AMIA Annual Symphosium

Using big data to evaluate the association between periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis

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An association between periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis is believed to exist. Most investigations into a possible relationship have been case-control studies with relatively low sample sizes. The advent of very large clinical repositories has created new opportunities for data-driven research. We conducted a retrospective cohort study to measure the association between periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis in a population of 25 million patients. We demonstrated that subjects with periodontal disease were roughly 1.4 times more likely to have rheumatoid arthritis. These results compare favorably with those of previous studies on smaller cohorts. Additional work is needed to identify the mechanisms behind this association and to determine if aggressive treatment of periodontal disease can alter the course of rheumatoid arthritis.


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