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Scientists find shared genetic link between the dental disease periodontitis and heart attack
Date:5/25/2009

nnective tissue and the bone support of teeth, is the major cause of tooth loss in adults over 40 years. Periodontitis is very common, and around 90% of people aged over 60 suffer from it. Research has already shown a genetic basis for both diseases.

"We intend to push ahead with our work to try to understand more about the function of this RNA molecule and the pathway in which it operates in healthy gums and also in periodontitis. In the meantime, because of its association with CHD, we think that periodontitis should be taken very seriously by dentists and diagnosed and treated as early as possible", said Dr. Schaefer.

Both CHD and periodontitis are propagated by the same risk factors most importantly smoking, diabetes and obesity and there is also a gender relationship, with men possibly more liable to these diseases than women. Researchers have also shown similarities in the bacteria found in the oral cavity and in coronary plaques, and both diseases are characterised by an imbalanced immune reaction and chronic inflammation.

"These factors already indicated a possible mutual genetic basis underlying the two diseases", said Dr. Schaefer. Now we know for sure that there is a strong genetic link, patients with periodontitis should try to reduce their risk factors and take preventive measures at an early stage", he said. "We hope that our findings will make it easier to diagnose the disease at an early stage, and that in future a greater insight into the specific pathophsyiology might open the way to effective treatment before the disease can take hold."


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Contact: Mary Rice
mary@mrcommunication.org
European Society of Human Genetics
Source:Eurekalert

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