Med minutes

Medical Minutes with John Schieszer

Minimising Dental Pain… and Treating Diabetes

 Laser Zaps Gum Disease
Dentistry is getting a little bit less invasive and less painful. Dentists are now armed with a minimally invasive laser, a tiny laser fibre about the thickness of three human hairs, to treat gum disease. The laser helps regenerate bone and tissue. It eliminates the traditional treatment of periodontal surgery, a highly invasive and often painful procedure.This less invasive technique means minimal post-operative discomfort requiring no opioid prescriptions and faster recovery and healing time.

Dentists firing up their lasers for this treatment report that most patients are able to drive themselves home and return to their regular daily activities immediately following the procedure.The LANAP protocol, using the PerioLase MVP-7, was developed by Milllennium Dental Technologies. It is the only laser-based gum disease treatment with the proven ability to regenerate all three periodontal tissues, according to the company: alveolar bone, periodontal ligament and cementum lost to disease. They report that more than 2,200 dentists are now offering this preferred treatment to their patients.

Most people avoid the dentist because of the fear of pain, but this new laser may help change that. Dr. Gary Jacky, who runs a large dental practice, said lasers are helping change dentistry for the better. He purchased a Solea CO2 laser and was one of 400 dentists in the world who owned one when he bought it this past summer. “They are becoming popular fast. It is for hard and soft tissue and so far it is going great. Most procedures can be done without anaesthesia. The soft tissue healing is much better and cleaner than other methods,” Dr. Jacky. “We do sometimes use a different laser for cleanings that are more extensive.”

Coffee May Help Combat Diabetes
In recent years, researchers have identified substances in coffee that could help quash the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Now, scientists report that a previously untested compound in coffee appears to improve cell function and insulin sensitivity in laboratory mice.

The finding could spur the development of new drugs to treat or even prevent diabetes.Some studies suggest that drinking three to four cups of coffee a day can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Initially, scientists suspected that caffeine was responsible for this effect. But later findings discounted this possibility, suggesting that other substances in coffee may have a more important role.In a previous laboratory study, Fredrik Brustad Mellbye, Søren Gregersen and colleagues found that a compound in coffee called cafestol increased insulin secretion in pancreatic cells when they were exposed to glucose.

Cafestol also increased glucose uptake in muscle cells just as effectively as a commonly prescribed diabetes medicine. In a new study published in the Journal of Natural Products, researchers wanted to see if cafestol would help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes in mice.The researchers divided mice that are prone to develop type 2 diabetes into three groups.

Two of the groups were fed differing doses of cafestol. After 10 weeks, both sets of cafestol-fed mice had lower blood glucose levels and improved insulin secretory capacity compared to a control group, which was not given the compound. The researchers concluded that daily consumption of cafestol can delay the onset of type 2 diabetes and that it is a good candidate for drug development to treat or prevent the disease in humans.John Schieszer is an award-winning national journalist and radio and podcast broadcaster of The Medical Minute.  He can be reached at

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