Soter Healthcare Selects Goodness Dental as Exclusive Dental Partner

Soter Healthcare Selects Goodness Dental as Exclusive Dental Partner

Goodness Dental, the highest rated dental clinic in Costa Rica & Guatemala for Dental Implants, All on Four & Full Mouth Restorations chosen as Exclusive Dental Partner in Soter Healthcare’s Regional Destination Dental Care™ Network.

Soter Healthcare, a globally-recognized leader in medical tourism and destination healthcare announced the selection of Goodness Dental in Costa Rica and Guatemala as Soter’s exclusive dental partner in Central America. Soter Healthcare provides valuable international medical and dental care consulting services for patients seeking the highest quality outcomes. This leading medical tourism agency has provided service to hundreds of patients from the USA seeking medical and dental care abroad. Notable patients include world-renowned sporting and entertainment personalities & government dignitaries, including Chuck Norris and others.

In a comprehensive review of more than 1000 dental clinics, Soter Healthcare found Goodness Dental to be a leader in reputation, quality outcomes, internationally-accepted dental care protocols and overall patient satisfaction. “Our patients come to us for advice and guidance to find the best dental and medical care around the globe,” says David Mair, Managing Partner and CEO of Soter Healthcare. “Our review of Goodness Dental and our close relationship with its founder, Patrick Goodness, makes us very comfortable recommending Goodness Dental to our network of patients from around the world.

“We’re honored to be selected as a partner by Soter Healthcare,” says Patrick Goodness, founder of Goodness Dental. “Soter Healthcare reflects the quality and values we believe are important for the patients we serve, and its commitment to outstanding patient care matches our own.”

Goodness Dental is distinguished as the number one ranked “best dental clinic” in Costa Rica and Guatemala for dental implants, all on 4 dental procedures and full mouth restorations by and Goodness Dental is also ranked as the number one dental clinic in Costa Rica by Global Clinic Ratings and was singled out by Becker’s Dental Review as the leading dental clinic in Costa Rica. “Across the board, Goodness Dental has impressed patients and global accreditation organizations by demonstrating a consistent approach to high quality patient care,” says Mair.

“While there are many very good dental clinics around the world, our patients come to us for the best possible care. We take this responsibility very seriously and we only partner with medical and dental providers that meet our rigorous standards,” says Mair. “Goodness Dental is unique in their approach to patient care and the results are proof positive that their approach is a winner.”

Goodness Dental is the only clinic in Costa Rica and Guatemala with two licensed US dentists on staff to help patients make informed dental care decisions. Dr. Peter Aborn, a retired prosthodontist with 45 years of private practice and university professor career experience leads the Costa Rica dental team. Dr. John Bahr, a dentist with over 40 years of private practice experience in Kansas City, leads the Guatemala dental team. Both dentists are available to help American patients during the clinic selection and patient care process.

“Our 14 advanced-degree specialists manage cases that most dental clinics simply cannot handle,” says Dr. Peter Aborn, who was recognized by CNN for his work with aiding indigenous tribes in Costa Rica. “In the past month alone, we have managed patients with Multiple Sclerosis and Sjogren’s Syndrome as well as patients suffering from severe jaw trauma, TMJ disorder and degenerative diseases. Patients who cannot afford the high cost of dental care at home choose us for more affordable care.”

This highly specialized approach to dental care is what attracted Soter Healthcare to the Goodness Dental brand. “While many dental clinics in Costa Rica and Guatemala use general dentists to place implants and perform dental surgery, Goodness Dental works only with skilled specialists such as maxillofacial surgeons, dental implant specialists, prosthodontists, periodontists and endodontists to provide patients with the security of truly specialized care. This makes a critical difference for our patients and allows me to refer Goodness Dental with complete confidence,” says Mair.

Costa Rica has long been a popular destination for dental tourism. The Goodness Dental clinic in Guatemala expands that opportunity for patients who choose to travel for care at costs that are even less than expensive. With excellent care quality, top level resources, and affordable costs, Goodness Dental and Soter Healthcare are a formidable combination for dental patients seeking better opportunities than their home communities afford and better services than are generally available in Mexico.

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OnDecember 4, 2017, posted in: Dental care, Dental implants, Destination Medical Care by

Study Affirms Benefits of Microcurrent Therapy in Stroke Rehab

A study published in the journal Stroke affirms microcurrent stimulation to the vagus nerve has direct benefits for stroke survivors.

