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History of Periodontitis Linked to Stroke in Men

Link between periodontitis, cerebrovascular disease particularly strong in men under 65

MONDAY, July 13 (HealthDay News) -- A history of periodontitis, but not current periodontal inflammation, is associated with the incidence of stroke and transient ischemic attack in men, according to research published online ahead of print on May 28 in the Annals of Neurology.

Monik Jimenez, of the Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine, and colleagues analyzed data from 1,137 men, with a mean age 48 years at baseline, who were followed for a mean 24 years. Participants underwent comprehensive oral exams triennially with full-mouth radiographs and periodontal probing.

The researchers found that periodontal bone loss was associated with a higher risk of cerebrovascular disease (hazard ratio, 3.52). This effect was greater in men under the age of 65 years (hazard ratio, 5.81). However, periodontal probing depth was not associated with a significantly higher rate of cerebrovascular disease.

"Several causal and non-causal pathways have been postulated to explain the observed association between periodontitis and cerebrovascular disease. Causal pathways may involve direct and indirect effects of the periodontal infection and the inflammatory response, while an increased pro-inflammatory susceptibility to both atherosclerosis/thrombosis and chronic periodontitis would be an alternate, non-causal pathway," the authors write. "Even if this association was predominantly non-causal, periodontitis could be an important marker of risk for cerebrovascular disease, given its relatively high prevalence and the strength of the association."

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