ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
Pain-Relieving Powers of Acupuncture Unclear
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Beware of Dog Bites
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Gene Plays Key Role in Clubfoot
Study Examines How Rheumatoid Arthritis Destroys Bone
Fruits and Veggies May Strengthen Bones
CANCER
Adding Garlic Might Cut Cancer Risk
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
Meditation May Reduce Stress in Breast Cancer Patients
CAREGIVING
Stressed Health Care Workers Battle 'Compassion Fatigue'
Reduce Suffering, Urge Heart Failure Patients and Caregivers
Baby's Sleep Position May Not Affect Severity of Head Flattening
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
Grapefruit-Heavy Diet Helped Spur Dangerous Clot
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
COSMETIC
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
DENTAL, ORAL
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
DIABETES
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
Patients' Photos Help Boost Radiologists' Accuracy
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
DIET, NUTRITION
B Vitamins Might Lower Stroke Risk
Fasting on Alternate Days May Make Dieting Easier
Indian Spice May Thwart Liver Damage
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Old-Growth Forests Dying Off in U.S. West
Walkable Neighborhoods Keep the Pounds Off
Most Mt. Everest Deaths Occur Near Summit During Descent
EYE CARE, VISION
Time Teaches Brain to Recognize Objects
Blood Sugar Control Helps Diabetics Preserve Sight
Antioxidant-Rich Diet May Protect Against Eye Disease
FITNESS
Will the Wii Keep You Fit?
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Basketball Star Details His Struggle With Gout
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
GENERAL HEALTH
Coffee Cuts Liver Scarring in Hepatitis C
A Honey of a Sinusitis Treatment
Vinegar Might Help Keep Off Pounds
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Risk Factor for Stroke More Common Among Whites
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
Omega-6 Fatty Acids Can Be Good for You
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
Traffic Seems to Make Kids' Asthma Worse
Teens Lose More Weight Using Healthy Strategies
MEN'S HEALTH
Countdown to Hair Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
MENTAL HEALTH
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
SENIORS
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Soy May Not Lead to Denser Breasts
Natural Oils Help Lower Body Fat For Some
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
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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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