Dr Ronan Kennedy BDS (QUB)

Dr Ronan Kennedy
Clonmullen Lane
Edenderry
Co Offaly
T: 046 973 1304/973 3750

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News - May 2021

New drug to regenerate lost teeth

A new study by scientists at Kyoto University and the University of Fukui reports that an antibody for one gene – USAG-1 – can stimulate tooth growth in mice suffering from tooth agenesis, a congenital condition. The paper was published in Science Advances.
Although the normal adult mouth has 32 teeth, about 1% of the population has more or fewer due to congenital conditions. Scientists have explored the genetic causes for cases having too many teeth as clues for regenerating teeth in adults.
According to Katsu Takahashi, one of the lead authors of the study, the fundamental molecules responsible for tooth development have already been identified: "The morphogenesis of individual teeth depends on the interactions of several molecules including BMP, or bone morphogenetic protein, and Wnt signaling".
BMP and Wnt are involved in much more than tooth development. They modulate the growth of multiple organs and tissues. Consequently, drugs that directly affect their activity are commonly avoided, since side effects could affect the entire body.
Guessing that targeting the factors that antagonize BMP and Wnt specifically in tooth development could be safer, the team considered the gene USAG-1. The scientists therefore investigated the effects of several monoclonal antibodies for USAG-1. Monoclonal antibodies are commonly used to treat cancers, arthritis, and in vaccine development.
The study is the first to show the benefits of monoclonal antibodies on tooth regeneration and provides a new therapeutic framework for a clinical problem that can currently only be resolved with implants and other artificial measures.

From: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/03/210329122852.htm

Imbalance in gum bacteria linked to Alzheimer's disease

Older adults with more harmful than healthy bacteria in their gums are more likely to have evidence for amyloid beta – a key biomarker for Alzheimer's disease – in their cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), according to new research from the New York University College of Dentistry and Weill Cornell Medicine. However, this imbalance in oral bacteria was not associated with another Alzheimer's biomarker called tau.
The study, published in the journal Alzheimer's & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring, adds to the growing evidence of a connection between gum disease and Alzheimer's.
Lead study author Angela Kamer said: "To our knowledge, this is the first study showing an association between the imbalanced bacterial community found under the gumline and a CSF biomarker of Alzheimer's disease in cognitively normal older adults. The mouth is home to both harmful bacteria that promote inflammation and healthy, protective bacteria. We found that having evidence for brain amyloid was associated with increased harmful and decreased beneficial bacteria".
The researchers studied 48 healthy, cognitively normal adults aged 65+. Participants underwent oral examinations to collect bacterial samples from under the gumline, and lumbar puncture was used to obtain CSF in order to determine the levels of amyloid beta and tau. To estimate the brain's expression of Alzheimer's proteins, the researchers looked for lower levels of amyloid beta (which translate to higher brain amyloid levels) and higher levels of tau (which reflect higher brain tangle accumulations) in the CSF.
The results showed that individuals with an imbalance in bacteria, with a ratio favouring harmful to healthy bacteria, were more likely to have the Alzheimer's signature of reduced CSF amyloid levels.

From: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210412084545.htm

Good dental health may help prevent heart infection from mouth bacteria

Maintenance of good oral health is more important than use of antibiotics in dental procedures for some heart patients to prevent a heart infection caused by bacteria around the teeth, according to a new American Heart Association (AHA) scientific statement published today in the Association's flagship journal, Circulation.
Infective endocarditis (IE), also called bacterial endocarditis, is a heart infection caused by bacteria that enter the bloodstream and settle in the heart lining, a heart valve or a blood vessel. Viridans group streptococcal infective endocarditis (VGS IE) is caused by bacteria that collect in plaque on the tooth surface and cause inflammation and swelling of the gums. There's been concern that certain dental procedures may increase the risk of developing VGS IE in vulnerable patients.
The new guidance affirms previous recommendations that only four categories of heart patients should be prescribed antibiotics prior to certain dental procedures to prevent VGS IE due to their higher risk for complications from the infection:

  • those with prosthetic heart valves or prosthetic material used for valve repair;
  • those who have had a previous case of infective endocarditis;
  • adults and children with congenital heart disease; or,
  • people who have undergone a heart transplant.

It has been over a decade since recommendations for preventing IE were updated amid concerns of antibiotic resistance due to overprescribing. The AHA's 2007 guidelines more tightly defined which patients should receive preventive antibiotics before certain dental procedures to the four high-risk categories. This change resulted in about 90% fewer patients requiring antibiotics.

From: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210415090730.htm