L.A. Times – Drilling down on the necessity of dental X-rays
When my son and daughter were youngsters, once a year I’d have a disagreement with their pediatric dentist. He wanted to do routine annual X-rays, and I would protest because neither child ever had any cavities. His response: Dental X-rays are an important diagnostic tool, representing a small speck in the sea of radiation that we receive by inhabiting planet Earth.
It turns out we both were right. Dental X-rays are essential for detecting serious oral and systemic health problems, and generally the amount of radiation is very low. But new thinking on dental X-rays is that the “one size fits all” schedule is outdated.

NPR – New York City extends smoking ban to e-cigarettes
New York’s City Council has approved extending the city’s strict smoking ban to include electronic cigarettes, which emit a vapor.
The measure was pushed by outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg and backed by public health advocates in the city. It comes just weeks after New York became the first major city to raise the age for buying tobacco to 21.
Earlier this month, New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said that “more research is needed on electronic cigarettes,” but that “waiting to act could jeopardize the progress we have made over the last few years.”

FOX News – Merck issues voluntary recall of 743,360 vials of Gardasil HPV vaccine
Merck is issuing a voluntary recall of one lot of Gardasil vaccines due to the risk that some vials of the vaccine may contain glass particles, according to a statement released today by the pharmaceutical company.
The company estimates that only 10 of the 743,360 vials in the lot may have been affected by the incident, which was the result of a breakdown in production.  A medical assessment conducted by Merck concluded that if a patient were to receive one of the contaminated vaccines, they had a “remote risk” of experiencing a reaction at the injection site.
This lot of vaccines was distributed between August 20, 2013 and October 9, 2013. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that it purchased 350,000 doses of Gardasil from this lot for their own vaccination programs. 

Houston Chronicle – Flu-like activity increasing in Houston and Texas
Texas public health officials say every region of the state, including Montgomery and Harris counties, is seeing intense flu activity this season, which could result, as in past years, in at least several hundred deaths.
In Harris County, hospital emergency room visits for flu-like symptoms are at a five-year high.
Christine Mann, spokeswoman for the Texas Department of State Health Services, said Thursday her agency is aware of suspected flu cases that Montgomery County public health officials are investigating. She said the county is sending specimens to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta for more extensive testing and confirmation.

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