Wednesday, June 11, 2014

WHAT ARE THE COST IMPACTS OF CHRONIC DISEASES? LUCKY AND UNLUCKY

Mercury poisoning changes your life, your family, and your future. I was unlucky to have these genetic glitches, and a lifetime of mercury dental amalgam placed, drilled out and replaced over the years.  

I was also extremely fortunate. I finally found out why I was chronically ill for two decades, and why I had serious escalating health problems. I was fortunate to find a functional medicine specialist and a biologic dentist who could treat my condition, and had the full support of my primary care physician.  My health plan has been good, although there are elements of my treatment they do not cover. 

My dental plan has not. There is no medical necessity, no patient protection in dental plans. They denied all appeals based on medical necessity. The FDA's decision to protect the amalgam industry over patient health gives them license to cover the cheapest material which contains a known neurotoxin, and not to replace it, because the FDA says it is "safe."  Imagine if your health plan did not replace a stent that was killing you, or if schools did not provide an alternative to peanut butter sandwiches for allergic children.

The only consolation is to help others avoid this fate through building awareness, reaching consumers, moving markets, and working for policy and practice change so we catch up with other nations in patient protection for health, and helping to make chronic diseases history.

Here is a Summary of the Economic Impacts (ten years 2004-2013)

Cumulative lost family income:  Well into six figures.  

Cumulative public lost federal and state taxes:  Into six figures, plus 18 months of unemployment insurance.

Excess Family Medical and Dental Expenses:  Double FSA limits (doubled from over $5,000 per year to over $10,000 per year peak).  ACA halved the FSA limit to $2,500, while expenses continue at over $5,000/year, and still face large dental bills well in excess of insurance for several years.

Excess Health Plan Medical Expenses: Significant during chronic disease phase, on multiple medications for years. Got third opinion consults in many specialties, expensive diagnostic tests and scans, major prescription expenses, chronic disease management for fibromyalgia, breast cancer surgery and treatment 14 years ago, treatment and one surgery for bone fractures resulting from balance issues, and frequent physical therapy for physical problems. In contrast, only referral now is follow up with Allergist/Functional MD.

Excess Dental Plan Expenses: Will be maxing out and exceeding plan limits for years to come.  

Excess Costs to Health Insurance Plans, and to Accountable Care Organizations: Frequent and expensive flyer in the health care system due to chronic disease and associated conditions, with expenses skyrocketing during the acute phase. Future high expenses now averted, as is early entry into the long-term care system. 

Cost-Benefit Analysis and Risk Assessment: With funding, Hidden River can develop templates, project cost-benefit scenarios, and perform risk assessments, for a variety of stakeholders in health care, including families, employers, health plans, accountable care organizations, and governments.

Family Impacts:  Not at my best during 20+ years of marriage, and raising our son. Could not have second child. Physical limitations. Recreational limitations. Increasing work limitations. Job losses. Unemployment. Exhaustion of unemployment benefits. Growing health problems, then a year of escalating medical misery. 

Please help make this needless tragedy of chronic disease and injustice history.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

OLD HARD AND NEW FAST WAYS OF LEARNING ABOUT THE GENOME, THE TOXOME, AND HOME

I learned the old hard way (20+ years of chronic disease), then the new fast way about gene types and toxins: two years discovering biocompatibility issues in dentistry and medical devices, and immersion in the sciences and arts of investigative and scientific research. An economist and ethicist by training, with a new vocation and skill set by life's necessities and the fundamental urge to be well.

What am I learning? Health and chronic disease has a lot to do with methylation, and other basic biochemical and bioelectrical pathways essential for human life, animal life, probably plant life. We are the biome, the toxome, the home. Much as we like to think we are a higher being or species, our higher creative and economic capabilities come back to bite us when we ignore the fundamental economic, social, medical, environmental externalities at the scale of patient, profession, and  local, national and global levels.

