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Dental school gets $1.86 million from NIH for study of methamphetamine's effect on oral health
Date:6/29/2010

s of methamphetamine use.

Dr. Vivek Shetty, a professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery, is the principal investigator of the project. For the four-year study, he aims to build on his previous research, which provided the first systematic evidence of higher rates of oral disease among methamphetamine abusers.

In a paper published in the March 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association, Shetty and his co-authors reported that overt dental disease is a key distinguishing medical co-morbidity in methamphetamine users who otherwise present as generally healthy individuals, especially in the early stages of their drug abuse.

"Our finding that dental disease is a prominent marker of methamphetamine use creates opportunities to implement targeted interventions in the dental office a hitherto unexploited setting in the management of this epidemic," Shetty said. "Funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse will allow us to further characterize methamphetamine's oral disease burden so as to support dental professionals who, as oral health specialists, are in a unique position to detect the drug's use and participate as integral members of a collaborative care team tending to methamphetamine users."

"Methamphetamine use is a persistent and pernicious social problem. Dr. Shetty's research will address the 'meth mouth' issue with the scientific rigor that this public health issue deserves," said Dr. No-Hee Park, dean of the UCLA School of Dentistry. "Research projects such as this one underscore our school's commitment to improving the oral health of our communities and advancing clinical practice through scholarship."


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Contact: Sandra Shagat
sshagat@dentistry.ucla.edu
310-206-0835
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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