The study shows that microcurrent pulses, like those generated by the Myopulse and Neuroscope, applied to the vagas nerve, which is located in the neck, relays information about the state of the body to the brain. For people suffering weakness and paralysis following a stroke, this promotes neuroplasticity in the brain. Neuroplasticity is a process by which the brain reroutes and reorganizes certain functions, so that people are able to perform them again after a brain injury.

In this double-blind, placebo controlled study, members of the group that received physical therapy only improved an average of three points on the Fugl-Meyer assessment scale, which measures recovery in stroke patients. The group that received physical therapy and vagus nerve stimulation improved by an average of nine points. Patients receiving microcurrent therapy also reported greater range of motion and strength in their affected arms.

Patients in the study were treated with microcurrent during three two-hour sessions times per week for six weeks. This closely resembles the microcurrent therapy program offered by Soter Healthcare for our clients.

“This study demonstrates that vagus nerve stimulation appears to improve the recovery that stroke patients make,” said Dr. Michael Kilgard, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Texas Dallas and contributor to the study.

According to the American Stroke Association, nearly 800,000 people a year in the United States suffer a stroke. Eighty percent of stroke survivors are impacted by hemiparesis, a weakness on one side of the body that can last for the rest of their lives. Through our Destination Medical Care™ and wellness services, Soter Healthcare’s vision is to improve the lives of stroke survivors.

The video below shows how microcurrent works to stimulate the brain’s amazing neuroplasticity.


Contact us at Soter Healthcare for more information.

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OnAugust 2, 2017, posted in: Health insurance, Medical care, Stroke by

Microcurrent Therapy Benefits for Multiple Sclerosis Patients

Microcurrent therapy is one of the better, yet least known, therapies available for patients with multiple sclerosis. It relieves pain, clears brain fog, improves neurological and physical function, reduces spasticity, and, in tandem with physical therapy, helps increase energy and stamina. There is emerging evidence microcurrent treatment also aids in healing the myelin sheath damaged by multiple sclerosis.

We use the Acuscope and Myopulse systems for working withMicrocurrent Instruments clients with multiple sclerosis. These instruments use a biofeedback system that recognizes the difference between healthy and damaged tissues, then determines the frequency and current level needed to repair damaged areas. As damaged tissues recover and the energy requirements of cells change, the microcurrent instrument’s processors detect the new requirements and adjust its waveform to accommodate the specific needs of the regenerating tissue.  Through this process, cells release waste products, draw in nutrients, and return to normal functions.

Microcurrent Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis

For multiple sclerosis patients, we use several different microcurrent techniques.  We start with cranial electrical stimulation (CES). CES is a non-invasive, safe technique that is FDA-approved as a treatment for anxiety, depression, insomnia, chronic fatigue and chronic pain, among others.  We use a set of ear clips applied to each earlobe, a headband that allows us to move the therapy point to various areas of the brain, and a bar that goes at the base of the skull to stimulate the vagus nerve.  In combination, these techniques let us give a patient a full range of microcurrent stimulation for optimal healing.  We also use a series of tool and instruments to treat spinal nerves associated with various pain and functional damage points. A final set of techniques focuses on muscles and connective tissues to improve spasticity and loss related to nerve dysfunction.

Johns Hopkins Research on Microcurrent with MS

A first stage study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins acuscopeUniversity confirms that Cranial Electrical Stimulation (CES) decreases fatigue and increases cognition in MS patients.

In the Johns Hopkins study, a small group of patients with secondary progressive MS received CES treatments over a five day period. Those who received CES reported significantly decreased fatigue. When given a sham stimulation technique, the same participants reported an increase in fatigue. There also was a strong trend toward improvement in verbal immediate recall during the CES treatment period.

“MS is associated with difficulties in cognitive functioning and also with cognitive fatigue, so we’re interested in understanding the relationship between cognition and fatigue and also looking at ways to ameliorate those problems,” said Dr. Tracy Vannorsdall, one of the lead researchers. “We know that [CES] helps the underlying neurons fire more readily so it takes away some of the neural effort in a sense. What we wanted to see is if we could facilitate cognition.., and if we could improve fatigue” related to practicing working memory tasks and processing speed tasks, spatial span tasks, and a perceptual comparison task.

On four occasions prior to and following each 5-day study wave, participants completed several cognitive function assessments. Participants also completed self-report measures of mood and fatigue. They also completed a side effects survey looking at mental and physical changes.

