This is the 20th consecutive year that The TMJ Association advocacy efforts have resulted in report language. Report language tells agencies of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that elected officials are concerned about specific issues. This directive has a powerful influence on the decisions made by the government agencies. We've established personal contacts with staff and elected officials, and have garnered their support by reporting regularly on TMD research, as well as letting them know what we, the patients, need. The U.S. Congress remains vigilant to the needs of the TMD patients as well as to the progress the NIH has and continues to make on their behalf.
We want the best science this country has to offer for these devastating conditions and we are fortunate to have the support of members of the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Services Appropriations Subcommittee, responsible for funding the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This support deserves our thanks; take a moment to send a note of appreciation to the members of the committee.
Temporomandibular Disorders [TMD].—The Committee appreciates the advances that have been made as a result of NIDCR funding of research on TMD pain and urges the Institute to continue to lead this effort. Major findings that have emerged confirm that TMD is one of several chronic pain conditions co-occurring in some patients at odds greater than chance. The Committee strongly urges NIDCR to collaborate with other ICs to address these comorbid conditions. The Committee commends the Institute for working with NIAMS and NIBIB to organize the Temporomandibular Joint Working Group, which is charged with assessing the state of the science on the temporomandibular joint.
Temporomandibular Disorders [TMD].—Many people who have TMD suffer from conditions that routinely affect other joints in the body, such as trauma, arthritis, and fibromyalgia. However, researchers investigating other joints too often ignore TMD because they consider temporomandibular joints to be a subject for dental researchers only. The Committee notes that the Temporomandibular Joint Working Group has improved collaborations among ICs that should have a role in TMD research but believes that NIAMS, as well as NIBIB, should participate more fully, so that NIDCR is not expected to carry the workload alone.
The NIH, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary federal agency that conducts and supports medical research. With the support of the American people, the NIH annually invests over $30 billion in medical research. The NIH is comprised of 27 Institutes and Centers. It provides leadership and financial support to researchers in every state, and throughout the world. Helping to lead the way toward important medical discoveries that improve people’s health and save lives, NIH scientists investigate ways to prevent disease, work to determine causes, and establish treatments, and even cures for common and rare diseases. One of those 27 components is the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), which supports the bulk of research on TMD. Because of the complexities of TMD, an increasing number of agencies of the NIH are recognizing that they have a significant role in solving the puzzle of TMD.