GSDM Researchers Recognized at IADR

IADR-200Researchers at the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine (GSDM) enjoyed success at the 90th General Session and Exhibition of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) in Iguacu Falls, Brazil, June 20-23, 2012.

“I know I speak for all of us at the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine when I say that I am so proud of our GSDM faculty for the research excellence they shared with the international audience at IADR,” Dean Jeffrey W. Hutter said, “as well as the broad spectrum of their research activities.”

Geriatric Fellow Dr. Laura Kaufman won first prize in the post-doctoral geriatric oral research category for her poster Centenarian Offspring: Oral Health Outcomes Reflect Systemic Health Status. The coauthors on the research project are Dental Assistant Tiffany Setiono, Director of the Geriatric Dentistry Program Dr. Paula K. Friedman, Associate Professor Dr. Tom Perls of BU School of Medicine, and the New England Centenarian Study.

The study looked at the oral health of centenarians—those who live 100+ years—and their 70 to 80-year-old children. The subjects are participants in the New England Centenarian Study at BU School of Medicine.

“Our research has focused on assessing the oral health status of centenarian offspring and identifying associations between oral health and systemic diseases,” Dr. Kaufman said. “Our findings include lower rates of edentulism and dentures in centenarian offspring, along with higher rates of reported excellent/very good oral health. The superior oral health status of the offspring parallels the systemic health advantages previously shown amongst the centenarian offspring.”

Dr. Sok-Ja Janket was a runner-up in the same category for her poster, Dental Prostheses and Cardiovascular Survival: a 15-year Follow-Up Study. This was a longitudinal study supported by the American Heart Association. The coauthors are GSDM Chair of General Dentistry Dr. Judith Jones, Dr. Markku Surakka, Dr. Jukka H. Meurman, and GMS and incoming DMD student Andrea Lam.

The study showed that just having a lot of teeth did not bring about longer survival from cardiovascular disease. Rather, those who had 15 teeth but took care of broken roots and maintained clean, healthy mouths lived longer than those who averaged 22 teeth.

“The moral of this story is that genetics may give you more teeth remaining, but you need to take care of them,” Dr. Janket said. “Having fewer teeth with good oral health maintenance was better for cardiovascular survival. So you can modify the genetic influence somewhat.”

Assistant Professor Brenda Heaton presented the results of her research in a talk, Partial-Mouth Recordings: Evaluating Assumptions and Validity in Periodontitis Association Studies. Her research was funded by the School of Dentistry at the University of Birmingham, England after placing second in the Young Investigators international research competition at the 2011 IADR general session. She traveled to England last year to complete the work with her collaborators.

“Partial-mouth recordings (PMR) of periodontitis have received criticism due to underestimation of disease in surveillance activities,” Heaton said. “However, the relevance of this criticism in studies of association has not been investigated.”

Her research found that misclassification of periodontal disease from PMR is not random and has limited bias. PMR protocols introduce negligible bias in studies of association, according to the results.

Debora Heller PERIO 16 gave an oral presentation and received the Wrigley Clinical Salivary Research Award for Dental Scientists. Read more about Dr. Heller’s research in the May 21, 2012, Outlook This Week article.