Researchers found that CES was safe and well tolerated. No adverse events occurred. There was no significant difference in the change in depression scale ratings over the course of sham stimulation compared to changes over the course of true stimulation. Dr. Vannorsdall added, “We found that our participants improved under the anodal stimulation condition with respect to their cognitive functioning — statistically significant differences were found in a measure of verbal short-term memory, learning and memory, but we saw trends toward improvements in working memory and other cognitive skills.” These preliminary findings suggest that CES may improve  fatigue and minimize cognitive dysfunction in MS.

Microcurrent Therapy Results

Patients often report significant benefits immediately after or within 24 hours following a microcurrent therapy session. Benefits generally last between four days to a week during early stages of treatment.  Benefits last longer as treatments continue.  In some cases, the benefits of microcurrent therapy have continued without loss after people complete a series of 10 to 12 treatments. Other patients, particularly those with long-standing symptoms, have reported benefits after six treatments.  Microcurrent therapy shows positive results for many patients, even when other treatments have failed.

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OnMarch 8, 2016, posted in: Medical care, Multiple Sclerosis by

Shingles Increases Risk of Stroke and Heart Attack


Shingles affects more than one million Americans annually.

New research indicates older people who develop shingles face a short-term increase in their risk for having a stroke or heart attack. The study, published in the December 15, 2005 issue of PLOS Medicine, included approximately 43,000 Medicare recipients diagnosed with both shingles and a stroke and another 24,000 shingles patients who experienced a heart attack between 2006 and 2011.

Two-fold Higher Risk

Researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the United Kingdom discovered the risk of stroke was much greater during the three months after the onset of shingles, including more than twice as high during the first week. The risk of heart attack also doubled during the first week after symptoms developed and remained high, but not by quite as much as the risk for stroke. The risk for both appeared to return to normal within six months.

While this is not the first study of the effects of shingles with cardiovascular risks, it is important because it identifies the far greater risk during the first week following the onset of shingles symptoms.

A Little About Shingles

More than a million Americans a year develop shingles, according to the Centers for Disease Control.  If you had chickenpox, you have a risk of getting shingles, since the virus stays in your body even after you recover from chickenpox.  It appears most often in people over 50 years old and people with weakened immune systems. Shingles are typically diagnosed after the onset of tingling pain, mild to serious burning sensations and a blistering rash on one side of the body. Most people who get shingles will recover in two to four weeks. Generally, people will not get shingles more than once, although it is possible.

Pain medications are effective in relieving the pain of shingles, and antiviral medications can treat the rashes and blisters. In addition, Zostavax, a shingles vaccine, can reduce the shingles risk by roughly 50% or reducing symptom severity when shingles occurs. Because of the small number of people who had the shingles vaccine, the study was not able to identify whether it had any relationship in reducing the risk of stroke or heart attack in those who were vaccinated.

The physical connection between shingles and the causes for the increased stroke and heart attack risks are not known. However, there does not appear to be a direct cause and effect relationship between the virus and cardiovascular conditions. Researchers commented that possible reasons could include increased inflammation associated with a viral infection or increases in blood pressure associated with the pain or stress of the disease.

Our Take

This new research is important, because it creates heightened awareness of the increased risk of stroke or heart attack following the onset of shingles.  We recommend people with weakened immune systems or with existing heart attack or stroke risks who get the disease monitor their health carefully during and shortly after getting shingles.  Being aware of and sharing information about the risks may save the life of someone you love.


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OnFebruary 2, 2016, posted in: Medical care by

Gadolinium Contrast Agent Concerns for Multiple Sclerosis

Researchers in Europe and the United States continue to make important advances in understanding gadolinium based contrast agent (GBCA) concerns for multiple sclerosis patients.  Because MS patients regularly monitor their respective medical conditions through an MRI, it is important to know about GBCAs.

Gadolinium contrast agent damage in MS

The image shows damage from transmetalation in a 51-year-old female after an MRI using a GBCA. The dark spots that look like she’s been hit by shotgun pellets are the result of gadolinium damage.

Gadolinium is a rare earth element that has special magnetic properties. Those properties make it particularly effective as a contrast agent for MRI. In its pure form, it is highly toxic.

What is Gadolinium Contrast?