It's all about luck in the gene pool, and in the toxins pool.Those with great genes can swill toxins and expel them with ease, and dance and compose magna opi in their 90s. Those with bad luck in methylation, detoxification, and immunological pathways can still be healthy - but only if they avoid toxins like the plague. Because they are ubiquitous, and stick with us given our genetic glitches, we begin the long slow decline, the long sunset, and the long goodbyes much too early, before our time.

But there is hope! We can now learn our gene types and our toxins, separate the bad from the bad, and strengthen the good.The body, brain and psyche has an astonishing capacity to heal itself when, like a computer or a car, we clean out bugs, reboot/reset electrical pathways and get things humming in the right direction again.

After being 25 years clinically older, I am now 25 years clinically younger. At 60, I may live to 101 like my grandmother relatively intact, instead of mid 80s with a horrible last few years like my mom. When my time comes I'd vote for a massive heart attack in my sleep or the ice floe or ocean to reenter the great sea and circle of life from which it began.

There are clinical trials underway in Sweden of a compound that boosts glutathione to help with metals toxicity because the FDA wouldn't grant orphan drug status. People travel even overseas for biologic dentistry because dental plans have no patient protection nor medical necessity rules, they are strictly commercial contracts that write their own rules. Health insurers would be so wise to cover biologic dentistry like any specialty, make referrals, and incorporate all things dental into EHRs.

Dental is the root of much inflammation and oxidative stress throughout the body and brain. Teeth are god's plan for mortality. Dental infections, and toxins - conveniently denied by the ADA and the FDA - cheat us of years of health, vitality, cognition and mobility. Dental mercury poisoning is acknowledged in many advanced countries, not in the USA. Toxins - bad for humans - are synergistic.

Biologic dentistry, functional medicine, integrative and holistic approaches are growing by leaps and bounds not just because they make people feel better, but because they work.

I am interested in partners for fascinating ventures. New interests include health innovation, apps and IT, wellness, chronic diseases, etiology, epidemiology, QR codes, old and new medicine, genomics, toxicology, pharmacology, cellular bio-chem-electrics, medical devices, FDA, Form 3500s, govt regulation of dentistry and medicine, self regulation of the professions, patents held by professional associations, conflicts between professional and commercial roles, civil rights, genetic rights (none where it counts in dentistry and not enough in medicine), constitutional law, health law, conflicts of interest among top regulators and industry, lobbying and campaign spending reports, media, censorship and journalism. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

RACHEL LOUISE CARSON: Google lets fly a Doodle true to ‘Silent Spring’ writer’s nature - May 27, 2014

My Comment on Today's 
Washington Post Article on Rachel Carson's Google Doodle




We have many scourges we have unleashed upon ourselves. We need to pick up the mantle and continue fighting not just the silent spring from pesticides, but the rising tide of chronic cognitive, immune, neurological and psychiatric diseases caused by the hidden river of toxins within us. 

The greatest scourges of our time, stealthily ravaging our bodies and minds, are mercury, mold and Lyme. They are not significantly recognized, they are not sufficiently considered and screened and tested for, and when found, they are not properly treated by the vast majority of physicians. 

Please read and share the Issue Paper: For Good Health, Integrated Care, and Making Chronic Diseases History, posted on www.hiddenriverhealthchallenge.blogspot.com. It addresses the first scourge.  

Rachel Carson was, and is my inspiration, and my muse. I organized a 1970 Earth Day cleanup in my high school, founded a local environmental organization, set up a school-based recycling center, and collected pictures for the first Dirty Dozen Campaign while a college intern at Environmental Action. 

Now we need to organize a People Day. Hidden River Health Challenge is gearing up to launch a Fishing Expedition to land the worst offenders, and celebrate the champions, of ending the scourge of dental mercury installed without our knowledge or informed written consent. Think about that. No labels No informed written consent. For a medical device. Containing a known neurotoxin. That off-gases mercury vapor with heat and abrasion, in teeth made to chew. Genetically susceptible children and adults experience great harm. It is not on our radar screen. 

