ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Know Your Asthma Triggers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture May Not Help Hot Flashes
Acupuncture May Help Restore Lost Sense of Smell
Taking the Mystery Out of Hypnotherapy
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Winter Is Tough on Feet
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
CANCER
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
Breast Self-Exam Rates Go Up With Counseling
CAREGIVING
For Dialysis Patients, More Pills = Lower Quality of Life
Hispanic Children More Likely to Have Hearing Loss
When the Caregiver Becomes the Patient
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
Grapefruit-Heavy Diet Helped Spur Dangerous Clot
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
DIABETES
Exercise Protects Black Women From Type 2 Diabetes
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Fasting on Alternate Days May Make Dieting Easier
Fatty Acid in Olive Oil Wards Off Hunger
The Best Diet? That Depends on You
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
FDA Faulted for Stance on Chemical in Plastics
Population-Based Strategy Urged to Cut U.S. Obesity Rate
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
EYE CARE, VISION
Eye Problems, Hearing Loss May Be Linked
Cases of Age-Related Farsightedness to Soar
Green Tea May Ward Off Eye Disease
FITNESS
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
Any Exercise Good After a Heart Attack
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
Afternoon Nap Might Make You Smarter
Study Supports Swine Flu's Pandemic Potential
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Cherry-Enriched Diet Cut Heart Risks in Rats
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
Years of Heavy Smoking Raises Heart Risks
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Don't Leave Your Kids In The Car !
Treat Kids to a Safe Halloween
St. John's Wort Doesn't Work for ADHD
MEN'S HEALTH
Countdown to Hair Loss
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
MENTAL HEALTH
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
Keeping a Healthy Holiday Balance
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
SENIORS
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Rapid Weight Loss in Seniors Signals Higher Dementia Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
Caffeine in Pregnancy Associated With Low Birth Weight Risk
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Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk

THURSDAY, Jan. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Treating gum disease doesn't decrease a woman's risk of preterm birth, according to a U.S. study that challenges previous research suggesting a link.

As a result of those earlier findings, insurers and health-care providers started to recommend that pregnant women undergo dental "deep cleaning" (scaling and root planing) to reduce the risk of preterm delivery.

This new study, overseen by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Dentistry, included 1,800 pregnant women with periodontal (gum) disease. The women were randomly assigned to two groups: One received periodontal treatment before 23 weeks gestation, while the other group did not receive treatment.

Overall, the two groups showed no significant differences in obstetric or neonatal outcomes. The findings were presented Thursday at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine annual meeting, in San Diego.

"The biggest implication of this study is that this level of standard periodontal care will not affect the birth outcome," Dr. Amy Murtha, director of obstetrics research at Duke University Medical Center, said in an university news release. Duke was one of the medical schools participating in the study.

"That's not to say pregnant women should not get dental exams and treatment as needed; they should. Our study emphasizes that treating periodontal disease during pregnancy is safe, but that standard periodontal care is not enough," to reduce the risk of preterm birth, said Murtha, who presented the findings at the meeting.

More research is needed to better understand the relationship between gum disease and preterm birth.

"Periodontal disease and poor pregnancy outcomes travel together, but we don't know why," Murtha said. She suggested that preterm birth and gum disease may share a common underlying trait, such as an exaggerated inflammatory response.

It's also unclear why pregnancy appears to be associated with the onset and progression (worsening) of gum disease. Progression of periodontal disease occurs in about 25 percent of pregnancies.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has more about preterm labor and birth.



-- Robert Preidt



SOURCE: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Dentistry, news release, Jan. 29, 2009

Last Updated: Jan. 29, 2009

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