In order to use gadolinium as a contrast agent, it is surrounded (chelated) by substances to make it inert while in the body. Generally, the chelates are more water-soluble, so most of the gadolinium leaves the body through the kidneys within a few days. As a result for many years since gadolinium was first used in MRIs in 1988, doctors considered it safe. What that generally meant is doctors saw it as safer than other contrast materials. However, in light of new research, gadolinium-based contrasts come with what is known as a black box warning, the FDA’s sternest warning about safety.

Before an MRI is performed, patients receive an informed consent forms to read and sign. Most informed consent forms don’t even mention the risks of gadolinium. When they do, because form documents are often slow in being updated, the forms do not mention the latest information. Even more, the forms usually do not provide information about a particular GBCA. Click here to see two Gadolinium Based Contrast Agents Sample Medical Releases.

Gadolinium Contrast Background

GBCAs came into common use in the late 1980s. For many years, the general belief was that about 90% of the gadolinuim associated with a GBCA clears the system within a few days. Then concerns began to emerge about greater amounts of gadolinium retained by people with impaired kidney function. In response, the FDA required use of a specific warning about use by patients with acute kidney disorders in 2006.  The FDA upgraded and expanded the warnings in 2010 and again in 2013.  More recently, researchers in Denmark and at the Mayo Clinic discovered people withoug kidney issues retain greater amounts of gadolinium than previously known. That information reveals gadolinium can stay for many years in the body and has been found in bone and brain tissues in greater amounts that previously known.

With that as background, the concerns start to arise when the gadolinium breaks apart from the chelate or does not clear the body well. As long as the chelate remains bound, it has not been considered a significant risk. When the chelate breaks, an occurrence called transmetalation, the materials used for the chelate can also bind to other metallic elements, like iron, zinc and others, leaving free gadolinium in the system in its free, poisonous form. It can also occur when patients receive frequent contrast-based MRIs , as is more common for MS patients than the general population.  Add in the fact that the chemical and ionic structure of the three most common GBCAs are the most likely to break apart, and grave concerns arise.

When free gadolinium releases into the body, a condition known as Nephrogenic System Fibrosis (NSF) can result. First discovered in 1997, this disease is a progressive and potentially fatal condition associated with the hardening and thickening of the skin and potentially organs, severely restricting movement. Early on, NSF can feel like an MS hug. Other symptoms include:

  • Burning or itching, reddened or darkened patches; and/or skin swelling, hardening and/or tightening of skin,
  • Yellow raised spots on the whites of the eyes, and/or
  • Joint stiffness; limited range of motion in the arms, hands, legs, or feet; pain deep in the hip bone or ribs; and/or muscle weakness.

Eventually, it leads to suffocation, hardening of the heart muscle, liver failure, and/or multiple system failures. Physicians and radiologists are not generally familiar with NSF or free gadolinium. Gadolinium can be removed from the body through chelation therapy, however, you and your doctors must catch it early.  Unfortunately, most people begin noticing the symptoms months after an MRI when it is too late.  Physicians consider NSF incurable.

There are concerns that MS patients are at greater risk than others for gadolinium exposure because of the frequency of their MRIs. It’s not yet clear how many MRIs or how close in time MRIs are done increases the risks. In the US, the FDA recommends caution regarding how close one MRI with gadolinium contrast are performed. The European Medical Agency prohibits MRIs with GBCAs from being performed within seven days of one another. Denmark’s medical authority has now outlawed MRIs with GBCAs in favor of newer equipment that is becoming available. The FDA suggests patients with kidney issues should have a kidney function test performed. The EMEA now requires it for all patients.

Recommendation for Gadolinium Contrast

Because of the risks involved with GBCAs, especially for Multiple Sclerosis patients, Soter Healthcare recommends using a gadolinium contrast only in very limited circumstances, having a kidney function test prior to the MRI, and having a urine test done to check gadolinium levels after an MRI with GBCA.  Fortunately, technology in the latest generation of  MRI machines reduces the need for use of GBCAs as often.  We also recommend looking back at your medical records to check out the GBCA used in your prior MRIs.  You can find the information on your MRI report.  If you need assistance in locating it, we can help.

For more information, speak to your physicians and radiologists.  Ask whether your MRI requires a gadolinium contrast agent. If the answer is yes, ask what gadolinium contrast agent will be used and ask the doctor and radiologist for specific information about the specific risks associated with that agent.  It may a long conversation, but it will definitely be worth the time.

The information contained here is for informational purposes only.  It is not a substitute for consulting with your physicians about your specific condition and care.

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OnNovember 10, 2015, posted in: Uncategorized by