The media is silent. The FDA was sued March 5th by the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology and others, and no mainstream media covered the release. Congress is silent. The Obama Administration is silent. Apparently the media and politicians are even more sensitive to toxins - the ones called money, lobbying, and spin.

NOW WE LAG NEPAL! Health experts stress Mercury-free dental fillings

Health experts stress Mercury-free dental fillings

KATHMANDU, MAY 27 - Public health experts have drawn the attention of the concerned authorities and public over the use of amalgam (mercury) in dental fillings, warning that it causes negative health effects including immunological, neurological and psychological problems among the people.
Organising a two-day national workshop on Mercury Free Dentistry that started from Monday, the Centre for Public Health and Environmental Development (CEPHED) along with Nepal Dental Association are planning to raise awareness among concerned dental institutions, professionals and people in general regarding the harmful impact of amalgam dental fillings on an individual’s health and promote mercury-free dentistry.
Even though Nepal is signatory to the Minamata Convention on Mercury, a legally binding treaty agreed by the world to prevent use of mercury containing products by 2020 to protect human lives and the environment from mercury pollution, and is working on a long-term action plan to phase out production, export and import of a range of mercury containing products and equipments such as thermometers, increasing use of mercury in dentistry is posing serious health risks to patients, says Ram Charitra Sah, Executive Director at CEPHED.
Dental amalgam, a combination of mercury with other metals like copper and silver, has been used for over 150 years for the treatment of tooth cavities and decay.
However, amid widespread health concerns on the use of amalgam fillings in dentistry, Western countries such as Austria, Canada, Denmark, Germany, and Sweden have either totally banned or discouraged mercury fillings, especially for children and pregnant women.
“We need to also work on a regulatory framework and our plan to phase out amalgam in dental fillings should be our top public health priority. Nepal should work to address the possible public health and environmental implications from the increased and continuous use of amalgam dental fillings in the dental health care system of Nepal,” Sah added.

Posted on: 2014-05-27 08:48 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

NOW WE LAG NIGERIA! Nigeria to Ban Dental Mercury

WorldStage News: Nigeria to Ban Dental Mercury


WorldStage Newsonline--
News Update (May 21, 2014 19:27:17pm)

The Federal Government of Nigeria on Wednesday announced plans to phase out the use of mercury because of its effect on the environment.

Minister of Environment, Mrs. Laurentia Mallam who spoke in Abuja at a Stakeholder Forum on Phasing Down Dental Amalgam with the theme: “Nigeria: towards a mercury free dentistry”, said mercury pollutes the environment and disrupt the ecosystem.

She also said the use of dental amalgam, a substance use in filling decayed tooth was hazardous to human health.

Mallam who was represented by the Acting Director, Pollution Control, and Environmental Health, Mr. Kasimu Bayero, said government would look for other measures that are effective, environmentally friendly, and non hazardous to human health.

She said: “The Federal Ministry of Environment has put in place measures for managing mercury issues in Nigeria among which are the phase down of dental amalgam. The 2013 Minamata Convention contains provision to address growing problems of mercury issues in dentistry such as dental amalgam.

“Mercury is one of the most poisonous elements on earth. It aggravates the environment and disrupts the ecosystem. It has significant effects on human health and the environment. The environment and health of our country remains the main concern.

The Executive Director Development and Action for Environmental Development (SRADev Nigeria), Leslie Adogame explained that mercury is a toxic substance of global concern that causes significant harm to human health, wildlife and ecosystems.

He cautioned that exposure to mercury could be harmful to pregnant women and lactating mothers who expose children to mercury during breast feeding.

Adogame said: “Parental and infant mercury exposure can cause mental retardation, cerebral palsy, deafness, and blindness. Even in low doses, mercury may affect a child’s development, delaying walking and talking and causing learning disabilities.

 “In adults, mercury poisoning can adversely affect fertility and blood pressure regulation and can cause memory loss, tremors, vision loss, and numbness of the fingers and toes. A growing body of evidence suggests that exposure to mercury may also lead to heart diseases.

