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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.

Advocacy Tips: Personal and Legal

  • Oct 27, 2016

Stephanie Mensh recently wrote a blog for the Disruptive Women in Health Care website. The title is, Getting What You Need From the System: Tips for Advocating. Ms. Mensch and her husband were in their 30's when he suffered a stroke. As she said, "Most caregivers learn to be personal advocates by "on the job" training. Her advice is valuable and we would like to share the personal and legal advocacy portions of it with you.

Personal Advocacy

Most caregivers learn to be personal advocates by “on-the-job” training, usually starting with hospital, medical, and therapy providers, then health insurance. Here are some tips to help you improve your personal advocacy:

  • Make a written list of your needs and questions, and go after the most important first.
  • Research as much as possible from insurance policies, medical brochures, treatment plans, and other sources.
  • Talk to other caregivers and ask for advice, especially for the names and phone numbers and emails of people who were helpful to them.
  • Call and ask for the person or department that specifically handles the services or questions you need answered. Ask for the exact spelling of that person’s name.
  • Write down the date, time, person’s name, and topic discussed in any phone calls. Keep this in a file with your other materials and research.
  • Be persistent. This may mean calling every day. This may also mean asking another family member or friend to call on your behalf.
  • If you feel that your questions are not being answered, or you are not getting the appropriate services, find an outside professional, agency or organization that can intervene on your behalf.

Legal Advocacy

Sometimes the only way to get the services or resources you need is by taking legal action with the help of a lawyer.

Legal advocacy does not necessarily mean going to court. Most often, a lawyer can advocate for you through telephone calls and correspondence. Most legal actions relate to contract or financial problems, such as insurance companies paying claims, enforcing federal protections regarding employer’s sick leave/family leave  policies, or negotiating with creditors to prevent foreclosure or bankruptcy.  If you have been denied social security disability or other benefits, an attorney can file an appeal.

When Paul had his stroke, we decided to refinance the mortgage on our house. Our lawyer prepared a specific “power of attorney” so I could attend settlement alone, since Paul was too ill to leave the hospital.

Attorneys specialize in different areas.  Look for one who specializes in your particular problem. Ask your family lawyer to refer you to a specialist, or contact the local bar association, or local legal aid organization. The American Bar Association has online referral links: http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/findlegalhelp/home.cfm

Don’t wait for a family crisis.  It is never too early to have a will, a power of attorney for financial/business affairs, and a power for health matters, as well as a living will that will provide instructions on life support if you become critically ill.

TMJ Disorders

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