Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Drones Used to Deliver Healthcare Supplies

As most of my regular readers  know, I love drones.  I've been flying since the DIY days and some of my best relaxing moments have come as my quadracopter zips around overhead.  However, drones can be more than just high priced toys... much more.

Lots of companies are investigating where drones might fit into their business plans.  Amazon, UPS, and even Domino's Pizza are looking at adding drones to their delivery services in order to get their shipments to customers faster and easier.

Now, you can imagine my joy when I read the portion of the article below from Healthcaredive.com  It seems that drones even have use in healthcare. Here is the drone piece in full:

Unmanned aerial vehicles are a curiosity for most Americans, but in some remote parts of the world, drones are already having an impact on healthcare.

In October, drone startup Zipline, in partnership with UPS and Gavi, began delivering blood supplies to transfusion facilities in western Rwanda where barriers to land transportation can prevent blood supplies from reaching critically ill or injured patients in time to save a life.

“Because of infrastructure deficiencies like impassible or nonexistent roads and supply chain challenges, many remote health centers across the world only receive deliveries twice a year,” the company told Healthcare Dive via email. “Zipline will make it possible for these same clinics to receive deliveries twice a day.”

Each drone, or Zip, can carry 1.5 kg of blood and fly up to 150 km round trip, dropping down low to air drop the package at a designated spot, before returning to the Nest at Zipline’s distribution center within the Central African nation. The whole trip takes about 30 minutes.

To date, Zipline has made close to 100 flights in Rwanda as it works to bring the first two of 21 clinics online. “Some of those have been test flights to map out the routes to hospitals. A smaller number of those flights have been deliveries to clinics,” the company said.

The plan is to stand up five delivery sites to start and then expand one by one to serve the remaining clinics. At that point, Zipline expects to be making between 50 and 150 flights a day.

The company plans to expand the drone delivery service to the eastern half of Rwanda in early 2017, and, from there, to other countries in Africa and around the world, including the sites U.S. Federal aviation regulators have cleared Zipline to deliver blood — Smith Island, MD, and the San Juan Islands of Washington, and Nevada.

Zipline also plans to move beyond blood to deliver medications and vaccines for HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other life-threatening diseases.

Since the company partners with governments, there’s no worry about reimbursement. “We’re able to make medical deliveries for about the same cost as current modes of transportation — like motorcycles and cars — just faster and more efficiently,” Zipline representatives said. “And the economic benefits of a healthier population are immeasurable."

If you would like to read the full article that features other tech pieces coming to the healthcare sector, follow this link.

Monday, January 30, 2017

A Well Thought Out and Sneaky G-mail Phishing Scam

There currently is a serious phishing scam that is attempting to take over the G-mail accounts of those that fall prey to it.
One of the great things about online webmail services is that they can help protect users from viruses and other problems.  However, phishing attacks are different in that they send an email attachment which the users opens.  That act triggers the attack.  It uses a combination of hacking and social engineering where the affected user actually helps the hacker.

PCmag.com has a great explanation of the problem and how to avoid it.  Rather than type in the full explanation, I’ll let you follow the link over to their article and not reinvent the wheel here.

The takeaway is “be vigilant”!  Never let your guard down because that’s what the bad guys are counting on.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

NASA Simulation Demonstrates the Airflow Created by a Quadcopter Drone

I’ve been a drone pilot for the past several years.  In fact, I’ve been flying these things long enough to be able to say I was part of the hobby when a lot of it was DIY.

One of the things that has always amazed me about these devices is the amount of air they throw off.  My first drone was a hexacopter (6 blades) and the first time it took off, it left a mini crop circle in the grass of the launch area.  I’m now flying a DJI Quadcopter and even though it has 2 fewer rotors, it still throws of an amazing amount of air.

Up until now, the only way you could get an appreciation for this was to get sort of close to the copter which really isn’t the safest thing to do.  Now, thanks to NASA we can SEE exactly what is going on.
The bright minds at NASA’s Ames Research Center did a computer simulation of airflow coming from a DJI Phantom 3 quadcopter.  It shows graphically how the air interacts and moves on the props and the body of the drone.  Airflow interactions are shown an undulating lines.  Pressure changes are shown using color.  Areas of high pressure are red; low are blue.

As a diehard geek, this is one of the coolest things I’ve seen lately.

