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New Report on Temporomandibular Disorders: Priorities for Research and Care

Over a year and half ago, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) began the most comprehensive study ever undertaken on Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD). The study assessed the current state of TMD research, education and training, the safety and efficacy of clinical treatments, and associated burden and costs.

Statement by NIDCR Acting Director on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Report on Temporomandibular Joint Disorders

I am pleased to announce the release of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) report, Temporomandibular Disorders: Priorities for Research and Care. As underscored by the comprehensive report, temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJDs) are a diverse and still poorly understood set of complex, painful conditions affecting the jaw muscles and tissues, temporomandibular joints, and associated nerves. Clearly, there is much more to be understood, and these conditions continue to confound medical and dental health care providers and researchers.

Have you seen the film Dark Waters?

The Film. Dark Waters is about attorney Robert Billott's real-life 20 year legal battle against DuPont chemical for releasing toxic waste - perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA - into Parkersburg, West Virginia's water supply, with devastating health effects on the townspeople and livestock. PFOA, also known as C8, is a man-made chemical. It is used in the process of making Teflon and similar chemicals known as fluorotelomers.

Online TMD Diet Diary Research Project

Online TMD Diet Diary Research Project The TMJ Association received the following request from Professor Justin Durham and his research team at Newcastle University. We encourage TMJ patients to participate in this project as it is an under researched

Drug Induced Bruxism

The authors of this article state that orofacial movement disorders (bruxism) are treated typically by dental professionals and not by those specialists (neurologists) researching and treating the other movement disorders (Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, tremors, etc.). Again, this is more evidence of the complexity of TMD and the need for multidisciplinary research and treatment in TMD.

Potent Opiates Without Awful Side Effects?

  • Dec 25, 2013

A generation ago, scientists discovered that the nervous system produces its own morphine-like, pain-relieving substances—the endorphins—which latch onto receptors on the surface of selected nerve cells to initiate their analgesic action. These “opioid” receptors come in several subtypes given Greek letter names (mu, kappa, delta) and respond to a range of opioid drugs such as morphine and codeine. The problem is that cells with opioid receptors are abundant in the nervous system where they serve multiple functions, and prescription opioids are not selective. The result is that most pain patients taking such drugs experience unpleasant side effects, including nausea, constipation, lower respiration rate, and so on, not to mention the potential for addiction. If chemists could refine their drug designs to target selected subtypes of opioid receptors the hope is that these unwanted side effects would be eliminated.

That hope is closer to reality now as a result of the research of two teams of investigators published in the online March 21 edition of Nature. A team led by Brian Bobilka and Sébastien Granier at Stanford University School of Medicine has detailed the structure of the mu opioid receptor, which responds to morphine and other analgesics, and a team at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California headed by Raymond Stevens has done the same for the kappa opioid receptor. The receptor structures are complex molecules that criss-cross the nerve cell membrane and each contains a large pocket that could bind a candidate drug at different spots. The idea would be to design molecules that would bind tightly and selectively to particular subtypes and in such a way as to activate just the right pathways to relieve pain and not produce unwanted side effects. No one is promising that new magic bullet pain drugs will be produced overnight. To complicate matters, researchers are discovering that the receptor structure is not static, but can alter its form, which could in turn alter what compounds could fit into it. At least investigators have a starting point for rational drug design, ushering in what some are already calling a new era in opioid pharmacology.

Joan Wilentz, The TMJ Association

Source: Pain Research Forum,

Update: The same teams of investigators have determined the structure of two moreopioid receptors. Stanford scientists solved the structure of the delta receptor and the Scripps team the nociceptin/orphin FQ receptor.

TMJ Disorders


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In Treating TMJ

To view or order a free booklet about TMJ Disorders, visit the National Institutes of Health website.

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