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Large-scale jaw pain study sheds light on pain disorders
Date:11/10/2011

ic, biological, psychological and genetic factors associated with chronic cases of the condition, including:

  • Chronic TMD became more frequent with increasing age in women, but not in men. This refutes previous views that the risk was greatest during a woman's early childbearing years and decreased thereafter.

  • A wide range of biological and psychological factors appear to contribute to the condition. Compared to pain-free individuals, people with TMD were much more sensitive to mildly painful sensations, they were more aware of body sensations, and they experienced greater heart rate increases during mild physical and psychological stress. The findings provide evidence that chronic TMD is at least partially linked to a person's perception of and ability to suppress pain, which is determined by the body's physiological regulatory systems.

  • Researchers also identified new and important genetic factors that appear to be linked to chronic TMD. Several genes, including some known to influence stress response, psychological well-being and inflammation, were identified and may result in new targets for drugs to treat temporomandibular joint disorders and related chronic pain conditions.

The longitudinal study builds on earlier work by members of the multi-university research team, who designed a broad conceptual model to determine the condition's causes. Maixner said the new findings go far towards validating that model, which was first published in 2006.

"The model, like a compass to a traveler, predicts the route ahead in the development of specific persistent pain disorders," Maixner said. "In this case, we predicted that biological and psychological risk determinants, which are modified by both life history and genetic factors, contribute to the onset and persistence of TMD."

The research team will publish additional findings and insights as they continue to analyze the study data.


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Contact: Patric Lane
patric_lane@unc.edu
919-962-8596
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Source:Eurekalert

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