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Dentists in Distress

Fear of the dentist is practically a rite of passage in youth. Growing up, I wasn't exactly afraid of the dentist; rather, any excuse to leave school early was a powerful incentive. These days, I have a more complicated relationship with dentistry: I go to get answers and try to feel better, but I always pop a prophylactic ibuprofen or two in case my jaw protests from the oral gymnastics.

Patients in Los Angeles or New York City Needed for Clinical Study - Comparative Study of Women Considering or Currently Receiving Botox© Injections for TMJ Pain

Are you a woman with "TMJ" pain in facial muscles, who has either: a. recently had Botox© injections for your pain or b. not had Botox© for your pain but has thought about such treatment? If either is true for you, you may qualify for an observational research study centrally administered by the NYU College of Dentistry. It is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The purpose of this study is to understand potential health risks that may be caused by treating "TMJ pain" with Botox© injections.

Patients Front and Center at the 2018 TMJ Patient-Led RoundTable

It is still all too fresh in the minds of many patients. Fifty years ago, between the 1970s and 1980s, some 10,000 TMJ patients received Vitek jaw implant devices.

Funding Opportunities now available for the NIH Common Fund’s Acute to Chronic Pain Signatures program

The NIH Common Fund's Acute to Chronic Pain Signatures program aims to understand the biological characteristics underlying the transition from acute to chronic pain and what makes some people susceptible and others resilient to the development of chronic pain.

Opportunity to Voice Your Opinion: U.S. Government Officials Want To Hear from Patients with Pain

FDA Public Meeting on Patient-Focused Drug Development for Chronic Pain On July 9, 2018, FDA hosted a public meeting on Patient-Focused Drug Development for Chronic Pain. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/05/15/2018-10284/patient-focused-

Migraine and Coronary Artery Disease: A Genetic Connection

  • Dec 8, 2017

There has long been as association between migraine headaches and vascular (blood vessel) dysfunction of some kind, underscored by epidemiological studies and other research. New evidence for a genetic connection now comes from the analysis of several large data sets of each condition based on Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS). GWAS have been used to compare the genomes of a large number of patients who have a particular disease with a control group not having the disease. Investigators know that scattered across human genomes are hundreds of thousands of single places in the long chain of DNA where there is a variant of one or another of the four nucleotides that make up the genetic code (A, C, T and G). These sites are called single nucleotide polymorphisms, SNPs, pronounced SNPs. What investigators s hope to find in a GWAS is that the genomes of the diseased group share certain SNPs in common, which distinguishes them from the control group. These SNPs can then serve as biomarkers of risk for the disease. Indeed, they usually are located in or near a gene involved in the disease process.  

A group of Norwegian investigators* who had access to a number of independent GWAS studying SNPs associated with either chronic migraine (defined as at least 15 days a month of headaches for three months) or coronary artery disease (CAD) went the next step: They compared the SNPs found independently for the two diseases and discovered overlaps. Using complex statistical methods they further honed their search to zero in on three SNPs which turned out to be located inside genes of interest. Of this set the strongest link was to a gene that codes for phosphatase and actin regulator 1 protein. This protein is highly expressed in the brain, where it regulates synaptic activity and the forms of branches of nerve cells (dendrites). But It is also expressed in arteries where it is involved in the function of the endothelial cells lining the blood vessel walls, and in regulating the tension on the walls (called vasomotor "tone").   Investigators expect to use this kind of information as well as from the other genes of interest to shed light on pathogenic mechanisms that underlie both migraine and CAD.

*Reference: Winsvold BS, Bettella F, Witoelar A, Anttila V, Gormley P, et al. (2017) Shared genetic risk between migraine and coronary artery disease: A genome-wide analysis of common variants. PLOS ONE 12(9): e0185663. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0185663

Overlapping Conditions

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In Treating TMJ

To view or order a free booklet about TMJ Disorders, visit the National Institutes of Health website.

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