Health Tips ... from UPI

By ALEX CUKAN, United Press International   |   March 16, 2005 at 9:00 AM
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Dallas researchers advise people to think twice about using a cotton swab to clean ears, because ears are self cleaning. "Wax is protective to the ear. It has antibiotic properties and keeps the ear moist," says Dr. Ravi N. Samy at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. "No swabs should be used because they increase the risk of eardrum perforation and infection." For relief of severe wax buildup, Samy recommends using a few drops of hydrogen peroxide to loosen the wax so that it comes out easily and can be wiped away. However, avoid placing anything, including hydrogen peroxide, in the ear of patients with either eardrum perforations or ear infections, Samy says.


A University at Buffalo study shows one common type of dental X-ray, the panoramic X-ray, could be used more selectively. "You can't assess cavities or gum disease on a panoramic X-ray," said senior author Lida Radfar. Panoramic X-rays, a wide view of the teeth, jaws and surrounding structures and tissues, is taken for an initial evaluation, followed by a series of close-up views of all sections of the teeth, called periapical X-rays. A periapical X-ray gives a close and in-depth look at a particular tooth. A "full-mouth series" consists of a group of periapical X-rays taken of all the patient's teeth. Nearly everything a dentist needs to know about a person's oral health is revealed by full-mouth periapical X-rays, Radfar told the International Association on Dental Research General Session in Baltimore.


A U.S. study finds cockroach allergen appears to worsen asthma symptoms more than either dust mite or pet allergens. The study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, also finds that most homes in northeastern cities had high levels of cockroach allergens, while those in the South and Northwest had dust mite allergen levels in ranges known to exacerbate asthma symptoms. "These data confirm that cockroach allergen is the primary contributor to childhood asthma in inner-city home environments," says National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Kenneth Olden. "However, general cleaning practices, proven extermination techniques and consistent maintenance methods can bring these allergen levels under control."


Warning signs of an ischemic stroke may be evident seven days before an attack and require urgent treatment to prevent brain damage, a U.S. study finds. Eighty percent of strokes are ischemic, caused by the narrowing of the large or small arteries of the brain, or by clots that block blood flow to the brain. They are often preceded by a transient ischemic attack, or TIA, a "warning stroke" or "mini-stroke" that have symptoms similar to a stroke. The study, in the American Academy of Neurology, found of 2,416 people who had experienced an ischemic stroke, in 549 patients TIAs were experienced prior to the ischemic stroke and in most cases occurred within the preceding seven days.


(EDITORS: For more information on EARS contact Kara Lenocker at 214-648-3404. For X-RAY, Lois Baker at 716-645-5000 ext. 1417l or For COCKROACH, John Peterson at 919-541-7860 or For STROKE, Marilee Reu at 651-695-2789 or

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