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UTSD joins NIH-funded study of diabetes, gum disease

Friday, January 13, 2012 - 1:06pm

James Katancik, DDS, PhD

James Katancik, DDS, PhD

The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston (UTSD) is recruiting adults with Type II diabetes for a national study to determine whether treating gum disease improves long-term blood-sugar control.

The school is one of five participating in the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded “Diabetes and Periodontal Therapy Trial.”  Other sites include The University of Texas Dental School in San Antonio, the University of Alabama in Birmingham, the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine in New York – the coordinating clinical center.  UTSD will receive approximately $1 million for its work as the Houston site.

James Katancik, DDS, PhD, chair of the Department of Periodontics and Dental Hygiene at UTSD, said the question of periodontal disease’s effect on blood sugar has been around for years, but previous studies have had mixed findings. 

“Some have reported that if we do the normal nonsurgical treatment of cleaning and scaling to treat gum disease, the blood sugar comes down,” he said. “Others have not reported that finding. So the NIH decided to fund a large, multi-center study in hope of having a definitive answer that will settle the question.”

Katancik said the multi-site study has about 430 volunteers so far and needs another 170 by June, with a planned total enrollment of 600.

To qualify, participants must be Type II diabetics, age 35 or older, with a regular physician, gum disease and at least 16 natural teeth.  Disqualifiers include pregnancy and/or regular use of anti-inflammatory or immune-suppressing medications in the past two months. If you’ve taken antibiotics for a week or more in the past 30 days, you might eventually be eligible for the study after a delay in registration.

Volunteers who qualify for the study will receive a dental examination, blood sugar tests, X-rays and treatment for gum disease, all at no charge. They will also receive a $20 gift card and validated parking. All visits will be at UT School of Dentistry, 6516 MD Anderson Boulevard in Houston.

For more information or to volunteer, call the Clinical Research Office at 713-704-4137.