Many of us take our smiles for granted. Mary Otto, author of Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality and the Struggle for Oral Health in America, claims that ⅓ of low-income Americans refuse to smile because they are embarrassed by their teeth. Our teeth, whether we realize it or not, have become symbols of status. Have you ever looked at a photo of a celebrity and admired their teeth? Beautiful, white, straight teeth definitely come with a cost, and many underprivileged people find it too expensive.
Dr. Cheryl Watson-Lowry, an inner-city Chicago dentist, says that because people do not have proper dental care, they let their dental problems escalate to the point of sending themselves to the Emergency Room. A study in 2012 found that people went to the Emergency Room for dental pain every 15 seconds, costing taxpayers at the time $750 per visit. Watson-Lowry states that Emergency Rooms cannot provide the proper care for dental work. She hopes the Dental Health Care Act of 2017 will generate community dental health coordinators so those who need dental care can get it.
Mary Otto, author, Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality and the Struggle for Oral Health in America
Dr. Cheryl Watson-Lowry, inner city Chicago dentist
If asked, most people are willing to give up their sense of touch. Yet of the five senses in the human body, touch has proven to be incredibly important. According to Dr. David Linden, Professor of Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, touch is connected to emotion via our nervous system. The way humans feel and react to physical touch has an effect on everything from personality to digestive system functionality. Dr. Linden says, “The touches we share with those we love make the sense of touch much more important than we know.” Without a sense of touch, individuals are much more susceptible to health issues, as they may not feel pain or temperature and receive great injury. Additionally, touch is perceived as essential to newborns and its absence is noticeable. Dr. Linden shares a story about children in an understaffed orphanage in Romania that grew up to have neuropsychiatric issues as a result of not being held and cuddled as infants. Although the sense of touch is not commonly understood as vital to our wellbeing, both the lack of physical touch from others and our own sense of feeling may prove fatal in the end.
More than two million youth may run away from home each year. More than 100,000 of them are forced into the sex trade each year to survive. One young woman who overcame such a life describes how she beat the odds and what runaways need to have a chance to succeed.
Epilepsy can show itself in many ways, including as episodes of giggling and laughing. An expert discusses the case of a nine-year old boy with such seizures, the danger they posed, and the novel way he was treated.
Cancer treatment has always focused on survival. Now doctors are increasingly focusing on side effects, including the effect of treatment on sexual function and satisfaction. However, many patients are shy about bringing up their difficulties, unaware there are ways to help. One of the nation’s top experts discusses.