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Most American dentists are forbidden by their dental boards from telling patients about the toxic effects of mercury found in amalgam fillings

Most American dentists are forbidden by their dental boards from telling patients about the toxic effects of mercury found in amalgam fillings. Dentists who do explain the dangers risk having their licences revoked, as happened to Gary Jacobson from Minnesota. The Board of Dentistry says the licence was revoked because of his overuse of x-rays and because he was rude to a patient. However, Jacobson's lawyer was told by a board member that the action was taken because of Jacobson's anti mercury stance (Townsend Letter for Doctors, April 1996).

One in 12 women given an epidural will go on to suffer low back pain, and the pain could last for up a year, two Oxford doctors have warned. Writing in the BMJ, Henry McQuay and Andrew Moore from the Pain Relief Unit at Churchill Hospital take to task the seemingly flippant view of back pain expressed by another doctor in a research paper that concluded that everyone "can assure women that any increased risk of low back pain is small and transient" (BMJ, March 2, 1996).

Diabetics can safely be given fish oil supplements provided they are also given vitamin E at the same time, research has discovered. Because fish oil raises blood sugar levels, it was considered unsafe to give to diabetics. But new research has found the effects can be reduced if vitamin E is given at the same time (Nutr Res, 1995; 15:953-68).


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