ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Insight on Herbals Eludes Doctors, Patients Alike
Taking the Mystery Out of Hypnotherapy
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
More Faces Being Spared in Motor Vehicle Accidents
Scientists ID New Genes Tied to Crohn's Disease
CANCER
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Vitamin C Shows Promise as Cancer Treatment
Some Spices Cut Cancer Risk That Comes With Grilled Burgers
CAREGIVING
Injected Medication Errors a Major Problem
ER Less Likely to Diagnose Stroke in Younger Folks
More Than 60,000 Patients Risked Hepatitis Infections
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
DENTAL, ORAL
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
DIABETES
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
DIET, NUTRITION
Eat Up, But Eat Healthy This Holiday Season
5 Reasons why you could gain weight while dieting
Mediterranean Diet May Help Prevent Depression
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Cleaning House May Be Risky for Women With Asthma
Radiation Exposure Linked to Aggressive Thyroid Cancers
Hurricane Threats: Time to Batten Down the Hatches
EYE CARE, VISION
Brain Pressure More Likely to Cause Vision Loss in Men
Music Can Help Restore Stroke Patients' Sight
Thyroid Problems Boost Glaucoma Risk
FITNESS
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Exercise Guards White Blood Cells Against Aging
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Household Insecticides May Be Linked to Autoimmune Diseases
Eating Lots Of Vegetables, Olive Oil May Extend Life
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Kids With Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Trouble
Chinese Red Yeast Rice May Prevent Heart Attack
B-Vitamins Help Protect Against Stroke, Heart Disease
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
Teen Stress May Have Roots in First Three Years of Life
Standard IQ Test May Underestimate People With Autism
MEN'S HEALTH
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Worries About Weight Are Tied to Teen Suicide Tries
Have a Goal in Life? You Might Live Longer
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
SENIORS
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
Life Expectancy in U.S. Hits New High
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Natural Oils Help Lower Body Fat For Some
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
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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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