Researchers report this week that older adults who have higher proportions of four periodontal-disease-causing bacteria inhabiting their mouths also tend to have thicker carotid arteries, a strong predictor of stroke and heart attack. The study, published in the current issue of the journal Circulation, was supported by four agencies of the National Institutes of Health.
According to the authors, these data mark the first report of a direct association between cardiovascular disease and bacteria involved in periodontal disease, inflammation of the gums that affects to varying degrees an estimated 200 million Americans. But the researchers say the findings are not proof that the bacteria cause cardiovascular disease, directly or indirectly.
"What was interesting to us was the specificity of the association," said Moïse Desvarieux, M. D., Ph. D., the studys lead author and an infectious disease epidemiologist at Columbia Universitys Mailman School of Public Health and the University of Minnesota. "These same four bacteria were there, they were always there in the analysis, and the relationship seems to be pretty much, with one exception, limited to them."
Bob Kuska | EurekAlert!
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