Today in Medicine: Cheese is good for your teeth

Go ahead, take a bite — it's good for your mouth!
Go ahead, take a bite — it’s good for your mouth!

Dairy products and tooth decay

Study subjects: 68 subjects ranging in age from 12 to 15
Results: A new study published in General Dentistry states that consuming cheese may help protect teeth against cavities. Study subjects were split into groups with each eating either cheese, milk or sugar-free yogurt. Those who ate cheese experienced an oral pH level increase, while the other two groups stayed the same. The higher the pH level, the lower the chance of developing cavities said researchers.
Significance: So what can decrease the pH level in your mouth? Diet soda, the experts say. Dairy products have been widely known as good for teeth because of the calcium content, and this shows another way dairy, specifically cheese, aids them.

Generic statin might block exercise benefit in obese

Location of study: U.S.
Study subjects: 37 previously sedentary, obese individuals ages 25-59, 18 of whom took 40 mg of simvastatin daily
Results: A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology finds that simvastatin, a generic type of statin previously sold under the brand name Zocor, hindered the positive effects of exercise in overweight and obese adults. Statins are prescribed to lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease, often in people with obesity, and are one of the most widely used drugs worldwide.
Significance: Study author John Thyfault advises that cardiologists think more carefully about providing statins given this new information.

Green teas and lead contamination

Location of study: U.S.
Study subjects: Lab study
Results: Recent tests by ConsumerLab.com, which reports on the quality of health and nutrition products, found that some brands of green tea contained significant amounts of lead in their leaves. The liquid in the actual brewed teas did not contain measurable amounts of lead (i.e., no more than 1.25 mcg per serving), but the brewed leaves had between 2 to 5 mcg of lead. Many of the teas reviewed originated in China, but lead was not found in decaffeinated green teas or in a Japanese green tea.
Significance: Researchers concluded that though the lead contamination was worrying, the fact that most of this lead stays within the leaves and doesn’t get into the tea meant poisoning was unlikely for green tea drinkers. The researchers also recommended Lipton Green Tea — it yielded the most antioxidant EGCG at the lowest cost.

Premature death among people with mental illness

Location of study: Australia
Study subjects: Retrospective analysis of population based registers
Results: A new report states that since 1985 the gap between life expectancy in patients with a mental illness and the general population has widened. The study, published today on www.bmj.com, found a higher death rate in people with mental illness, which was mostly not linked to suicide. Eighty percent of deaths were the result of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and cancer.
Significance: The study shows a correlation between mental disorders and physical illness. Researchers concluded that better general health care for mentally ill people would close the widening gap.


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