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PRIME-Cognition Study

Principal Investigator

Dr Bernadette McGuinness

Centre for Public Health

School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences

Queen’s University Belfast


Name of the Study 

PRIME-Cognition: Periodontitis and future cognitive decline.


Why is this Study important? 

Periodontitis is widely known as gum disease; it is an inflammatory condition caused by the bacteria which build up on the surface of the teeth known as dental plaque. Almost two-thirds of those aged 65 or older have either moderate or severe periodontitis. Studies have suggested that it could increase the risk of later dementia.


What is the Research question/ aim?

- What does the Study test? How will patients / participants help in achieving this aim?

We aim to revisit 1400 men who took part in the Prospective Epidemiological Study of Myocardial Infarction (PRIME) in Northern Ireland from 2001-2003. All men with teeth had a periodontal examination, a genetic test and blood stored; samples of dental plaque were collected from 727 men at this time and we identified what bacteria were present. There is also evidence that nutritional status impacts upon cognition. We aim to carry out a cognitive assessment in all surviving PRIME men, along with analysis of fresh and stored blood samples and genetic analysis to ascertain if prior periodontitis and/or inflammation increase the risk of dementia. We have also included short questionnaires about general health, dental health and diet; and anthropometric measurements (weight, height, waist circumference and grip strength) These additional measures will allow complete assessment of dental, cognitive status and nutrition during the 25-year follow-up of men in PRIME.


What the Study involves

-Attendance (Duration and number of visits):

1 visit per participant. Duration (1.15 Hrs)

-Tests / questionnaires that the patients / participants will encounter:

First Wave: Nutrition assessment, bloods and collection of questionnaires

Second wave: Cognitive assessment plus nutrition assessment, bloods and collection of questionnaires.


400 participants have already had a cognitive assessment so their visit will entail:

Height, weight, BMI, waist, hip and mid-arm circumference, grip strength.

Blood sample for cytokine measurement.

Collection of Food Frequency Questionnaire, dental questionnaire, Geriatric Depression Scale and the Bristol Activities of Daily Living Scale.


Remaining 500 participants as above plus ACE-R cognitive examination (incorporates MMSE).


Who can take part in the Study?

-What, if any, are the specific eligibility criteria?

Men who took part in the Prospective Epidemiological Study of Myocardial Infarction (PRIME) in Northern Ireland from 2001-2003.


Contact Information

Angela Mullan


Phone number: 028 9097 6101

Social Media links:



NI Clinical Research Facility,
U Floor, Belfast City Hospital,
Lisburn Road, Belfast, BT9 7AB

Tel:+44 (0)28 9504 0342

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