With so many variables, some researchers have suggested that the best scientific entry point to examine TMJD is during its earliest stages, before the full-blown complexity of advanced disease clouds the investigative picture.
This thinking and progress in studying the basic biology of pain led to the launch of OPPERA in September 2005. It marks the first-ever, large prospective (meaning, looking forward in time) clinical study of TMJD and, more broadly, a chronic pain condition.
The OPPERA Study involves four investigative units: University of Florida in Gainesville, directed by Dr. Roger Fillingim; University of Buffalo-SUNY, directed by Dr. Richard Ohrbach; University of Maryland at Baltimore, overseen by Drs. Joel Greenspan and Ronald Dubner; and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, directed by Drs. Gary Slade, Eric Blair, Shad Smith, Luda Diatchenko, and William Maixner, who is also OPPERA's program director. Mr. Charles Knott, with the Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio, served as the director of the Data Coordination Center.
Investigators at the four study sites now have completed tracking 3,200 healthy male and female volunteers, ages 18-44, from three to five years. As expected, a subset of approximately 200 volunteers developed their first bout(s) of TMJD, and researchers are currently analyzing the study data to determine the factors associated with the disease's onset.
The publications in the Journal of Pain, however, stem from an associated but distinct baseline study a
|Contact: Bob Kuska|
NIH/National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research