Success for dentists using text message appointment reminders

A recent development within healthcare circles is the use of text messaging to remind patients about dental appointments a day or so beforehand. There is a significantly higher success rate than telephone calls, where the wrong person may answer the phone, fail to pass on the message or staff may not be able to contact the patient at all.

Text messages have become an important alternative for many healthcare professionals. They save the administration staff time due to an automated solution which allows staff to send out the text message without having to personally key it in. In addition, the information is saved on the patient’s phone, removing any communication errors and there is no need to worry if the patient cannot answer the phone.

The benefits of text messages to healthcare professionals are evident, fewer no-shows, less effort on behalf of the office administration and a 99% open rate.

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Neuroscientists claim to know reason for phobia of dentists

Researchers in Japan have been scanning people’s brains while playing them sounds of dentists drills and suction instruments. People who were scared of visits to the dentist showed marked differences in their brain responses to those who were more relaxed at the idea of a trip to the dentist.

During the study, the dentist, Karibe, asked volunteers to complete questions relating to their fear and then categorised them into high and low fear groups. The dentist then scanned the participants’ brain in a functional magnetic resonance imaging machine while playing them a series of sounds, including dental drills and suction tools.

“All of the participants were isolated in the fMRI room when they listened to the dental sounds, so we couldn’t see if they responded visibly or audibly to the dental sounds, but we could recognise their responses from their brain activity,” Karibe said.

People in the low-fear group were not overly anxious about dental work. When they heard dental sounds, parts of the brain known as the left and right superior temporal gyri responded more than when they heard neutral sounds. This, Karibe said, means that dental sounds triggered more activity in the primary auditory areas of the brain. Anxious people responded differently. Instead of a surge of activity in the auditory areas of their brain, Karibe said he saw a more intense response in a region called the left caudate nucleus, which may play a role in learning and remembering the sounds of the dental instruments.

About 10% of the population have severe anxiety surrounding trips to the dentist and many avoid visits until they have toothache or another emergency, such as an abscess. The behaviour can lead to a negative cycle of events, with patients becoming ever more afraid because emergency treatment can be more traumatic.

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The Eight Hour sleep is a myth

A common theme today is people complaining about an interrupted sleep pattern. Roger Ekrich of Virginia Tech has done thorough research and believes that many sleeping problems are rooted in the human body’s natural preference for segmented sleep. Simply, the body likes to break the sleep cycle. Due to the nature of today’s fast paced society, including conveniences such as 24-hour stores and coffee shops, late night television and many other developments, sleep has become almost secondary to everyday life.

This theory is compounded by the high percentage of people using technology. Mobile phones, iPads and other forms of technology are affecting sleep patterns. This could be anything from stimulating the mind before sleep, or simply by glowing and flooding the room with artificial light.

There are four stages of sleep which we reportedly go through every 60-100 minutes:

  • Stage 1 is a drowsy, relaxed state between being awake and sleeping – breathing slows, muscles relax and the heart rate drops
  • Stage 2 is slightly deeper sleep – you may feel awake and this means that, on many nights, you may be asleep and not know it
  • Stage 3 and Stage 4, or Deep Sleep – it is very hard to wake up from Deep Sleep because this is when there is the lowest amount of activity in your body
  • After Deep Sleep, we go back to Stage 2 for a few minutes, and then enter Dream Sleep – also called REM sleep – which is when you dream

Therefore, it would appear than an interrupted night’s sleep isn’t that out of the ordinary!

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Win an iPad with AML Healthcare!

To be in with a chance to win a new iPad Air (16GB) you simply have to sign up to our mailing list at the Dentistry Show. We will enter your name into the prize draw, giving you the chance to own a brand new iPad Air!

AML Healthcare has a stand (H107) at The Dentistry Show in London on 28th February and 1st March.

Postcode for Sat Nav is B40 1NT, the nearest train station is Birmingham International. Registration opens from 08.30 and doors are open from 09.00. We hope to see you there!

Over 70s incorrectly believe they are too old to get breast cancer

Elderly women are no longer being screened for breast cancer and figures reveal that more than half of deaths from breast cancer are in women aged 70 and above. Despite these shocking figures, this age group is not routinely screened for cancer.

Although elderly women can still ask for a breast x-ray, many assume that they are out of danger as they are no longer contacted reminding them to book a screening.  Dr Emma Pennery, from Breast Cancer Care, said: ‘If women don’t get screening invitations dropping on their doormat, they may think they are not at risk.’ This generation of women are also less likely to check themselves for lumps and are anxious about ‘bothering’ doctors with their concerns.

