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Centralized Pain in TMD: Is It All in the Head?

We are pleased to introduce Sophia Stone, a new contributor to The TMJ Association, whose passion is to separate TMD fact from TMD fiction. Sophia has a background in medicine and research and can draw on her personal experience as a TMD patient.

TMD and Burning Mouth Syndrome

A study in the International Journal of Dental Research reporting the latest update on Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS) noted two thirds of BMS patients also had Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD).

Stem Cell Study of Jaw Development Could Offer Insight Into Craniofacial Flaws

Scientists in the USC Stem Cell laboratory of Gage Crump have revealed how key genes guide the development of the jaw in zebrafish. These findings may offer clues for understanding craniofacial anomalies in human patients, who sometimes carry a mutation in equivalent genes.

Pain in Your Head Hurts More Than Elsewhere in the Body

Terrie Cowley, Co-Founder and President of The TMJ Association, often remarks that patients tell her that the pain they feel in their jaws is worse than pain elsewhere in the body.

2018 NIDCR and Hill Visits

On February 26, TMJA staff participated in the Friends of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) Patient Advocacy Council (PAC), an umbrella group comprising non-profit organizations that work together to advance dental, oral,

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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