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HEARD ON THE BEAT / HEALTH

Test Can Spot Those Prone to Gum Disease

March 25, 1997|BARBARA MARSH

Here's more proof that you've gotta floss regularly.

A research team at Medical Science Systems Inc. recently estimated that about 30% of the population may be genetically susceptible to severe gum disease.

Kenneth Kornman, a founder of the Newport Beach-based biotech company, led a research team that discovered a genetic marker that can identity individuals at high risk for developing severe gum disease.

The team, publishing its findings in the January issue of the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, found that individuals with the marker are six times more likely to develop severe disease when infected with common plaque-causing bacteria, than those without.

Medical Science Systems, founded 11 years ago, is using the study results this year to begin promoting a service that tests for the marker. The company says the test should enable dental professionals to target individuals for preventive care.

In January, the company began test-marketing its service and aims to start selling it in September. An official said the test will likely be priced at $250 to $300.

Barbara Marsh covers health care for The Times. She can be reached at (714) 966-7762 and at barbara.marsh@latimes.com

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