In 2015 we contacted the men in PRIME who had a dental examination as part of the study. We found that those with periodontitis (gum disease) had an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes over an 8 year period following their baseline dental examination. The findings were published in a major international journal. They are shown in an animation produced by the British Heart Foundation, which provided the funding to support the study https://www.bhf.org.uk/teeth This was one of the first prospective (look forward) studies worldwide to show that men with periodontitis have an increased risk of developing diabetes, which in turn is a risk factor for coronary heart disease. We are currently reviewing the medical records to analyse whether gum disease was a risk factor for a first time coronary event such as a heart attack.
Winning, L., Patterson, C. C., Neville, C. E., Kee, F. & Linden, G. J. (2017) Periodontitis and incident type 2 diabetes: a prospective cohort study. Journal of Clinical Periodontology 44(3): 266- 274.
There have been a wide range of other findings from the follow-up of the men in this long running study.
The PRIME study has shown that:
In relation to alcohol consumption ‘binge’ drinking which concentrates alcohol intake on the weekend in Belfast cancels most of the heart-protective effects of alcohol found in other countries.
Inflammation has a significant role in the progression of coronary heart disease. It has identified novel inflammatory ‘biomarkers’ which independently predict the risk of coronary heart disease.
A score derived from a combination of ‘biomarkers’ improves risk estimation for events such as heart attacks.
- Depression is related to coronary heart disease after adjustment for certain biomarkers.
In conclusion PRIME is a unique study, based in Northern Ireland, investigating various aspects of atherosclerotic disease including heart disease and strokes. The study has resulted in over 75 research papers in major peer-reviewed journals. The output from PRIME is widely recognized as making a major contribution to the understanding of risk factors underpinning the development, progression and indeed prevention of cardiovascular disease.