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Prevent gum disease to keep lungs healthy

Maintaining periodontal health may contribute to a healthy respiratory system. The new study says that periodontal disease may increase the risk for respiratory infections, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pneumonia. These infections, which are caused when bacteria from the upper throat are inhaled into the lower respiratory tract, can be severely debilitating and are one of the leading causes of death.

The study included 200 participants between the ages of 20 and 60 with at least 20 natural teeth. Half of the participants were hospitalised patients with a respiratory disease such as pneumonia, COPD, or acute bronchitis, and the other half were healthy control subjects with no history of respiratory disease. Each participant underwent a comprehensive oral evaluation to measure periodontal health status.

The study found that patients with respiratory diseases had worse periodontal health than the control group, suggesting a relationship between respiratory disease and periodontal disease. Researchers suspect that the presence of oral pathogens associated with periodontal disease may increase a patient’s risk of developing or exacerbating respiratory disease.

Wheelchair yoga beneficial for stroke patients

A man, who was left paralysed after suffering strokes, has made remarkable progress — thanks to wheelchair yoga.

While making dinner for his daughters one night, James Abram, 59, collapsed on his kitchen floor. He was rushed to Loyola University Medical Centre where doctors determined he had suffered a stroke. He later suffered a second stroke and underwent emergency surgery to reduce life-threatening swelling in his brain.

But in the seven months since his strokes, he has made remarkable progress. He credits his recovery to the advanced, multidisciplinary treatment and rehabilitation that he received.

Abram’s recovery included wheelchair yoga, a new Loyola programme for hospitalised patients, said psychologist and certified yoga instructor Susan Walsh, who directs the programme.

Measles virus plays key role in Paget’s disease of bone

A team of researchers, led by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, have found that a gene from the measles virus plays a key role in the development of Paget’s disease of bone.

Their findings confirm a long-held speculation that the childhood infection is an environmental trigger for the disease and reveal how the viral gene contributes to the development of its characteristic bone lesions.

“Our earlier work showed that bone cells called osteoclasts in about 70 per cent of these patients contain a certain measles virus protein,” noted senior investigator, G David Roodman. “Also, when we engineered normal osteoclasts in mice to contain, or express, the measles protein, pagetic bone lesions formed.”

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