The NHS is launching a campaign to increase awareness of breast cancer in older women and the national breast screening cut-off point is due to be extended to 73 by 2016. Sara Hiom, of Cancer Research UK, said: ‘The sooner breast cancer is diagnosed, the more likely treatment is to be effective and the chances of beating it are greater – whatever your age.’

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Paralysed men’s legs are revived by pioneering implant

A recent scientific development has meant that spinal cords can be reawakened by electrical implants, reviving the flow of information between brain and limbs. As a result, those who were completely paralysed can now move their legs and toes and lift up to 100 kilograms with their legs – a feat which previously seemed impossible.

The procedure involved an array of electrodes being implanted in the lumbrosacral region of the spinal cord, this is the main communication pathway between the brain and the lower limbs. Once the cord has been ‘reawakened’, it can register the intent to move and convert this at motor neurone level; in other words into a movement.

There are still limitations, such as different algorithms needed for the left and right legs. As a result only one leg can be moved at a time. An addition improvement for the men is that to varying degrees they have recovered bladder, bowel and sexual function. Continued tests on an increased number of candidates will be going ahead.

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Elvis Presley Dental Crown goes on a tour of the UK

In an attempt to raise awareness of mouth cancer, a dental crown worn by Elvis Presley is touring the UK, accompanied by Elvis impersonators. There are five letters of authenticity, from the wife and sons of the dentist and Joe Esposito (Elvis’ road manager).

Mouth cancer is a disease during which a tumour develops on the surface of the tongue, mouth, lips or gums. It can also occur in the salivary glands, tonsils and pharynx, however this is less common.

Karen Sutton, the dentist who hosted the first stop of the tour, said: “We are doing this as a way of raising awareness of mouth cancer which currently kills five people a day in the UK.”

The false tooth was bought at auction for £6,500 by a Canadian dentist named Michael Zuk, who donated the false tooth to the tour in a bid to raise awareness. He also owns one of John Lennon’s teeth.

Win a fantastic day out with AML Healthcare!

AML Healthcare will be attending COPA Practice Growth 2014 in ExCel London on Thursday 12th June 10am-6pm and Friday 13th June 10am-5pm. This event is for chiropractors, osteopaths, physiotherapists and acupuncturists.

To be in with a chance to win a day out you simply have to sign up to our mailing list at the COPA exhibition. We will enter your name into the prize draw, giving you the chance to win!

First prize is the ‘Purple Package’, offering you a choice of Rally Driving, a Champneys Top to Toe Pamper Day, a Thames Dinner Cruise for two, a Portobello Market Gastro Tour for two, Hot Air Ballooning, a Recording Studio Session, an Eagle Handling Day and Ultimate Stock Car Racing. Second prize is the ‘Orange Package’, which includes a choice of a Spa Day for two, 30 Minute Flight Simulator, a Pleasure Flight over London, a Deluxe English Vineyard Tour, an Introduction to Falconry, a Rally Thrill, Karting for two or RIB Powerboating on the Thames for two. The choice is yours!

Babies with three parents are closer to becoming legal in the UK

The UK Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) described the phenomenon of creating babies using genetic material from three people as “not unsafe”. The procedure, which is a modified form of IVF, has not yet been approved in the US or the UK, however it is becoming closer to reality.

Mitochondrial DNA is passed from mother to child in the egg, so there is concern that women may be passing on DNA that could cause incurable, life altering diseases. The process is designed to allow women with faulty mitochondrial DNA to have a genetically related child without passing problems to the child. The procedure uses a donor egg with normal mitochondrial DNA and a nucleus taken from a prospective mother’s egg, either before or after fertilisation by the partner.

It is expected that between 100 – 200 families will request treatment every year in the UK. Analysis so far has revealed that the technique is safe enough to try in clinical trials, as long as several additional experiments are carried out first and children born as a result of the technique are monitored for an extensive period. The vote which could legalise this procedure is estimated to take place in the next 18-24 months.

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New Smartglasses for surgeons make tumours glow

It could soon be possible for surgeons to identify and remove infected tissue from cancer patients, simply by looking through the lenses of Smartglasses.  A reactive agent is sprayed onto tissue which clings to cancerous cells. When these cells are viewed through the high-tech visor they appear to glow blue.

Cancer cells are notoriously difficult to see and these Smartglasses help to ensure that no stray tumour cells are left in the body after surgery.

Dr Margenthaler said that between 20 and 25 per cent of breast cancer patients who have lumps removed require a second surgery because current technology cannot adequately show the extent of the disease during the first operation.

The glasses could reduce the need for these additional procedures, as well as subsequent stress on patients, time and expense. If the Smartglasses pass the clinical trials, they could revolutionise the treatment of cancer patients.