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NIH grant advances dentistry school's work on psychosocial stress
Date:11/6/2007

n effective transdisciplinary approach that sets the stage for early integrated case management and interventions across a broad range of allied specialties. If surgeons, nurses and social workers can easily identify at-risk patients who could benefit from psychological treatment and make the appropriate referrals for targeted interventions and follow-up care, they might be able to prevent further trips to the emergency room.

"A handheld salivary biosensor of stress could help health care providers treat not merely the physical injury but the whole person," said Shetty, a professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery at the UCLA School of Dentistry.

In recent years, the concept of using saliva as a reliable, noninvasive and highly informative diagnostic tool has come into its own. As the technology of salivary diagnostics improves, the idea of using a saliva-based expression of the individual stress response as the basis for point-of-use detection becomes a reality.

"Such a tool could have a profound impact on how we screen, triage and treat injured patients," Shetty said. "Enabling surgeons to rapidly assess the risk for future psychological and substance-use problems will set the stage for expanded, high-quality post-trauma care that is specific to the needs of each patient and incorporates appropriate mental health interventions."

For the past decade, the UCLA School of Dentistry has been a leader in the burgeoning field of salivary diagnostics research, which portends dramatic changes in the future of clinical diagnostics. Currently, the school's scientists are engaged in projects that use saliva to assess the risk of dental caries; create smart, targeted antibiotics that preserve beneficial flora; and diagnose various systemic illnesses, from oral and breast cancer to autoimmune diseases and diabetes.

The research currently being conducted by Shetty builds on research on collaborative-care interventions made possible b
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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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