For the video above: Credits: NASA Ames Research Center/NASA Advanced Supercomputing Division/Tim Sandstrom

If you’d like to see the webpage featuring this, here is the link.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Center for Esthetic Excellence Announces 2017 NEW CLASS SCHEDULE

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The 2017 schedule for the Center for Esthetic Excellence features six new courses and nine top clinicians for an incredible year of learning, fun and comradery at the popular CEE in Chicago.

The faculty this year features three presenters new to the CEE:

  • Dr. Dipesh Parmar, 
  • Dr. Matt Costa
  • Dr. Dani√®le Larose. 

Returning faculty include:

  • Dr. Jason Smithson, 
  • Dr. Buddy Mopper, 
  • Dr. Newton Fahl, 
  • Dr. Corky Willhite, 
  • Dr. Dennis Hartlieb 
  • Dr. Brian LeSage. 

These small hands-on courses with top clinicians will take your dentistry to a new level. 

For information, contact Erika at 800-837-2321 or visit www.ceechicago.com.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Backing Up Your Data - An Article from my Technology Evangelist Column in DPR

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The huge mistake that could cripple your dental practice

Backing up your data is easy to do — but not doing it could mean the end of your practice.

When you live in a digital world, you become dependent on your technology. Think about it. Probably 10 or maybe 15 years ago having a mobile phone was a luxury or perhaps a hassle, but either way it wasn’t that important.

Nowadays you get a mile or so away from home and realize you left your phone on the kitchen table and you will turn around to go back and get it. That’s not a bad thing. At one time the “horseless carriage” was considered new technology and now we can’t get along without it.

Of course the thing that is difficult about technology is suddenly not having it. Just like turning around to go get your phone, we’ve all become so dependent on technology that when we don’t have access to it, things tend to grind to a halt.

Trust me on this one, if you are truly dependent on technology, you’ll do anything you can to avoid being without it. That’s why this month’s Technology Evangelist column will focus on backing up your data and making sure it is safe… just in case of a disaster.

For the rest of my article, here is the link to the DPR website.  

Monday, January 23, 2017

CVS Announces $100 EpiPen® Generic

Over the past few years, the U.S. has seen a dramatic increase in the cost of the EpiPen®.  For those of you unfamiliar with its usage, the EpiPen® is an auto-injector system that delivers a remeasured does of epinephrine to a patient.

Many children now suffer from unusual allergies to common substances such as peanuts.  For those unfortunate enough to have such allergies, exposure (for some even to dust from the substance) can result in a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.  Without going into all of the medical details suffice it to say that anaphylactic shock can result in the throat swelling and closing off the airway, creating an inability to breathe.  Some sufferers have died from anaphylaxis and the best way to stop the reaction is to give the patient a remeasured dose of epinephrine.  Because of the dangers of anaphylaxis, an EpiPen® has become a yearly expense for many families.  It is definitely a case of better safe than sorry.

However, over the last 6 years the price of the EpiPen® has risen 500% to $600.  Even with health insurance helping to defray some the cost, the EpiPen® can be a major expense for a family.  If health insurance is taken out of the question, it may be simply unaffordable.

In the last year, Mylan, the company that makes EpiPen® has been on the hot seat for potentially over charging and has even paid a $465 million Medicade rebate settlement.

Recently Cigna has announced they will no longer pay for the Mylan branded EpiPen® but will only pay for generics and only 50% of the price of those.

But it isn’t all bad news on the subject.  On January 12th CVS Health announced they are now carrying the generic Adrenaclick® auto-injector for a cash price of $109.99 for a two pack.  Here is some of the information from their announcement:

We recognized the urgent need for a less-expensive epinephrine auto-injector, and are proud to offer a low-cost option at all CVS Pharmacy locations. Patients can now purchase the authorized generic for Adrenaclick® at a cash price of $109.99 for a two-pack – the lowest cash price in the market. This authorized generic is a Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved device with the same active ingredient as other epinephrine auto-injector devices.

Needless to say $109.99 is a heck of a bargain compared to $600.  CVS Health has a lot of info on this program which can be accessed from this link.  

