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Botox trainees ‘practice on human corpses’


Bodies donated to medical science being used to improve safety for people having treatments at local beauty parlours

Beauty therapists helped dissect a human head and inserted needles into its face during a course at Newcastle University

They learned about the structure of the skin, ligaments and fat deposits

But critics claim that it ‘beggars belief’ that bodies donated for medical study should be used in such a way

Bodies donated to medical science are being used to train beauticians, it has emerged.

During a course at Newcastle University, beauty therapists helped dissect a human head and inserted needles into its face.

The two-day event was designed to improve the safety of patients, many of whom pay hundreds of pounds to have Botox and other wrinkle-busting treatments at their local beauty parlour.

But critics claim that it ‘beggars belief’ that bodies donated for medical study should be used in such a way.

One said: ‘A human cadaver donated to a university should only be used for scientific and medical development by professionals who have earned the right to dissect it respectfully and not for probing by non-medics such as beauticians.’

Beauty therapists helped dissect a human head and inserted needles into its face during a two-day course at Newcastle University (file picture)

Facial fillers, increasingly popular injections which plump up the skin, fill in wrinkles and crow’s feet and create younger-looking cheeks and lips, can also be administered by beauticians.

But with potential complications ranging from swelling and bruising to blindness, some argue the treatment should only be given those who are medically qualified.

The course was commissioned by training academy, Cosmetic Couture, which run by Maxine Waugh, a female boxer who says it is wrong for doctors to try to monopolise the beauty industry.

She argues that experienced and highly-trained beauticians are experts in the facial muscles, skin and ageing.

Therapists who attended the course learnt about the structure of the skin, ligaments and fat deposits while watching the dissection.

They did a ‘limited amount’ of dissection themselves and inserted needles to probe the thickness of the skin.

Antonia Mariconda, of campaign group Safety in Beauty, said: ‘Donating a body to science is such a sensitive issue that you would not expect a beautician to be prodding and probing your face further her tricks and skills to enhance people’s faces for vain reasons.’

Fazel Fatah, a consultant plastic surgeon and former president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, said: ‘A cadaver dissection course geared towards non-medics beggars belief.

‘This is nothing but an abuse of donated cadavers whose study is meant to promote health and science – not the opposite, by ‘training’ unqualified people in subjects that could easily lead to endangering a vulnerable public.’

Julian Baker, the anatomy expert who ran the course, said that in the absence of tighter regulation of the industry, it is important to make treatments as safe as possible for patients.

Mr Baker said: ‘We have to be careful of damning people who are trying to advance their knowledge.

‘The bottom line is that they are trying to improve safety for the patient.’

Botox has to be prescribed by a doctor but it can be injected by anyone who has done a short training course. The trainees who attended the course learnt about the structure of the skin, ligaments and fat deposits while watching the dissection (file picture)

He added that the cadaver used in the session will also be used in many pieces of medical research and it is important that the row doesn’t detract from the valuable work done by the UK body donation programme.

A spokesman for Cosmetic Couture said: ‘The two days provided an invaluable resource for a small number of practitioners to study in depth the nerve structures of the face and to ensure that the highest level of safety and protection is offered to clients undergoing cosmetic procedures.

‘The utmost respect for the donors and donor families was presented as a prime concern in this class.’

While the public often think that bodies are donated for medical research, donors actually agree to anatomical examination, as well as scientific studies, education and training.

Newcastle University, which provided the cadaver and the premises, said it is ‘indebted’ to those who bequeath their bodies.

Dr Debra Patten, the university’s director of anatomy, added: ‘While predominantly our body donors are used to deliver anatomy teaching to medical, dental, speech science and speech therapy students, we also deliver anatomy teaching to paramedics and physiotherapists and to other practitioners who require knowledge of anatomy and physiology.’




Is being vegetarian bad for your teeth?


According to new evidence put forward by dental experts, diets that include meat and dairy products could be better for naturally healthy teeth – meaning that strict vegetarian or vegan diets could be damaging to dental health. A common amino acid that occurs in certain food products has been shown to break down plaque effectively, helping to fight against problems like decay and gum disease.

Researchers at the University of Michigan and Newcastle University found that L-arginine stops the formation of dental plaque and it is primarily found in meat, fish, and dairy products, and it has already been added to some dental products to help with sensitive teeth.

Alexander Rickard, Assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan called this discovery ‘important’ and explained that it could save billions of dollars in dental treatment every year in the US. Dr Nick Jakubovics, of Newcastle University, says that the amino acid is only effective in very high quantities; he explains that ‘there is no evidence yet that lower concentrations found in foods such as red meats would have benefits for removal of dental plaque.’

Their findings are reported in the current issue of PLOS ONE.

Poor people have fewer teeth by the age of 65


According to findings published by the Journal of Dental Research, poor people in the UK have eight fewer teeth than rich people by the age of 65; it has been suggested that low wages and poor standards of living are to blame for the divide in dental health.

