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How Smoking Primes the Mouth for Disease, & Other News of Note

Posted Feb 17 2012 9:16am

In the Mouth, Smoking Zaps Healthy Bacteria, Welcomes Pathogens (MedicalXpress)

Despite the daily disturbance of brushing and flossing, the mouth of a healthy person contains a stable ecosystem of healthy bacteria. New research shows that the mouth of a smoker is a much more chaotic, diverse ecosystem — and is much more susceptible to invasion by harmful bacteria.

As a group, smokers suffer from higher rates of oral diseases – especially gum disease – than do nonsmokers, which is a challenge for dentists, according to PurnimaKumar, assistant professor of periodontology at Ohio State University. She and her colleagues are involved in a multi-study investigation of the role the body’s microbial communities play in preventing oral disease.

“The smoker’s mouth kicks out the good bacteria, and the pathogens are called in,” said Kumar. “So they’re allowed to proliferate much more quickly than they would in a non-smoking environment”… MORE

Sitting Is Still a Top Killer (Wellness Resources)

A number of reports in recent years show that sitting too much each day is a true killer. The latest one is published this month in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. It says that if you are over 50 and you sit watching TV for seven hours per day, your risk of death goes up significantly due to inactivity… MORE

Dry Cleaning Solvent Is a Likely Carcinogen, EPA Concludes in First Update Since 1988 (Bloomberg BNA)

The Environmental Protection Agency formally concluded Feb. 10 that a widely used dry cleaning solvent is a likely human carcinogen, paving the way for the agency to reconsider drinking water and other standards for the chemical.

The agency released its final assessment of perchloroethylene, or perc (CAS No. 127-18-4). That assessment had not been updated since 1988.

The agency’s decision to classify perc as a likely human carcinogen is consistent with its finding in 2008, when it released a draft assessment of perchloroethylene (32 CRR 641, 6/30/08)

The National Academies also supported that classification in a 2010 report… MORE

A Measure of Titanium Dioxide (Chemical & Engineering News)

Used mainly as a whitening agent, titanium dioxide is a common additive in foods, paints, and personal care products. But scientists know little about how much TiO2 appears in these products, and that lack of data hinders studies of the chemical’s potential health effects. Now researchers have conducted the first analytical study of TiO2 in U.S. commercial goods, finding some products that contained almost 10% titanium by weight (Environ. Sci. Technol., DOI: 10.1021/es204168d).

* * *

Among the 89 food products tested, white candies and other white-colored sweets, such as doughnuts, had the highest titanium levels, up to 340 mg per serving. Based on data on the consumption of such sweets from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey in the U.K., the researchers concluded that children consume two to four times as much titanium as adults do… MORE

Air Pollution Raises Risk of Stroke & Cognitive Decline (News Medical)

According to data from two studies published in the Archives of Internal Medicine exposure to air pollution may have serious cognitive and cardiovascular health consequences, even at levels currently deemed acceptable by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Gregory Wellenius, of Brown University in Providence, R.I., and colleagues found that short-term exposure to fine particulate matter at levels the EPA considers safe can increase the risk for ischemic stroke. In the other study, Jennifer Weuve, of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, and colleagues found that long-term exposure to fine particulate matter was associated with significantly expedited cognitive decline among older women… MORE

Sleeplessness Agitates the Brain (Science News)

Sleep deprivation makes the brain groggy, but as waking hours mount nerve cells grow increasingly jumpy, a new study shows.

This amped-up state may explain why seizures and hallucinations can accompany an all-nighter. More generally, the results help clarify what goes wrong in a brain deprived of shut-eye.

“It’s an important finding,” says neuroscientist Christopher Colwell of UCLA. “Sleep deprivation is an area of huge interest because most of us do not get enough sleep”… MORE


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