Thursday, January 19, 2017

US News & World Report Lists Dentist as #1 Career in America

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I *love* what I do for a career.  There are days when I’m walking into my office in Lee’s Summit, Missouri that I feel I need to pinch myself.  I fell in love with the idea of being a dentist at the ripe old age of 3 and consider myself incredibly lucky to have never wondered what I wanted to do when I grew up.
Now it seems that a survey by US News & World Report feels the same way I do.  The job of “dentist” is listed as the #1 job in America.
If you are interested in the field, here is a snippet from the report about the training needed:


Becoming a dentist involves a marathon of training and testing. Ideally, the pathway starts as early as high school, when you focus on Advanced Placement courses in chemistry, physics, biology and mathematics. As an undergrad, aspiring dentists will need to take a host of pre-med courses in mathematics, chemistry and biology, particularly because most dentists take the Dental Admission Test (DAT) by their junior year. Getting into dental school is competitive, and scoring well on the acceptance test is only one of the hurdles. Aspiring dentists will also need to acquire top marks in undergrad and glowing letters of recommendation to get into dental school.

Dental school itself is a rigorous mix of practical and technical training, and the time spent in a program is determined by specialty. The residency program is usually one to two years. To practice, dentists will need to obtain a state-specific license. And while practicing, each state will require dentists to keep up with changes in ethics, technology and more by taking continuing dental education courses.

If you would like to read the entire article, it can be found here.  

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Security Updates Sent to St. Jude Heart Devices After Hacking Fear

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Abbott Laboratories announced on Monday that the company is launching cyber security updates to improve the security of the St. Jude implanted cardiac devices.
According to the FDA, the devices contained “vulnerabilities” that could possibly give a hacker remote access to the devices.  There have been no reports of this happening and the updates are a precaution to protect patients.  These updates will be pushed to the devices automatically.
In late summer there were reports of potential hacks that could cause pacemakers to speed up to dangerous rates and another that could cause the batteries to drain.
Here is all the info from the FDA:

Date Issued:

January 9, 2017


  • Patients with a radio frequency (RF)-enabled St. Jude Medical implantable cardiac device and corresponding Merlin@home Transmitter
  • Caregivers of patients with an RF-enabled St. Jude Medical implantable cardiac device and corresponding Merlin@home Transmitter
  • Cardiologists, electrophysiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, and primary care physicians treating patients with heart failure or heart rhythm problems using an RF-enabled St. Jude Medical implantable cardiac device and corresponding Merlin@home Transmitter

Medical Specialties:

Cardiac Electrophysiology, Cardiology, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Heart Failure


St. Jude Medical implantable cardiac devices (pacemakers, defibrillators, and resynchronization devices) provide pacing for slow heart rhythms and electrical shock or pacing to stop dangerously fast heart rhythms. These cardiac devices are implanted under the skin in the upper chest area with connecting insulated wires called "leads" that go into the heart. A patient may need an implantable cardiac device if their heartbeat is too slow (bradycardia), too fast (tachycardia), or needs coordination to treat heart failure.

The St. Jude Medical Merlin@home Transmitter uses a home monitor that transmits and receives RF signals used to wirelessly connect to the patient's implanted cardiac device and read the data stored on the device. The transmitter, located in the patient's home, sends the patient's data to his or her physician(s) via the Merlin.net Patient Care Network using a continuous landline, cellular, or wireless ("wi-fi") Internet connection.

When connected to the Merlin.net Patient Care Network, patients can direct their data to be uploaded or it can be automatically uploaded. Uploading a patient's data to the Merlin.net Patient Care Network allows his or her physician(s) to more frequently receive, assess, and monitor the patient's implantable cardiac device's function, which supports patient safety, and may reduce the number of in-office visits a patient needs.


The FDA is providing information and recommendations regarding St. Jude Medical's radio frequency (RF)-enabled implantable cardiac devices and Merlin@home Transmitter to reduce the risk of patient harm due to cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

For the purposes of this safety communication, cybersecurity—also sometimes referred to as "information security"—focuses on protecting patients' medical devices and their associated computers, networks, programs, and data from unintended or unauthorized access, change, or destruction.

Summary of Problem and Scope:

Many medical devices—including St. Jude Medical's implantable cardiac devices—contain configurable embedded computer systems that can be vulnerable to cybersecurity intrusions and exploits. As medical devices become increasingly interconnected via the Internet, hospital networks, other medical devices, and smartphones, there is an increased risk of exploitation of cybersecurity vulnerabilities, some of which could affect how a medical device operates.

