so significantly that chemotherapy was not warranted. The results from this combination further uncovered the role and function of the HER2 protein that halts the growth of a certain type of tumor in one out of 10 breast cancers, according to Science Daily. Better understanding of the HER2 protein revealed the RAS protein is responsible for reactivating HER2. The combination acts as a