“Improper disposal of these mercury wastes contaminates the environment locally, downstream and globally.”

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

PRESS RELEASE: FOR GOOD HEALTH, INTEGRATED CARE AND MAKING CHRONIC DISEASES HISTORY

For release: May 22, 2014                
         

Contact: Laura Henze Russell, Principal, Hidden River Health Challenge, 339-364-0701 laurarussell2@comcast.net
Elizabeth Brody, Chief of Staff, Sen James Timilty, 617-722-1222, elizabeth.brody@masenate.gov

                                 

Sen. Timilty Working for EHS 692: For Good Health, Analyze Dental and Health Records

Sen. James Timilty (D-Walpole) filed Senate Budget Amendment EHS 692 to ask the MA Center for Health Information and Analysis to include dental insurance records in their health insurance database analyses, which are used by the MA Health Policy Commission to look at trends in chronic diseases and health care costs. Biocompatibility problems with dental materials, and dental infections are major drivers of inflammation, the common cause of many chronic diseases.

Rep. Louis Kafka and Sen. Brian A. Joyce each filed a bill related to dental amalgam in 2013. They were sent to study by the Public Health Committee, but its co-chairs welcomed a related budget amendment. Three other New England states and CA provide some consumer information, and the FDA says state consumer labeling does not violate preemption. The label could include a bar code and a QR code so people can look up more product information on their cell phones. The bills will be refiled next year.

Many legislators thought dentists stopped using amalgam years ago, and are surprised it is still in use. Everyone has an interest in keeping people healthy. Dental plans should be cost neutral and subject to patient protection laws and medical necessity. MassHealth should cover alternatives to amalgam, as Pennsylvania has for years. Paying a little more upfront for biocompatible filling materials can forestall years of higher health care costs for genetically susceptible children and adults. There are a half dozen common gene types that do not clear mercury well, raising the risk of immune and neurological damage. There are numerous studies on higher rates of chronic diseases with amalgam, and occupational risks.

Hidden River Health Challenge is also releasing a new Issue Brief today to make the case for action, subtitled, How We Can Get Better & Lower Health Care Costs by Blending Old & New Knowledge, Ending Conflicts & Rebooting the Health Sector. It is time to catch up with the rest of the world, put patients instead of industry protectionism first, and end conflict regulation and conflict dentistry in the United States, says Laura Henze Russell, founder of Hidden River Health Challenge. 

Russell recovered from two decades of fibromyalgia and a year of escalating medical misery which turned out to be due to a genetic glitch in clearing mercury, which off-gases from dental amalgam. She delved into the subject in order to recover her health, and help protect others from her fate. It is astounding to me that we get no labels, and have no right of written informed consent, for installation of a dangerous neurotoxin that is considered a medical device by the FDA, says Russell.

Unlike the AMA which holds no patents so has no commercial and trade interests, the ADA was assigned 83 patents in the 38 years - 1976 to the present - in which the US patent office records are fully digitized, including two related to dental amalgam that expired in the mid-1990s. Patents granted to all sources on dental amalgam since 2002 are all related to mitigating its harm to the environment.

Russell sent in-depth letters with information on new peer reviewed journal articles on clinical trials showing harm from dental amalgam to boys with certain gene types to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, EOHHS, Division of Insurance, Attorney General, and the Sharon Board of Health. The Issue Brief is being shared with  the MA Legislature, Health Policy Commission, and stakeholders. The findings of amalgam safety from the Childrens Amalgam Trials have been retracted. The American Public Health Association declined in 2013 to ratify its interim policy that amalgam is safe and effective. Nigeria is the latest nation to end the use of dental mercury, announced May 21, 2014.

The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) filed a lawsuit against the FDA March 5th for failing to respond to a petition to reconsider the flawed 2009 Class II dental amalgam ruling based on numerous errors in the FDAs risk assessment after 54 months. The Administrative Procedures Act requires a response within one year.  IAOMT is one of three dental associations opposed to the continued use of dental amalgam. It supports science and trains dentists on safe removal techniques when indicated and special equipment needed beyond a dental dam to minimize patient and staff exposure to mercury vapor.