The FDA has reviewed information concerning potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities associated with St. Jude Medical's Merlin@home Transmitter and has confirmed that these vulnerabilities, if exploited, could allow an unauthorized user, i.e., someone other than the patient's physician, to remotely access a patient's RF-enabled implanted cardiac device by altering the Merlin@home Transmitter. The altered Merlin@home Transmitter could then be used to modify programming commands to the implanted device, which could result in rapid battery depletion and/or administration of inappropriate pacing or shocks.

There have been no reports of patient harm related to these cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

To improve patient safety, St. Jude Medical has developed and validated a software patch for the Merlin@home Transmitter that addresses and reduces the risk of specific cybersecurity vulnerabilities. The patch, which will be available beginning January 9, 2017, will be applied automatically to the Merlin@home Transmitter. Patients and patient caregivers only need to make sure their Merlin@home Transmitter remains plugged in and connected to the Merlin.net network to receive the patch.

The FDA has reviewed St. Jude Medical's software patch to ensure that it addresses the greatest risks posed by these cybersecurity vulnerabilities, and reduces the risk of exploitation and subsequent patient harm. The FDA conducted an assessment of the benefits and risks of using the Merlin@home Transmitter, and has determined that the health benefits to patients from continued use of the device outweigh the cybersecurity risks.

Recommendations for Health Care Providers:

  • Continue to conduct in-office follow-up, per normal routine, with patients who have an implantable cardiac device that is monitored using the Merlin@home Transmitter.
  • Remind patients to keep their Merlin@home Transmitter connected as this will ensure that patients' devices receive the necessary patches and updates.
  • Contact St. Jude Medical's Merlin@home customer service at 1-877-My-Merlin, or visit www.sjm.com/Merlindisclaimer iconfor answers to questions and additional information regarding St. Jude Medical's implantable cardiac devices, or the Merlin@home Transmitter.

Recommendations for Patients and Caregivers:

  • Follow the labeling instructions provided with your Merlin@home Transmitter. Keeping your monitor connected as directed will ensure your monitor receives necessary updates and patches. Keep in mind that although all connected medical devices, including this one, carry certain risks, the FDA has determined that the benefits to patients from continued use of the device outweigh the risks.
  • Consult with your physician(s) for routine care and follow-up. Your ongoing medical management should be individualized based on your medical history and clinical condition.
  • Visit www.sjm.com/Merlindisclaimer icon, or contact St. Jude Medical's Merlin@home customer service at 1-877-My-Merlin for additional information, or if you have any questions or issues regarding your St. Jude Medical implantable cardiac device, or your Merlin@home Transmitter.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you have symptoms of lightheadedness, dizziness, loss of consciousness, chest pain, or severe shortness of breath.

FDA Actions:

The FDA will continue to assess new information concerning the cybersecurity of St. Jude Medical's implantable cardiac devices and the Merlin@home Transmitter, and will keep the public informed if the FDA's recommendations change.

The FDA reminds patients, patient caregivers, and health care providers that any medical device connected to a communications network (e.g. wi-fi, public or home Internet) may have cybersecurity vulnerabilities that could be exploited by unauthorized users. The increased use of wireless technology and software in medical devices, however, can also often offer safer, more efficient, convenient and timely health care delivery.

The FDA will continue its work with manufacturers and health care delivery organizations—as well as security researchers and other government agencies—to develop and implement solutions to address cybersecurity issues throughout a device's total product lifecycle. The FDA takes reports of vulnerabilities in medical devices very seriously and has issued recommendations to manufacturers for continued monitoring, reporting, and remediation of medical device cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

Reporting Problems to the FDA:

Prompt reporting of adverse events can help the FDA identify and better understand the risks related to the use of medical devices. If you suspect or experience a problem with these devices, we encourage you to file a voluntary report through MedWatch, the FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting program. Health care personnel employed by facilities that are subject to the FDA's user facility reporting requirements should follow the reporting procedures established by their facilities.

Additional Resources:

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

DentalEZ® Donates Massive Amount of Equipment, Supplies to Project Chimps Organization

This is a very neat story about helping animals that truly require our help.  As a profession, we frequently have the opportunity to help people, but there are frequently limits to what we can do to help animals.  Considering that we share 98% of our DNA with chimpanzees it’s nice to see DentalEZ® doing a project like this to benefit them.  Read on for the details of how DentalEZ® is helping the Project Chimps Organization.



