CONTACT: C. LINDON LARSON
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-9569; fax (319) 384-4638
Release: Aug. 5, 2002
Long-term UI study expands with new grant focused on bone development
affiliated with the Iowa Fluoride Study -- a project that has monitored fluoride
intake, dental health and other factors in young children for more than a
decade -- has received a new grant to fund related research on bone development.
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) awarded
the $744,437 grant in spring 2002. These funds support expansion of the Iowa
Bone Development Study, an investigation of children's bone growth using participants
in the fluoride project. The new grant is the latest in a series of NIDCR
awards for the project.
The original fluoride study begun by Steven Levy, D.D.S., M.P.H., UI professor
of preventive and community dentistry and epidemiology, and colleagues has
spawned additional projects due to its detailed recording of participating
children's dietary habits, fluoride consumption and other factors. About 700
families currently participate in the study. Parents complete regular questionnaires
and accompany children to dental screenings every few years.
The Iowa Bone Development Study collects additional data on children's physical
activity and uses low-radiation X-rays to chart bone density and growth. Genetic
screenings also let researchers examine the effects of genes thought to influence
The new grant will help investigators gather information on participating
"This is the only study of its type where data are being collected
concerning parents' bone mass and density, dietary factors, genetics and physical
activity during adolescence and adulthood," Levy said. "These data
will be combined with similar children's data, and the family information
will help us better understand bone development."
The bone study already has yielded findings showing that increased physical
activity can improve children's bone health. Likewise, the fluoride study
has determined that fluoride intake varies more than researchers expected,
perhaps explaining why previous research has had trouble identifying factors
linked to dental fluorosis cosmetic changes to teeth associated with
fluoride exposure.An interdisciplinary team from the UI Colleges of Dentistry,
Liberal Arts and Sciences, Medicine, and Public Health conducts the study.
Levy's co-investigators include James Torner, Ph.D., professor and chair of
epidemiology; Trudy Burns, Ph.D., professor of biostatistics and epidemiology;
Marcia Willing, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of pediatrics; Kathy Janz,
Ed.D., associate professor of health and sport studies and epidemiology; John
Warren, D.D.S., M.S., assistant professor of preventive and community dentistry;
and Teresa Marshall, Ph.D., visiting assistant professor of preventive and
community dentistry. Julie Gilmore and Joan Grabin are project coordinators.
The project is conducted at and supported by the UI General Clinical Research
"Because of the stability of the population and cooperation in Iowa,
this is a perfect state in which to do a study like this," Levy said.
"Our staff is very appreciative of the families that have remained with
us for this long, and we hope to continue to make important contributions
to our understanding of bone health."