Thursday, January 13, 2011

Feds propose decrease of fluoride in water

The addition of fluoride to drinking water has been considered one of the great public health advancements of the 20th century. But with fluoride now in nearly every over-the-counter product related to oral hygiene, the US Department of Health and Human Services is now calling for a reduction in fluoride levels in drinking water. The reason? We're now getting too much fluoride, and that's leading to splotches on the teeth of children and other possible health problems.

The splotches, known as fluorosis, appear to be common among adolescents, and the condition has increased among them since the 1980s. Approximately 40 percent of children between the ages of 12 and 15 have it. Fluorosis, which causes slight pitting in the teeth, is a cosmetic condition that's usually only noticed by dentists. But the feds aren't calling for reduction in fluoride levels solely because of splotchy teeth.

Two new reviews of fluoride by the EPA yesterday link high intakes of fluoride over time to brittle bones, fractures and bone abnormalities. the new proposal from HHS calls for fluroide levels to be at 0.7 parts per million. Currently it can be anywhere from 0.7 to 1.2 parts per million, depending on climate. Maybe for those who still consider fluoridation of water a Communist plot, it will also lead to a return of their essence.


How high-pitched music could cure tinnitus by 're-booting' the brain

Colour me skeptical. I think the problem is entirely located in the inner ear

Scientists may have developed a cure for tinnitus, the persistent ringing in the ears that blights the lives of hundreds of thousands of Britons. In tests, researchers were able to stop the irritating noises by stimulating a nerve in the neck while playing a high-pitched tone into the ears.

The technique – which ‘reboots’ the brain – has been successfully tested on rats. Clinical trials on humans are due to start in the next few months.

Around one in ten adults in the UK suffers from permanent tinnitus and around 600,000 have it badly enough to affect their quality of life. It can affect one or both ears and is usually described as a ringing noise, although it can also take the form of high pitched whines, rattling, low beeps or a rushing sound.

Tinnitus is often triggered by exposure to loud noise, which destroys cells in the inner ear that transmit sound signals to the brain.

Scientists believe the brain tries to compensate for the missing signals, leading to phantom sounds. Other causes of tinnitus include injury and normal ageing.

The American researchers carried out experiments on tinnitus-affected rats designed to trigger changes in the ‘auditory cortex’ – the part of the brain that responds to sound.

By electrically stimulating the vagus nerve – a large nerve running from the head and neck to the abdomen – with a small electrode at the same time as playing a high-pitched sound, they banished tinnitus from the rats.

Treated rats showed responses that indicated the ringing in their ears had stopped, the journal Nature reported yesterday. Animals that did not receive the therapy continued to display signs of tinnitus.

Study leader Dr Michael Kilgard, from the University of Texas at Dallas, said: ‘The key is that, unlike previous treatments, we’re not masking tinnitus, we’re not hiding the tinnitus.

We are retuning the brain from a state where it generates tinnitus to a state that does not generate tinnitus. We are eliminating the source of the tinnitus.’

When the vagus nerve is stimulated it releases chemicals that can alter brain circuitry. Patients taking part in the human trial in Europe will undergo vagus nerve stimulation paired with sounds at daily treatment sessions over several weeks.

The stimulation will be delivered by a wireless electrode surgically attached to the left vagus nerve. The device was developed by MicroTransponder, a U.S. biotech firm.


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