Contribution Will Provide Complete Dental Care Facility for 

the Organization’s New Location


Malvern, PA (January 10, 2017) – For its latest philanthropic endeavor, DentalEZ®, a supplier of integrated products and services for dental health professionals worldwide, recently donated a full shipment of dental supplies and equipment to Project Chimps, a rescue organization dedicated to the lifetime sanctuary care of hundreds of captive chimpanzees. 


Specifically, the Company donated various dental products, and operatory and utility room equipment to Project Chimps’ new northern Georgia sanctuary including NevinLabs steel cabinets, DentalEZ® delivery units and operatory lights, StarDental® handpieces, and RAMVAC vacuums and compressors. Because of the Company’s generous donation, the new dental facility will now have all components needed for complete and optimal dental care of the rescued animals. 


Peter Volk, Territory Sales Manager for DentalEZ is heading the mission along with Southern Region Manager, Chuck Seeger, and Jason Hodkowski, Senior Institutional Sales Manager. The team is currently working with the company to create the dental facility. “It is interesting because as dental professionals our focus is almost always on our human patients,” remarked Volk. “What most people don’t think about is that all of the animals that they only see on Animal Planet or at the zoo need dental care. Once in a captive environment these animals need to receive all of the preventive care that we humans are accustomed to.”


A recent transfer carried out by Project Chimps prompted the charitable donation by DentalEZ, as well as widespread national attention. Nine chimpanzees once used as research animals at the New Iberia Research Center in Louisiana were just relocated to the new Project Chimps refuge, hundreds of miles from their former home in a lab where they were used as subjects in biomedical testing. 


Workers with the non-profit organization transported all nine animals and now Project Chimps sanctuary, located in Morganton, Georgia, is their new home, a sprawling preserve where over 200 chimps will eventually roam free. The 236-acre sanctuary is located along a temperate rainforest, with rolling hills and a lush, green landscape. In addition to office buildings, a full veterinary clinic, and an upscale kitchen designed by celebrity chef Rachael Ray, there are currently four "villas" that can house 10-15 chimps each, and one larger group building that can house two groups of 10-15 chimps. 


“It’s a very rewarding feeling to know that we are providing the medical and dental equipment to chimps that, up to this point, have spent most if not all of their lives in a research laboratory,” continued Volk. “As a DentalEZ representative, it is important that we give back not only to the people in our community, but also to those that do not have a voice. It is our calling as dental professionals to make sure that everyone, both human and animal, are treated with the utmost care and respect.”


In 2015, all chimpanzees were designated an endangered species, marking the end of privately funded research on chimpanzees in the US. Chimps are considered the smartest primate and the closest relatives to humans, which is why the New Iberia Research Center in Louisiana has used 220 of them for medical testing. 


The opening of the new Project Chimps sanctuary follows a steady shift away from controversial biomedical research on chimpanzees across the country. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) began significantly phasing out its funding of federal research on chimps in 2013, and announced the retirement of its 50 remaining chimpanzees in November 2015.


NIH also ended its research support for chimps but did not own approximately 360 remaining around the US. Now the private institutions that own them, like the New Iberia Research Center, are following suit. However, due to limited space at existing sanctuaries such as Chimp Haven in Louisiana and Save the Chimps in Florida, the creation of new refuges like Project Chimps is crucial. 


For more information about Project Chimps, please visit www.projectchimps.org. 


For more information about the DentalEZ company and its complete offerings of dental product and equipment solutions, please visit www.dentalez.com.


About Project Chimps


Project Chimps was founded in late 2014 by a “super group” of chimpanzee, nonprofit, philanthropic, and legal experts to solve the critical question of what would happen to the hundreds of chimps still left in private biomedical research. Primatologists and professionals from all over the country left their current roles and signed on to work for Project Chimps, a nonprofit organization that is making unprecedented advances for captive chimpanzees. Through relationship-building, collaboration, and tenacity, Project Chimps was able to come to an agreement with the University of Louisiana’s New Iberia Research Center. They agreed to let Project Chimps have all of their remaining chimpanzees and provide them with lifetime sanctuary care. This decision is unprecedented and shows what positive collaboration can do for the betterment of others, in this case: chimpanzees. For more information, please visit www.projectchimps.org. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Despite Rumors to the Contrary, There is NO Shortage of N2O for Medical Use

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 In August of 2016, an explosion happened at a plant owned by Airgas in Cantonment, Florida.  That plant happened to be a major producer of nitrous oxide.  Almost from the moment the explosion happened (which shut down the plant) there were rumors of a nitrous oxide shortage in the U.S.

