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Big Data in Dentistry

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Big Data in Dentistry

In medicine, primarily in oncology, neurology and cardiology, researchers are already investigating numerous biomarkers in order to detect diseases as early as possible. Professor Dr. Andreas Keller, clinical bioinformatician at Saarland University, gave his audience an insight into what might be possible in the future in the field of dentistry.

He said that the examination of biomarkers in blood or saliva could provide information about diseases with a high degree of sensitivity. As an example, Keller mentioned certain RNA building blocks from blood cells of the immune system, which allow a statement to be made about existing inflammatory processes, such as in periodontitis. As a rule, the diseases can even be diagnosed in their early stages. However, molecular indications of diseases can also be found in saliva. Proteins or even complete bacterial genomes can now be collected from patient samples without great effort. Millions or even billions of data points are easily generated per patient. "Of course, this requires the help of algorithms and computers to evaluate the enormous amounts of data," Keller elaborated. "To do this, the composition of the bacteria in the mouth and any virulence and resistance factors that may be present then allow conclusions to be drawn about existing caries or a patient's caries risk." An important next step is now the translation from basic science to the patient.

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