Mercury vapor from dental amalgam, mercury from fatty fish such as tuna and swordfish, from skin lightening creams, and from old medications such as mercurochrome and merthiolate are different forms of a potent neurotoxin and human exposure from all sources should be minimized.

It took Congress 14 years to pass President John F. Kennedys bill to add medical devices to the FDA. Unfortunately, Congress never instructed the FDA to require medical devices contain the kinds of patient labels, composition information, health risks, side effects, and a number to call to report adverse events that patients get for every prescription drug, and for chemicals. We get labels on our Cheerios, and labels and health warnings on toothpaste not to swallow it, but nothing on medical devices permanently installed in our teeth. It took the FDA 33 years to classify dental amalgam, and the risk classification is flawed, outdated, and out of step with much of Europe and Canada, which have warnings and consent. Four Scandinavian countries and Japan have banned its use.

There is a growing movement for funding, running and analyzing clinical trials data by gender, led by Dr. Paula Johnson of Brigham and Womens Hospital, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and other speakers at the Womens Health Summit in Boston in March. FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, who sat on Henry Scheins board for six years, disagreed, saying it would be too expensive to reanalyze old studies, and we need to move forward. Biotech and medical researchers confirm the need to add gene type and gender.

Russell is a social innovation entrepreneur, economist and ethicist concerned with health and family wellbeing, an injured patient, a mother, wife and daughter with a family tree with its share of chronic diseases. After two decades of fibromyalgia, and a year of medical hell, Laura regained her health and ability to work. She faces large dental costs and lost her appeals to a great dental plan due to the FDA ruling that amalgam is still Class II, standard of care for everyone. A former ocean lifeguard, she renewed American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor, Lifeguard, and Lifeguard Trainer certifications.

Russell founded Hidden River Health Challenge: A Social Innovation Enterprise to help people learn about the impact of genes and toxins, importance of our own health information, share and take action. Hidden River is reaching out to people, stakeholders, and candidates running for office to build support for good health, integrated whole body care, and helping make chronic diseases history.
 #    #    #

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Deborah Sampson vs. Goliath: Will Sharon Make History as First Town to Call for Surgeon General Report on Mercury Health Risks?

Article 24 is expected to come up on the second night, Tuesday May 6th, at Town Meeting at the Sharon High School Auditorium. Non-residents must request permission in advance to attend Town Meeting.
Sharon resident Laura Henze Russell filed Article 24 to raise awareness, and begin to change official government policy on dental amalgam, which is still in unrestricted use in the United States. Four Scandinavian nations and Japan ban amalgam. Canada and much of Europe have warnings and consent.

