Summary of: An intriguing association between dental and mental pathology in addicted and control subjects: a cross-sectional survey

Reece, A. S.
December 2008
British Dental Journal;12/13/2008, Vol. 205 Issue 11, p598
Academic Journal
Background Recent clinical studies suggest that substance use may be associated with an acceleration of the ageing process, possibly related to a deficit of stem cell number or function. As this clinic had access to both medical and drug dependent patients, we tested the hypothesis that there may be an association between previously identified deficits.Methods A cross-sectional survey was performed looking at both dental and mental dysfunction. Both a dental index (DI) and a mental index (MI) were defined as previously described and utilised as summary measures of such pathology.Findings From 249 substance use disorder (SUD) and 134 general medical controls (N-SUD), 248 and 91 patients were selected with ages less than 57 years as the primary focus of analysis. The mean (± S.D.) ages (32.59 ± 7.98 vs 35.65 ± 15.45 years) were similar. The DI was found to correlate with the MI in a significant manner in SUD (R = 0.14, p = 0.03), N-SUD (R = 0.27, p = 0.009) and in the whole group (R = 0.17, p = 0.001). The (univariate) association of MI with DI (p = 0.019) and DI with MI (p = 0.0037) remained highly significant at multivariate regression after adjustment for psychiatric diagnoses and measures of dose-duration exposure to common addictive drugs. The qualitative appearance of the surfaces of best fit for the relationship between age, DI and MI was different in the two groups.Conclusions These results suggest that the robust statistical association between dental and mental pathology may be related to common underlying pathophysiological mechanisms such as a progeroid or stem cell deficiency process in clinical addiction.


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