ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Fish Oil's Benefits Remain Elusive
Many Cancer Patients Turn to Complementary Medicine
Traditional Chinese Therapy May Help Ease Eczema
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Too Few Screened for Abdominal Aneurysm, Study Says
For All Their Plusses, Pets Pose a Risk for Falls, Too
CANCER
Yoga May Bring Calm to Breast Cancer Treatment
Gene Studies Reveal Cancer's Secrets
Vitamin E, Selenium and Soy Won't Prevent Prostate Cancer
CAREGIVING
Hospital Volume Imperfect Gauge of Cancer Surgery Outcomes
Falls Are Top Cause of Injury, Death Among Elderly
Stressed Health Care Workers Battle 'Compassion Fatigue'
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
COSMETIC
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
DIABETES
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
Diabetes Linked to Cognitive Problems
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Oregano Shown to be the Most Powerful Culinary Herb
Teens Lose More Weight Using Healthy Strategies
B Vitamins Might Lower Stroke Risk
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
City Kids Find the Breathin' Is Easier Elsewhere
Hurricane Threats: Time to Batten Down the Hatches
Artificial Light Linked to Prostate Cancer Risk
EYE CARE, VISION
Just Like Skin, Eyes Can 'Burn' in Strong Sun
Impotence Drugs Don't Harm Vision: Study
Decorative Halloween Eye Lenses May Pose Serious Risks
FITNESS
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
Swine Flu May Pose Problems for Pregnant Women
Brisk Walk Can Help Leave Common Cold Behind
Standard IQ Test May Underestimate People With Autism
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Risk Factor for Stroke More Common Among Whites
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Coconut Oil May Help Fight Childhood Pneumonia
Working Intensely Early on May Help Autistic Kids
Teens Lose More Weight Using Healthy Strategies
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
SENIORS
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Nighttime Urination Linked to Higher Death Rate Among Elderly
For Older Walkers, Faster Is Better
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Natural Oils Help Lower Body Fat For Some
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Add your Article

Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start

FRIDAY, Aug. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Using lasers to spot troubled teeth before cavities form, researchers hope to turn the dentist's drill into a relic of the 20th century.

The technology, called "Raman spectroscopy" (RS), is not brand new. In fact, scientists in other fields have long been using it to distinguish between various chemicals, based on their unique molecular fingerprints.

But this is the first time RS has been used to identify teeth in the very earliest stages of decay, the British research team said.

"The technique we are working with can tell the difference between [healthy] enamel and decaying enamel, and so in the future, if this technology is further developed, a dentist could identify early decay using it," explained study co-author Frances Downey, a graduate student with the Biomaterials, Biomimetics & Biophotonics Research Group operating out of the Dental Institute of King's College London.

Results of what Downey and her colleagues refer to as a "preliminary" effort were reported at the Microscience 2008 conference held recently in London.

The new approach to cavity prevention might be available for practical use five years down the road, Downey said. For the moment, work has been conducted solely with already extracted teeth, rather than with actual patients.

Researchers took advantage of the fact that cavities develop when the acids produced by microorganisms found in dental plaque begin to demineralise tooth enamel and produce distinct chemical changes.

By focusing RS optical fibers on individual teeth, the authors were able to track the unique light patterns that emanate from chemical compositions on either healthy or decaying enamel.

Theoretically, such a process could quickly spot tooth decay at a much earlier stage than the current screening standard, which is based on visual exams and X-rays.

The result of such early detection might be cavity prevention, not repair, the researchers said. In essence, sites of decay could be rematerialized with medicinal mouthwashes and fluoride varnishes, preventing the development of full-blown cavities and eliminating the need for dental drilling.

Study supervisor Dr. Frederic Festy said that larger studies involving patients are in the planning stages.

"However, that is not to say dentist drills would become obsolete," said Downey. She and her team noted that, in its current form, the screening procedure would be both expensive and time-consuming. "I think there will always be those of us who like our sweets a bit too much, and visit the dentist too infrequently, to keep them in business," she said.

But Charlie Brown, national counsel for Consumers for Dental Choice, based in Washington, D.C., hailed the innovation as an "excellent development."

"Anything that means that there might be fewer filling materials used in the mouth is a tremendously positive development," Brown said. "I salute any technology that will scan the mouth and prevent cavities before they occur, so we can try to have the least intervention in the mouth as possible."

-Alan Mozes

More information

There's more on dental cavities at the American Dental Association.



SOURCES: Frances Downey, Ph.D. candidate, Biomaterials, Biomimetics & Biophotonics Research Group, Dental Institute, King's College London, U.K.; Charlie Brown, national counsel, Consumers for Dental Choice, Washington, D.C.; June 2008 Microscience 2008 conference, London

Last Updated: Aug. 22, 2008

Copyright 2008 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.

More articles at www.eholistic.com