Russell is acting in the spirit of Deborah Sampson, a patriot who fought against all odds for her beliefs and for the rights of others. She is acting in the tradition of promoting an environment free of toxins for health and wellness, and lessening the burden and impact of chronic diseases. She is acting as a witness to her personal experience of illness and recovery, that of others she has met with similar experiences, and her belief, faith and knowledge from two years of in-depth research.
Russell was an ocean lifeguard in her youth. In her late 30s Russell developed fibromyalgia that restricted her physical activities. In her 40s she was treated for breast cancer and developed osteopenia that contributed to fractures of her foot, wrist and elbow. In her late 50s she developed escalating problems that specialists at leading Boston hospitals were unable to diagnose, and had to stop working.
Finally diagnosed and treated for mercury toxicity, she learned she has some common genetic glitches that increase susceptibility to heavy metals and toxins, and impact immunity. Large amalgams were drilled out with only a dental dam (inadequate protect from inhaled vapor) after she stopped breastfeeding, right before she developed fibromyalgia. Russell has experienced a remarkable recovery, and resolved to help others avoid her fate.  
James S Woods et al have published three peer reviewed studies retracting their prior findings of amalgam safety in the Children’s Amalgam Trial, finding neurobehavioral deficits in boys with certain gene types. Many studies show associations between amalgam and chronic diseases. Three dental associations – International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, International Association of Biologic Dentistry and Medicine, and Holistic Dental - are opposed to its use as mercury vapor off-gasses with heath and abrasion, harming genetically susceptible patients, dentists and staff.  They provide training in safer removal.
The FDA has a logjam on amalgam. We do not get labels, we do not get information, we do not have the basic human and medical right of informed written consent for a medical device that has a potent neurotoxin. Unlike the AMA, the ADA is also a commercial and trade association, with 83 patents in the 38 years in which the US Patent Office has fully digitized records. The ADA’s last patents on dental amalgam were filed in the mid 1970s and expired in the mid 1990s. 
During the last 12 years, the only new patents granted on dental amalgam are to help mitigate its impacts on the environment, through better wastewater separators, and for encapsulation in corpses prior to cremation to minimize release of toxic mercury vapor from crematoria, which are exempt from strict pollution controls.
Russell has provided extensive information the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Executive Office of Human Services, and the Division of Insurance which regulates dental insurance, but they can take no action as long as the FDA says it is safe. The IAOMT sued FDA March 5th for failing to respond to a petition to reconsider its Class II ruling with numerous errors in its risk assessment. States are permitted to require labels and give information for patients, as in CA, CT, ME and NH.
Rep. Kafka and Sen. Joyce filed bills on amalgam; they were sent to study. Russell shared extensive information with Rep. Kennedy, Sen. Warren and Sen. Markey. Rep. Kennedy and Sen. Markey are not on the right committees to lead. Sen. Warren's staff said they will need to see a large coalition before taking action. This is a step to raise awareness and help build momentum.
Russell founded Hidden River Health Challenge: A Social Innovation Enterprise, to help people learn about genes and toxins, and the importance of our own health information, share what we learn, and take action to help ourselves and others. Hidden River is forming a Coalition for Good Health, co-sponsored by the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology.  For information, contact Laura Henze Russell, laurarussell2@comcast.net 


Filed by Laura Henze Russell, here is Article 24: "To see if the Town will request that the Sharon Board of Selectmen write to President Obama asking him to instruct the Surgeon General of the United States to prepare a report on Dental Amalgam and Health Risks; or take any other action relative thereto." 


The Board of Selectmen voted 2-0-0 against approval. THE FINANCE COMMITTEE VOTED 8-0-1 AGAINST APPROVAL."





Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Aha! Moment: Why Houston (Boston, Washington, Congress) We Have a Huge Problem...

Medical and Dental Associations: Professional, Commercial and Trade, or Both?

 Ethical and Legal Questions

1. Is it appropriate for professional medical and dental associations to hold patents on products?
2. Should the licensing, teaching and practice of medicine and dentistry be separate from their trade and commercial interests?
3. What is the appropriate regulatory stance? What happens when conflicts of interest arise?

AMA

The American Medical Association (AMA) is concerned with the licensing, teaching, and practice of medicine. It does not hold patents on specific products.

ADA

The American Dental Association (ADA) is concerned with the licensing, teaching and practice of dentistry, and also with the trade and commercial aspects of dentistry. It was founded in 1859 to promote the use of an inexpensive restorative material at the time, dental amalgam, first introduced in the United States in the early 1830s. There have been improvements in its formulation over the years.

The ADA has been assigned 83 patents during the period of online records at the US Patent Office, 1976 to the present. Patents from 1790 through 1975 are searchable only by Issue Date, Patent Number, and Current US Classification.

The ADA’s most recent patent on dental amalgam, “Method for eliminating gamma.sub.2 phase from dental amalgam and improved dental amalgam composition” was granted in 1977, amended in 1978, and expired in the mid-1990s.  The ADA’s latest patent, granted February 25, 2014, is, “A method and apparatus for measuring the polishability of a solid material such as a dental restorative material.”