During the recent holiday season there were announcements that Rediwhip, the whipped cream in the aerosol can) would be in short supply because the product uses nitrous oxide as the propellant.  Due to the potential shortage, cans flew off the shelves (not literally).

When our office called for a tank of it to be delivered in early November, we were told this might be the last tank we would receive for a month or two due to the shortage.  We have the office completely plumbed for medical gasses, but we instituted a policy of not even turning the valve on the nitrous to the "on" position.  We were conserving as much as possible to ensure we would have an adequate supply for our patients.

Now comes word from the American Dental Association and the FDA that all is well with the supply.  One of the things I was impressed with is the FDA working to make sure that the healthcare industry is being given priority to existing supplies. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Norway is Shutting Down its FM Radio Network - The First Country to do So



At the beginning of next week, Norway will begin to shut down the FM (Frequency Modulation) radio network.  The country will transition to an all digital satellite network over the same time that FM is being shelved.

There were a couple of reasons for this.

  1. Geography:  Norway is a country of mountains and fiords.  Getting standard radio waves into incredibly high and incredibly low places can be done, but it is expensive.  Digital broadcasting or DAB as it is called, will be much more cost efficient.
  2. Cost:  Government estimates show a savings of over $23.5 million per year which radio companies can use to create new and better programs to broadcast.  Also the FM network is aging and would require a significant capital investment to keep it going .

However it’s not all flowers and candy.  Norway is a country of 5 million people and about 2 million cars there don’t have a way to receive digital signals.  However adapters can be purchased and as older vehicles are retired they will be replaced with new ones that can receive digital signals.

Personally I find this interesting news.  Change is one of the things we are guaranteed.  I’ve had satellite radio for a few years now and would never go back.  However, could FM be shut down in the US?  Norway’s effort will be followed with interest, I’m sure.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Top 10 Tech Trends that will Define 2017

Now that the New Year is upon us, it’s time to do some planning.  Actually I would hope that you did this planning in December, but hey, it’s never to late to get things in order.
Along those lines my first article in DPR this year is on the Top 10 tech trends that will define 2017”.  Here is a quick sample of the article:

As 2016 draws to a close, we’re looking back at the year, but we’re also looking forward at what’s to come. What are the top 10 trends that will define 2017? Here’s what I see making a big impact next year:

1. Digital impression CAD/CAM:

CEREC was invented in the late 1980s (how they ever managed to pull that off with the technology at the time still amazes me). The product category made baby steps of progress until the late 1990s and early 2000s when the combination of an incredible drop in computer prices and a tremendous growth of processing power coupled to drive innovation. Soon the E4D unit came along, followed by several companies with digital impression systems. Today, more than 20 percent of offices are using some type of digital acquisition technology and the number continues to grow. This is no longer a “should I buy,” but is now a “when I buy” tech.  

The complete article is available to read on the DPR website and includes a couple of video chats I did regarding some of the topics mentioned in the article.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Dentists Top the List of Health Practitioners Americans Want to See More Of

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Here is some interesting information that was discovered by Delta Dental Plans Association.  It seems that Americans would like to see a dentist more often than they currently do.
The study is full of some really interesting stats and, being a bit of a “stat hound”, I was fascinated by some of the information presented.  Here are 3 really interesting data points:
  • 79% of American adults agree there is a connection between oral health and overall health
  • Adults who are extremely satisfied with their oral health rate there overall wee-being as very good (48%), compared to those who report they are not satisfied (28%)
  • 63%feel that good oral health helps them feel confident on a daily bases, more so than having clear skin (56%) or being in shape (50%)

For more information go to PR Newswire.  

Monday, January 9, 2017

Kerr™ Partners with DRNA™ to Drive Greater Awareness of New EPA Regulations

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A couple of weeks ago I posted about how the EPA would soon be requiring Amalgam separators.  Now comes info from Kerr and DRNA (the company I use) about helping dentists to have the necessary equipment to be in compliance.  Read on for the details.  

Broader commitment to environmental responsibility underscored by dual focus on equipment and education for the dental community.


