For years The TMJ Association has kept the needs of the TMJ patients on the radar screen of Congress.
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).
We've established personal contacts with staff and elected officials, and have garnered their support by reporting regularly on Temporomandibular Disorders research, as well as letting them know what we, the patients, need. In our advocacy efforts we are fortunate to have the volunteered advice and guidance of Peter Reinecke, former Chief-of- Staff to Senator Harkin, Chairman of the Subcommittee.
Temporomandibular Disorders [TMD].—The Committee recognizes the advances that have been made as a result of NIDCR funding toward understanding the pain associated with TMD and encourages the Institute to continue basic and clinical research in this area. The Committee also encourages NIDCR to collaborate with other ICs regarding the etiology and pathogenesis of TMD as well as the co-morbid chronic pain conditions and disorders that solely or predominately affect women. An under-researched aspect of these disorders is the jaw joint. NIDCR should work with NIAMS and NIBIB to develop research opportunities in the area of joint pain and dysfunction. Topics that need further research include: the kinematics and biomechanics of the jaw in normal and disease states; the development of biomarkers in bone, muscle, and cartilage that are predictive of temporomandibular disease progression;the interactions of the temporomandibular joint musculoskeletal system with the nervous system; and the development of non-invasive measures of temporomandibular joint bone, cartilage, and muscle structure, degradation, and repair. The Committee urges NIDCR, NIAMS, NIBIB, and other relevant ICs to organize a workshop to assess the state of the science and identify research gaps and future scientific directions to advance understanding of 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. Therefore, the Committee calls on NIAMS to collaborate with NIDCR and NIBIB to bring the intellectual and scientific resources within these Institutes to the study of the jaw anatomy and physiology and the complex neural, endocrine, and immune system interactions that orchestrate jaw function and trigger jaw joint pathology. NIAMS should integrate findings from studies of the structure, mechanical function, metabolism, and blood flow of bone, joints, and muscles with studies of central and peripheral neural pathways, as well as the endocrine, paracrine, and cytokine factors that impact upon craniofacial structures as a means to understanding the underlying causes of jaw pain and dysfunction.
Thanks are due. Write to the individual members of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee showing your appreciation for their continued interest and support of TMJ research and patients’ needs.
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