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More connections found between heart and dental health
Updated: 9/10/2008 12:00:28 PM

More connections found between heart and dental health Numerous studies have already linked dental conditions such as gum disease with cardiovascular disease, but the exact relationship is still being explored.

Now, researchers say that they have found evidence that heat shock proteins - created by various bacteria in the body - may play a role in causing atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis is a condition commonly referred to as hardening of the arteries and is one of the main causes of heart attacks. It occurs when macrophage white blood cells accumulate in the arterial walls.

Greg Seymour from the University of Ontago Dunedin in New Zealand explained that certain molecules found during oral infection were treated in a similar way to other bacteria by the body, causing the immune system to attack its own proteins.

This reaction paved the way for atherosclerosis to develop in the patient.

"This suggests that the similarity between the proteins could be the link between oral infection and atherosclerosis," he commented.

Seymour added that the findings of the research signify a "step towards a more complete understanding of heart disease and improving treatment and preventive therapies."

© 2008 Brafton Inc.


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