An fMRI analysis of the functional organization within the brain of experimental superficial and deep orofacial pain [ 2007 - 2009 ]

Also known as: The effect of orofacial pain on brain activity

Research Grant

[Cite as]

Researchers: Prof Greg Murray (Principal investigator) ,  A/Pr Luke Henderson Prof Iven Klineberg Prof Vaughan Macefield

Brief description This project will investigate how the human brain processes a number of important aspects of human jaw muscle pain that are clinically relevant but poorly understood. For example, we do not understand why jaw muscle pain has such different behavioural effects to skin pain. Jaw muscle pain is associated with a significant emotional component not seen in with skin pains. Also, skin pain usually has a sharp or burning quality, is well-localized and is readily treated, while jaw muscle pain is a deep pain that has a dull, aching quality that may be referred to related sites of the face, head and neck. It is also not known why jaw muscle pain is more common in females in comparison to males. Chronic jaw muscle pain is a major symptom of patients with Temporomandibular Disorders, the most common form of non-dental orofacial pain and that involves pain in or about the jaw joint and-or jaw muscles, and often limitation of jaw movement. Chronic jaw muscle pain can have a severe effect on quality of life but its diagnosis and management is difficult. Despite the widespread prevalence of chronic orofacial pains, we have little information on the central processing of chronic human orofacial pain. This proposal will improve our fundamental understanding of how jaw muscle pain is processed in the brain. The way that the central nervous system processes and represents jaw muscle pain will help explain why these pains present differently in the clinic and should provide important information on the differences between females and males in the representation of jaw muscle pain. This information on the central processing of chronic orofacial pain is crucial to inform the direction of novel or specific management strategies. Our long-term goal is to improve the diagnosis and management of patients with Temporomandibular Disorders, and the present application represents a major new direction of research.

Funding Amount $AUD 307,526.33

Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants

Notes Standard Project Grant

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