ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture Eases Breast Cancer Treatment Side Effects
Awareness of Alternative Therapies May Be Lacking
Acupuncture May Trigger Natural Painkiller
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Get in Step With Summer Foot Care
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Majority of College Students Report Backpack-Related Pain
CANCER
Omega-3 May Safely Treat Precancerous Bowel Polyps
U.S. Reported 25,000 Cases of HPV-Related Cancers Annually
Selenium, Omega-3s May Stave Off Colorectal Cancer
CAREGIVING
Simpler Sleep Apnea Treatment Seems Effective, Affordable
Baby's Sleep Position May Not Affect Severity of Head Flattening
Omega-3 Fatty Acid May Help 'Preemie' Girls' Brains
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
DENTAL, ORAL
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
DIABETES
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
Diabetes Linked to Cognitive Problems
DIET, NUTRITION
Licorice May Block Absorption of Organ Transplant Drug
Fatty Acid in Olive Oil Wards Off Hunger
Eating Healthy : You Can Live Longer
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
Most Mt. Everest Deaths Occur Near Summit During Descent
EYE CARE, VISION
It's a Whole New Outlook for Cataract Patients
Magnetic Pulses to Brain Improve Lazy Eye in Adults
Ordinary Chores Cause Half of All Eye Injuries
FITNESS
Marathoners Go the Distance on Heart Health
Fall Cleanup Is a Prime Time for Accidents
Almost Two-Thirds of Americans Meet Exercise Guidelines
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
GENERAL HEALTH
Showerheads Harbor a Bounty of Germs
Toxins May Form When Skin, Indoor Ozone Meet
Spread of Swine Flu in Japan Could Raise WHO Alert to Highest Level
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Omega-3, Some Omega-6 Fatty Acids Boost Cardiovascular Health
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Years of Heavy Smoking Raises Heart Risks
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma
Combo Treatment Eases Wheezing in Babies
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
MEN'S HEALTH
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
MENTAL HEALTH
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
SENIORS
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Caffeine in Pregnancy Associated With Low Birth Weight Risk
Natural Therapies for Menopause
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
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Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel

TUESDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- A gene that plays a role in immune function and the development of skin and the nervous system also controls the production of tooth enamel, Oregon State University researchers have found.

Their discovery about the gene Ctip2 (a transcription factor) could lead to new methods of repairing damaged enamel and preventing cavities, restoring teeth or even producing replacement teeth.

"It's not unusual for a gene to have multiple functions, but before this, we didn't know what regulated the production of tooth enamel," Chrissa Kioussi, an assistant professor in the college of pharmacy at Oregon State, said in a university news release. "This is the first transcription factor ever found to control the formation and maturation of ameloblasts, which are the cells that secrete enamel."

Kioussi and her colleagues studied baby mice in which the Ctip2 gene had been "knocked out" and its protein was missing. The mice had rudimentary teeth ready to erupt, but the teeth lacked the proper enamel coating and would never have been functional.

The findings appear in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Using this new information about Ctip2, it might be possible to use tooth stem cells to stimulate the growth of new teeth, Kioussi said. She noted that some researchers have successfully grown the inner portions of teeth in laboratory animal experiments, but the teeth had no hard coatings because the scientists didn't know which gene controlled enamel growth.

"A lot of work would still be needed to bring this to human applications, but it should work," Kioussi said. "It could be really cool -- a whole new approach to dental health."

Many people have problems with eroded tooth enamel, and most cavities start as a hole in tooth enamel that allows decay to begin.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about oral health.



-- Robert Preidt



SOURCE: Oregon State University, news release, Feb. 23, 2009

Last Updated: Feb. 24, 2009

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