January 2, 2017 – Understanding that any successful transition requires the right equipment and the necessary education, Kerr is partnering with Dental Recycling of North America, Inc. (DRNA) to support dental practices through information, training, documentation and equipment.

RecyleAmalgamWaste.com — a new site hosted by DRNA — builds on the organization’s successful relationship with Kerr to provide resources exclusively for Kerr customers. These include:

  • A complete checklist of key points regarding compliance with the new EPA regulations, including FAQ’s
  • A list of future dates of DRNA webinars on the new EPA regulations 
  • An update on disposal and recycling policies of Evac-u-Traps™ and chairside Pinnacle™ traps, as well as the best solutions for compliance 
  • Offices can also sign up for the Free Environmental Compliance report which is sent out via email on a monthly basis


DRNA will also make available — at no cost — an eight-hour continuing education course that walks dental offices through compliance requirements. Valued at $299, “Public Health, the Environment and Dentistry: From Policy to Clinical Practice,” offers a comprehensive understanding of the EPA regulation, set to be issued in June 2016. Created by Dr. Al Frost, a dentist, epidemiologist, public health specialist and Vice President for Clinical and Scientific Affairs for DRNA, the course guides clinicians through the changing EPA landscape.  It offers a thorough understanding of topics including:

  • The impact of environment on human health;
  • Environmental policy and the rationale for regulatory development;
  • Dentistry's role in environmental public health; and
  • How to develop and implement compliance policies.


For a limited time only, DRNA will be offering Kerr customer base a free recycling unit with the purchase of a year-long service agreement. The success of this effort also requires reporting, and to that end, DRNA has agreed to offer Kerr customers help with all of the documentation they are now required to provide to the government — a major benefit to busy dentists who care about compliance with the new guidelines.

“Kerr is highly committed to the environment and pleased to support DRNA’s mission to see that the environmental aspects of amalgam are addressed in the most satisfactory manner,” said Todd Norbe, President for Kerr Corporation, North America. “Given the upcoming EPA federal rule on amalgam recycling, we are keen to do our part to educate the dental profession on the best solutions in place to address this important environmental compliance issue.”

For more information, visit www.kerrdental.com or call 877-685-1484.



About Kerr 

For nearly 125 years, Kerr has been serving the comprehensive needs of the entire dental care community in pursuit of enhancing oral health.  Individual Kerr brands are encompassed within the Kerr Restoratives, Kerr Endodontics, Kerr Rotary, and Kerr TotalCare platforms. By providing best-in-class, patient-based solutions, we believe that in partnership with those we serve - “Together we’re more.”

Visit us at www.kerrdental.com or call 800-KERR123.


About DRNA, Inc. 

DRNA is the North American leader in dental waste management and recycling. Whether amalgam waste, x-ray chemistry, lead, bio-hazardous or pharmaceutical waste, DRNA provides essential and affordable solutions for every dental office. DRNA is the number one compliance partner providing equipment, recycling, long-term documentation and education. 

For more information on DRNA please visit www.drna.com.


Thursday, January 5, 2017

Make Any Device with an Input Jack Bluetooth Compatible

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I love podcasts.  I have since they were invented all those years ago, but I’ve really gotten into them on the recommendation of my partner Dr. John Huebner.  He has eclectic tastes like mine and has recommended several podcasts that I wouldn’t have thought of before.
Of course, the joy of podcasts is they update on your phone automatically and you can play them anywhere your phone goes.  My personal preference is to listen on my office commute.  I happen to have a 2009 Tahoe that I dearly love, but the one thing it lacks is audio Bluetooth capability.  It has Bluetooth for phone calls, but I cannot play any type of audio in the vehicle over Bluetooth.
To have audio, it requires me to connect a cable from the headphone jack on my iPhone to the Audio input jack on the dashboard.  This setup works just fine, but it does require me to have a cable handy and to connect it before I can listen to anything.  A few months ago I had the Tahoe in the shop for a few days for some repairs and the dealership loaned me a 2017 Silverado.  There has been a significant amount of tech added to vehicles since my Tahoe rolled off the line and one of those features was Bluetooth audio.  I got really spoiled by stating the truck and having my iPhone automatically connect and begin playing.  It may seem like a little thing, but I loved not having to deal with the cord.
All of the above was pushing me to find a solution, but over the Christmas break, my audio cable began suffer an internal break of a wire which was causing me to have to “jiggle” the cord & get it in just the right position to provide sound.  Finally I had had enough.
My solution was the Aluratek ALS01F i-Stream Bluetooth Audio Receiver.  This nifty little device has a cord that plugs into the audio input jack on the dash of the Tahoe.  My phone connects to the receiver via Bluetooth and all the audio from the phone now becomes wireless.  It’s pretty small, being about the size of a box of matches, and has a lithium ion battery with a 12 hour life.  That means I can commute all week on a single charge.  It also comes with a USB charger cable which can power and/or charge the device simultaneously.  When I get in my vehicle I just turn on the device and it connects with my phone.  It’s a great solution to a common problem and it only costs $29.99
If you are curious on how it works and are a visual learner, here’s a diagram 
iStream Bluetooth Diagram.jpg
In my research for a solution, I also discovered that Aluratek has a variety of products which looks pretty impressive.  Check out the Aluratek website here.  