Trends in Patents on Dental Amalgam

There have been 42 patents filed with dental amalgam in the title during the period of online records at the US Patent Office, 1976 to the present. Patents from 1790 through 1975 are searchable only by Issue Date, Patent Number, and Current US Classification. Recent patents note a record of an early one filed, “Improvement in Dental Amalgams,” in 1874 by Stephen Southworth of Niagara Falls, NY.

In addition to the ADA 1977 and 1978 patents noted above, there have been additional ones granted. Of note, Japanese researchers were granted a patent in 1987, “Dental amalgam alloys containing selenium,” to counteract, “the cytotoxicity resulting from mercury eluting from the amalgam filler.”

Since 2003, the only patents that have been granted have been related to the mitigation of harm from dental amalgam to water, air, crops, fish, etc.: “Dental amalgam separator,” “Low-cost magnetically aided apparatus for separating dental amalgam from waste water,” and “System and method for reducing environmental crematorial release of mercury from mercury-containing dental amalgam, in which teeth are encapsulated to reduce mercury vapor as crematoria have weak emissions controls.


Creative Commons License This work by Laura Henze Russell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Why Dental Tourism is Booming - Journalist Resource

There are several major reasons for the growth of dental tourism within and outside the U.S.
1) We do not have integrated health and dental insurance in the U.S.  Dental insurance is strictly a business contract that has no provisions for medical necessity or patient protection.  When patients need to do thing outside the scope of the contract, even when medically necessary, it is expensive, and there is no coverage.

2) The costs of dental materials in the U.S. are much higher than the cost of those same materials overseas.  Talk with people from other countries, and you may learn they get their dental work done when visiting home, saving thousands of dollars.

3) The U.S. lags much of the advanced and some of the developing world in recognizing the health impacts and risks of dental amalgam, which off-gases mercury, for genetically susceptible children and adults.  The FDA ruled in 2009 it is only Class II with Special Controls, requiring warnings from manufacturers to dentists, but not from dentists to patients. There are no consumer labels, no patient information, and no written informed consent for installation of a medical device that contains a neurotoxin. Five advanced nations ban amalgam use, and many including Canada and much of Europe now require health warnings and informed written consent.

4) This gives dental amalgam protected status as "standard of care" even if you are in a high risk group.  This is why dental insurers can ignore, and deny, appeals based on medical necessity despite doctors letters and proof of harm such as elevated mercury levels and chronic diseases and symptoms consistent with mercury poisoning. 

5) Depending on the number of molars and bicuspids involved, patients are forced to pay five figures and cannot access the premiums they paid for decades for the additional cost of alternative filling materials, so they go overseas. It can cost as much as one or two cars, and often hits at or after the time of retirement, making it an extra unexpected whammy.

6) The ADA fights tooth and nail to defend amalgam use at all costs, and the FDA is happy to oblige.  Former Commissioner Hamburg held stock options from Henry Schein as FDA Commissioner and sat on their board for six years before taking office.  She only recused herself from the flawed 2009 ruling within the last few weeks, and Schein wrote that it was deeply indebted to her work on the FDA ruling.

7) There are three U.S.-based dental associations that train dentists in biologic, biocompatible dentistry, and attract dentists internationally: the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, the International Association of Biological Dentistry and Medicine, and the Holistic Dental Association.

8) There is also a considerable amount of dental tourism within the United States.  People drive good distances, even out of state, to find knowledgeable, expertly trained biologic dentists.  There are nearly 760 IAOMT members, about 640 in the US, 50 in Canada, and 70 from other nations. IABDM has about 210 members, and Holistic Dental Association 260. There is some overlap; so there are 1,000 biologic dentists in the U.S. or 20 per state, on average, 50 in Canada and 70 in other nations. In the nations that have banned amalgam there is less need to join such associations; Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Japan.

