Editor's Note: The news items on this page all originated from the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Anaheim, Calif., Jan. 21-26.

PLAQUE ATTACK A host of studies have bitten off the task of linking periodontitis with coronary heart disease. But without more evidence, scientists may find any cause-and-effect relationship between tooth disease and heart attacks hard to swallow, admitted James D. Beck, professor of dental ecology, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Beck hopes to gnaw at the nature of that relationship, for which epidemiological evidence continues to grow. In one unpublished study, Beck and colleagues compared arterial wall thickness and level of tooth decay of 4,000 Americans. Patients with periodontitis had thicker artery walls--a predictor of later heart disease. "What's the biology of this?" Beck asked. "Why should these associations exist?" Beck, masticating on the correlation, suspects that different immune...

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