The Check-Up: Today’s Top Health Headlines

The buzz around the health and fitness world this AM

The dreaded dental drill could be a thing of the past.

• Ok, confession time: One of my biggest fears is getting a root canal. I haven’t (yet!) had a single cavity, which is good because the thought of having someone drill into my tooth—not to mention, stick a needle in my gums beforehand—pretty much terrifies me. So when I saw this article about a peptide formula that can regenerate and repair damaged teeth without using a drill, I breathed a humungous sigh of relief. The fluid, called P 11-4, actually turns into a gel when applied to teeth and seeps into microscopic pores. “The gel in turn provides a scaffold or framework that attracts calcium and regenerates the tooth’s mineral from within, providing a natural and pain-free repair,” according to the article. Pretty awesome right? Researchers say the tests on smaller groups of patients have been “extremely promising”—so much so, that the stuff could be available at your dentist’s office in two or three years. Now that’s something to smile about.

• Have you ever wondered where your prescription meds are coming from? brings us the unsettling results of a survey which found that half of hospital officials have purchased medications from “back-door suppliers” (also called gray-market vendors), who are desperate for medication thanks to the recent drug shortages—characterized as the worst in US history. The survey questioned employees at 549 hospitals. According to the article: “Gray-market suppliers are those that operate outside official channels, often buying drugs from uncertain sources and reselling them at a steep profit. A report issued last week by a one hospital association found their average mark-up was 650 percent.” Hospital workers reported feeling like they had “no choice” but to purchase the back-door drugs, citing pressure from patients and doctors to obtain the medication—safety and cost be damned.

• Fighting the beer-belly bulge? Go for a run, says a new study from researchers at Duke University. NPR has the story, which looks at a study that monitored the changes in visceral fat—the dangerous kind that wraps around organs in the gut—between groups of adults who either lifted weights three times a week or ran 12 miles a week. The runners saw serious improvement, shedding lots of visceral fat, including fat around the liver, and overall abdominal fat, too. The weight lifters only lost a little bit of subcutaneous fat. Time to dust off the ol’ jogging shoes.