Discovering Medical Conditions Associated with Periodontitis Using Linked Electronic Health Records
The rapidly widening adoption of electronic health records has accelerated the digitization of patient records in various healthcare domains, including dentistry and medicine. At Columbia University, such electronic records have been used to develop a Dental Data Warehouse at the College of Dental Medicine and a Clinical Data Warehouse at NewYork-Presbyterian. Many patients have records in both databases.
This study describes a method for interdisciplinary record linkage and high-throughput association mining between one dental condition, i.e., periodontitis, and all recorded health conditions without selecting certain medical diseases a priori. We selected periodontitis because it is known to be associated with systemic chronic diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. The developed data-driven method successfully replicated known medical conditions associated with periodontitis based on a literature review of the findings. Further, the method also uncovered an association between prostatitis and periodontitis. A plausible biological mechanism for the connection between prostatitis and periodontitis is their mutual role in inflammatory pathways and TGF-beta production. Future studies are warranted to validate this new potential association and identify its possible clinical significance.