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Obesity Weakens Immune Response
Date:12/12/2007

the body doesn't respond properly to infection," he said.

The same mechanism is at work in humans, Amar added. In fact, studies in obese people have shown they are more likely to have gum disease than non-obese people. The disease is caused by bacteria, which causes inflammation and destruction of the bone underlying teeth.

Amar thinks that obese people need to be treated differently to help them fight infections. "We need to be more aggressive in the use of targeted antibiotics in infections among obese people," he said. "Also, we need to boost the immune response."

One expert agreed the finding sheds light on the connection between obesity and infection.

"Very interesting paper," said Dr. Sara G. Grossi, a senior research scientist at the Brody School of Medicine of East Carolina University. "This is a study that needed to be done, with very interesting results and implications for both obesity and periodontal disease -- two diseases that are easier to prevent than to treat."

More information

For more about gum disease, visit the American Academy of Periodontology.



SOURCES: Salomon Amar, D.D.S., Ph.D., professor and associate dean, research, School of Dental Medicine, Boston University Medical Center; Sara G. Grossi, D.D.S., Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, Greenville, N.C.; Dec. 12, 2007, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences online


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