AML Healthcare to visit the BDTA Conference

The UK’s premier dental exhibition showcase will be held at the NEC between 20 and 22nd October and AML Healthcare will be there. Members of the AML Healthcare team will be visiting the show and will be delighted to meet with other delegates or exhibitors who are interested in our innovative Healthcare tax planning service.

Nine in ten European city residents inhale polluted air

In spite of huge reductions in the emissions of chemical pollutions, over ninety per cent of European city inhabitants are exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution. The New Scientist reports that the most important pollutants in Europe are known as PM2.5. Between 91 and 96 per cent of the aforementioned inhabitants are exposed to levels of PM2.5 which is higher that the European guidelines- which is not as strict as those recommended by the World Health Organisation.

This study can be directly related to an epidemiological study, published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, which suggested that air pollution harms foetuses. A higher exposure of pregnant women to PM2.5 was associated with lower birth rates, which is a measure of how well the foetus was able to grow in the womb. Naturally, healthcare professionals are concerned.

The findings strengthen the case for the EU to tighten its air quality targets to bring them into line with the WHO’s recommendations.

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Miniature brains grown in the laboratory for the first time

Traditionally scientists have relied on mouse brains to understand the human’s most complex organ. However healthcare professional Knoblich has succeeded in growing small brains, which include parts of the cortex, hippocampus and retinas.

The model has provided new insights into the way the brain develops, reports the New Scientist. For example, in order to understand why a fetal brain sometimes fails to reach full size, a condition known as microcephaly, the researchers were able to use cells derived from a person with the condition. By studying the model, the team discovered that the period of stem cell multiplication was shorter than usual – not enough stem cells were available to turn into neurons, resulting in a smaller brain overall.

Larger brains could offer insights into conditions such as schizophrenia and autism. However, whilst providing a good structural model, the brains are not able to become conscious, as activities for higher brain function cannot be reproduced.

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Should hospitals be more like supermarkets?

It has been highlighted that the NHS is too inflexible in terms of meeting patients’ demands and could learn from the way that supermarkets tailor activities to customer activity. Healthcare professional Keith Willett states that hospitals need to pay more attention to variations in what care is needed rather than trying to fit patients into a rigid system. Supermarkets use weather forecasts to predict what items shoppers will purchase and similar flexibility could ease the burden on emergency units.

Willett claims that having GPs in ambulance control rooms to provide telephone advice to paramedics could allow more patients to be treated at the scene. In addition, allowing patients to book appointments at urgent care centres would reduce the number who visit A&E, reports the Telegraph.

Seasonal variation, predictive modelling and reduction of misconceptions, such as older people falling outside – in reality they fall indoors far more often, could lead to vast improvements in hospital management.

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Healthcare study reveals sugary drinks alter the vital proteins in the brain

Sugary drinks are known to lead to weight gain, but recent studies involving rats have revealed that they can cause changes in the brain which have been linked to Alzheimer’s and cancer.

The connection between sugary drinks and cardiovascular problems, diabetes and weight gain has been well established. However, research into the brain activity is a relatively new phenomenon. The study revealed hyperactivity in rats after being given sugary drinks and healthcare professional Jane Franklin says: “Hyperactivity is a physical sign that something unusual is happening in the brain.”

The New Scientist revealed that thirty per cent of the changed proteins are linked to conditions such as cancer, Parkinson’s, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s. Whilst this study does not categorically claim that these protein changes are causing associated diseases, it is sign that the link needs to be examined more closely.

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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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