Merchant, Anwar T.
Periodontal Microorganisms and Markers of Cardiovascular Disease in Youth
General Research Subject: Type 1 Diabetes
Focus: Complications\ Macrovascular-Atherosclerotic CVD and Human Diabetes, Epidemiology, Pediatrics\Type 1
Type of Grant: Clinical Translational Research
Project Start Date: July 1, 2011
Project End Date: June 30, 2014
The purpose of this study is to find out if higher concentrations of selected microorganisms found in the mouth (called etiologic organisms) increase the risk of developing early markers of cardiovascular disease in youth with type 1 diabetes (T1D). To find that out a group of youth in Colorado will be followed up for 2 years. A total of 300 will have T1D diagnosed for at least 5 years and 100 will not have diabetes. Early markers of cardiovascular disease will be measured in this population at the start and end of the study. They will receive a dental examination and will provide dental plaque samples at the start of the study. Concentrations of etiologic organisms will be determined in the plaque samples, and individuals will be classified into 3 groups of etiologic organism concentration: low, medium, and high. Early risk markers of cardiovascular disease will be compared across groups of etiologic organisms to find out whether early markers of cardiovascular disease are more common in persons with higher concentrations of etiologic organisms in youth with T1D. This is important because it is possible to measure concentrations of etiologic microorganisms in youth with T1D easily and effectively reduce concentrations of these organisms by antibiotic treatment. If reducing levels of these organisms translates into reduced risk of developing early markers of cardiovascular disease then this can lead to a safe and effective way of reducing cardiovascular disease risk in youth with T1D.
What area of diabetes research does your project cover? What role will this particular project play in preventing, treating and/or curing diabetes?
This is an epidemiologic study aimed at prevention of complications of diabetes in youth. In it we will examine the extent to which selected microorganisms associated with periodontal disease are related to type-1 diabetes and the development of early markers of cardiovascular disease in youth with type-1 diabetes. To answer this question we have assembled a team of pediatric endocrinologists, dentists, biostatisticians, basic scientists, and epidemiologists. The findings of this study will set the stage to test whether treating periodontal disease associated with specific microorganisms reduces the risk of development of cardiovascular complications in youth with type-1 diabetes.
If a person with diabetes were to ask you how your project will help them in the future, how would you respond?
It may be possible to prevent cardiovascular complications in individuals with diabetes by testing their dental plaque for particular types of microorganisms and treating them. The treatment could consist of cleaning the teeth under the gums or using antibiotics for a short time or both. This simple treatment may prevent future more serious complications resulting from type-1 diabetes.
Why is it important for you, personally, to become involved in diabetes research? What role will this award play in your research efforts?
I became involved with diabetes research approximately three years ago
when I joined University of South Carolina which was a site for the
SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study. It soon became apparent to me that
in the extensive portfolio of diabetes research, the role of periodontal
disease in diabetes was understudied, particularly in children. I
noticed this because I am trained in both epidemiology and dentistry.
This award from the American Diabetic Association will add new knowledge in the area, which will ultimately contribute to the prevention of complications of diabetes and improvement in the quality of life of individuals with diabetes.
In what direction do you see the future of diabetes research going?
My future research will build upon this grant. Currently I am developing
a study to be conducted among the SEARCH population that extends the
study of periodontal microorganisms in relation to beta cell function,
and early cardiovascular and renal complications in children with type-1
and type-2 diabetes.
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