The study was carried out by Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust, UCL and the National Centre for Social Research. It also revealed that people who live in poor areas of the country and have lower levels of education will suffer with more with tooth decay, gum disease, and general tooth loss.

Lead author Professor Jimmy Steele, head of the dental school at Newcastle University, said that this was not a ‘big surprise’, but the effects will have a ‘big impact’ on the lives of poorer people in the UK. Senior lecturer at the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at UCL, Dr Georgios Tsakos, said that educating people living in deprived areas would help to reduce the problem. Dr Tsakos said; ‘It is not only being poor that affects their perceptions about their oral health and quality of life, but educational attainment can also make a major difference. This has profound implications for policy as intervening in earlier life could have a significant long term effect on oral health.’

Tooth loss should be taken more seriously says Newcastle University


Researchers at Newcastle University have revealed that tooth loss should be seen as a serious condition, as some patients who have to deal with losing teeth have described the distress as comparable to that of losing a limb. Several participants said that they avoided leaving the house after suffering tooth loss and others reported that they felt like failures because they needed dentures to replace lost teeth.

According to the study, which has been published in the journal Sociology of Health and Illness, tooth loss can be as disruptive to people’s lives as some chronic medical conditions. Researcher Dr Nikki Rousseau said ‘We were surprised by the impact that tooth loss had on people. Tooth loss isn’t usually thought of as an illness or taken as seriously as needing a knee replacement for example. People feel it’s acceptable to make jokes about false teeth, but we may have underestimated the distress that tooth loss causes.’

Thirty-nine adults from the North-East of England, aging between mid-twenties and eighty, were asked about their experiences with tooth loss and the subsequent treatment for it. Following the startling results, Dr Catherine Exley, project leader and senior lecturer at Newcastle University, said ‘Maybe that is something we need to look at and we should start to view tooth loss more like a chronic illness which needs to be treated.’

Scientists say seaweed could help fight tooth decay


According to research carried out by scientists at Newcastle University, microbes found on seaweed could provide a vital weapon in the fight against dental decay; an enzyme from the marine bacterium Bacillus licheniformis has various medical applications and was originally discovered when the team were studying cleaning methods for ships hulls.

Dr Nicholas Jakubovics of the University’s School of Dental Sciences has suggested that the enzyme could be used with several treatments to combat decay, saying that toothpaste is not always effective with plaque and this means that even people who look after their teeth well can still develop cavities. He added that the research ‘has shown that this enzyme can cut through the plaque or layer of bacteria and we want to harness this power into a paste, mouthwash, or denture cleaning solution.’

Leader of the study, Professor Burgess, was amazed by the efficiency of the enzyme as it broke down the plaque and removed the bacteria, whilst also preventing the build-up to begin with. ‘If we can contain it within a toothpaste, we would be creating a product which could prevent tooth decay,’ he says, adding that ‘this is just one of the uses we are developing for the enzyme as it has huge potential such as in helping clean medical implants such as artificial hips and speech valves, which also suffer from bio film infection [as teeth do].’

New clinical camera system ‘could change emergency dentistry’


New clinical camera system 'could change emergency dentistry'Scientists from the University of Liverpool have won praise for a new clinical digital camera with the potential to revolutionise emergency dentistry in future.

The team of researchers has won a Medical Futures Award for its work on iDENTifi, a device that uses qualitative light-induced fluorescence technology to create images of the mouth with blue lights and special filters.

This technique can show up cavities, plaque and signs of tooth decay before they are visible to the human eye, with images that can easily be transferred to any standard electronic device for ease of assessment.

Eliminating the need for dyes or disclosing agents, iDENTifi could lead to the creation of new preventive dental strategies and could change the way dental care and dietary behaviour are managed.

Professor Sue Higham from the Department of Health Services Research and School of Dentistry said: "Winning this award will give us access to business expertise and networks which will help iDENTifi secure the recognition and investment needed to become a viable dental healthcare product."

Newcastle University was also presented with a Medical Futures Award for its work on syringe technology designed to remove the pain from emergency dentistry procedures.ADNFCR-2621-ID-800591227-ADNFCR

Award-winning invention ‘could take pain out of emergency dentistry’


Award-winning invention 'could take pain out of emergency dentistry'Scientists at Newcastle University have won an innovation award for a new invention that could make emergency dentistry procedures less painful in future.

The team, led by dentist Dr John Meechan, was declared the winner in the dental and oral health section at the Medical Futures Innovation Awards for its pioneering acidity-neutralising syringe technology.

It utilises a special syringe cartridge to reduce the acidity of injections shortly before they are delivered, taking away a lot of the pain associated with dental procedures.

Dr Meechan expressed optimism over the future of the project, which remains in a "very early" stage of development.

However, he added: "This award could be a real boost in our aim of getting it on the market and used by dentists around the world."

Earlier this month, the Examiner reported findings from a Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology study showing that inhaling lavender could be a good way of reducing anxiety ahead of invasive procedures such as Botox injections.ADNFCR-2621-ID-800589481-ADNFCR

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