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Sep 08, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- LASERS TREAT GUM DISEASE

Fifty percent of U.S. adults suffer from periodontal disease, but a new procedure using lasers is being used to treat diseased gums. Laser-assisted new attachment procedure, known as LANAP, works by using lasers to zap away diseased tissue -- but leave the healthy gum tissue behind. The lasers are used again to heat the area until a clot or scab is created, which protects the gum tissue wound by keeping it closed, according to the study in General Dentistry. "This is the first ever stand alone procedure for the laser to replace surgical methods," says study co-author Robert H. Gregg. "The data shows you can treat periodontal disease without using sutures (stitches) or amputating the gums."


A study commissioned by U.S. telephone maker Plantronics finds telephone headsets result in 25 percent less discomfort in the head and shoulders. The independent study conducted by E3 Consulting demonstrated that telephone headsets significantly contribute to a decline in back, neck and shoulder discomfort, which can translate into a reduction in sick days. Seventy-six percent of the members in the test group reported at least some decrease in the severity of neck, back and shoulder discomfort from what they had previously experienced when using the phone. In addition, the workers using the telephone headsets during the 90-day test increased their work productivity by 24 percent.


Public health experts in California are concerned residents may not be taking enough steps to protect themselves from West Nile virus. A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said the West Nile virus has moved from coast to coast and is now affecting California for the first time. "Many people don't think they're at risk because they live in areas where mosquitoes aren't normally a problem," says Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the CDC. "But if West Nile virus has been reported in your area, please take steps now to fight the bite." Gerberding recommends wearing clothing to cover legs and arms, using insect repellents that contain DEET, removing any standing water to prevent mosquito breeding, and maintaining pools.


The drug methamphetamine increases risky sexual behaviors and is contributing to the spread of HIV, hepatitis and other sexually transmitted diseases. The gay community is especially at risk from the drug, says Jalie Tucker, professor of health behavior with the University of Alabama at Birmingham's School of Public Health. An estimated 8.8 million Americans have used methamphetamine at least once, and among users the rate is twice as high among gay men, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. "The drug can impair judgment and heighten risk taking," she says. "Coupled with injection drug use, it poses a serious health risk. Stopping drug use and reducing related risky behaviors, such as needle-sharing and unsafe sex, can greatly reduce the risk of HIV exposure."


(EDITORS: For GUM DISEASE, contact Jennifer Starkey at (312) 440-4341 For HEADSETS, Rachel Shelton at (408) 571-2349, or For WEST NILE, Michael O'Rourke at (202) 628-3800. For METHAMPHETAMINE, Jalie Tucker at (205) 934-6020 or

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.


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