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Could BioHacking be a Part of Our Future?

For decades now, on the edge scientists and science fiction writers have envisioned a future where body parts are replaced by being regrown and then attached.

Imagine that instead of Luke Skywalker’s mechanical hand he could actually have a real human hand instead.  The possibilities for helping those injured catastrophically injured warms my heart and gets my thoughts soaring just thinking about it.

One of the biggest hurdles to cross in this science has been rejection of the new tissue by the recipient.  Animals don’t like mixing their body parts as they are frequently identified by the recipient as something foreign and the immune system sets in to reject the tissue, organ, etc.

Now comes word from a company named Spiderwort that could change all of that.  The company had the brilliant idea of using plant material instead of animal material as a lattice to grow tissue. Utilizing a CO2 incubator, the company is hoping to let anyone with the knowledge create their own body parts.

Sound interesting?  I sure was fascinated by the above video and the entire story on this I read at motherboard.com 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A Look Back at the Original Air Force One


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Recently the news has been abuzz with the discussion of President-Elect Donald Trump berating Boeing about the 4 billion dollar price tag for 2 new jets to serve as Air Force One.


A small bit of trivia here: Air Force One is the call sign of the plane ONLY when the president is on board.  That’s why there can be 2 of them  that can serve with that designation.


Anyway, Wired Magazine (one of my geek/tech favorites) has an article on what the original planes looked like complete with a visual tour.  If you’d like to actually see one of them for yourself, there is one on display at Seattle’s Museum of Flight.


The article on Wired.com is pretty interesting as is the video.  Give it a look!  

Monday, January 2, 2017

Experts Warn E-cigarette Exposure can Trigger Severe Gum Disease and Increase Risk of Oral Cancer

E-cig internal.jpg
An interesting article I saw on the Daily Mail regarding e-cigarettes.  While many are advocating for them as a safer alternative to the real thing, many experts are starting to feel otherwise:

Exposure to chemicals in e-cigarettes could trigger severe gum disease – and even increase the risk of mouth cancer, scientists have warned.

New studies have highlighted concerns over potential damage to cells in the gums from vapour released by the devices.

Tests showed substances used to flavour e-cigarettes cause inflammation and damage tissue that helps hold teeth in place.

Experts at the University of California Los Angeles found e-cigarettes contained toxic substances and nanoparticles that could kill the top layer of cells in the mouth and gums.

They warned the changes noticed in tests could increase the risk of mouth cancer if the same thing happened in e-cigarette users.

Since then, a team at Université Laval in Canada has found gum tissue cells appear to mutate when they come into contact with e-cigarette vapour.

They warn: ‘The adverse effects of e-cigarette vapour could lead to oral disease.’


Another study, at the University of Rochester in New York, found flavourings in e-cigarettes triggered inflammation and DNA damage and that ‘vaping’ – the name giving to using e-cigarettes – damaged tissue joining the teeth to the jawbone.


Researcher Dr Irfan Rahman said: ‘When the vapours from an e-cigarette are burned, it causes cells to release inflammatory proteins. This aggravates stress within cells, resulting in damage that could lead to oral diseases.’


Nearly three million people in Britain use e-cigarettes. Public Health England insists they are 95 per cent safer than tobacco.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4044776/New-e-cigarettes-alert-experts-warn-exposure-chemicals-trigger-severe-gum-disease-increase-risk-mouth-cancer.html#ixzz4TKN4oAKi 
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