9) Journalists need to take a fresh look.  Resources such as the Shorenstein Center’s Journalist Resource admit that their algorithms are inadequate to give accurate, current guidance on medical topics, but they do not post a disclaimer.  The APHA rescinded its support in 2013 for an interim policy statement that declared dental amalgam a safe and effective restorative material.  I ask other journalists why they do not cover the issue and I am told that there is a long history of controversy.  There is controversy for a reason.  The job of independent media and journalists is to dive deeply into these kinds of issues, not avoid or sidestep them.

10) The IAOMT is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit filed March 5th against the FDA and HHS for failure to respond to a petition for reconsideration of its flawed 2009 Class II rule, which detailed numerous errors in the FDA’s risk assessment, and ignored the recommendations of its Scientific Advisory Panel.  The APA requires a response within one year, it has been 54 months.  The FDA’s response has been to archive all of the materials related to its 2010 Hearing on the Petition for Reconsideration and Regional Public Hearings, which had strong testimony on this, so they are hard to locate through a search.  I have the links for interested reporters.

If you want sources for in-depth reporting on this issue, additionally google and contact me.  I am working on a major piece on this and am happy to share as this topic needs the broadest national, regional and local coverage.  I'd also recommend the IAOMT website and searchable library, and the DrBicuspid website, for which it is free to register, the DAMS International Facebook page, and the website of the 2015 Documentary, You Put What In My Mouth?  Learn about the inside debates within in the industry, and listen to injured and recovered patients and dental staff, including biologic dentists themselves, not just what the ADA and FDA want you to hear.  

Where to Find a Biologic Dentist:
International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, Find a Dentist US 637, Canada 51, International 71. International Association of Biologic Dentistry and Medicine, Find a Dentist  US 212, International 1. Holistic Dental Association, Find a Dentist US 259.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Add More Protection to the Protect Bill! - March 12, 2014

My Comment on Venture Beat's blog, March 12, 2014: We Need to Return to Delivering Health Information, Anne Wojcicki

"The Protect Bill also needs... respect for biocompatibility and impact of toxins like mercury off-gassing from dental amalgam.  

Dental amalgam is scientifically and clinically proven to harm genetically susceptible children and adults who have gene types that do not clear mercury well. At least a half dozen gene glitches have been identified impair methylation (important to nerves) and detoxification (important to toxins) pathways. 

There are impacts for many of us as we age with these glitches, as our protective hormones and immune systems weaken.  The largest of these affects 20%+ of the population, 63M people.  In addition, 67M people have enough amalgams to exceed the FDA's "safe" reference dose, which doesn't take into account gene type. 

There are impacts for boys with CPOX4 from amalgam immediately - changes in kidney markers and neurobehavioral deficits.  James S. Woods, lead researcher of the initial CAT study of dental amalgam in children, retracted his findings of amalgam safety from the Children's Amalgam Trial in Portugal twice, in 2012 and 2013. Google to find the articles which the media ignored.

Animal studies show immediate distribution of mercury from installation of dental amalgam to the brains, kidneys and livers of sheep and monkeys.

The Net, Google, social media, courageous doctors, biologic dentists, scientists, Health IT, new tests, engaged people and parents and patients, and 23andMe helped save my health, my life, my family, my finances and my future after 20 years of chronic disease, and a year of serious, escalating health problems.

The FDA protects dated, dangerous products and industries over people and health. Protectionism is bad in the economy.  It is even worse in health, where the consequences are deadly, and incredibly costly to families, employers, health plans, and governments.   

The IAOMT sued the FDA March 5th for not responding to a petition for reconsideration of its flawed 2009 Class II ruling for amalgam after 54 months.  The Administration has not yet agreed to a request for a Surgeon General Report on Dental Amalgam and Mercury Health Risks.  Congress has not yet shown interest or leadership on this issue since its shining lights retired.

23andMe'ers, this is our time. Promote use and understanding of genetic information, and end genetic discrimination in medical and dental care.  Many of us require labels and protection from synergistic toxins like dental mercury which are ubiquitous and federally sanctioned, not labeled nor disclosed to us as patients or parents, and for which we do not get the basic human and medical right of written informed consent."