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Quantitative Assessment of TMJD-Induced Sleep Disorders and Prediction of Therapy Effectiveness

Team Members:
  • Samana AlGharbi
  • Archana Balan
  • Jiaqi Huang
  • Patrick Myers
  • Nausheen Tickoo
  • Michael Smith, PhD
  • Sridevi Sarma, PhD
  • Joseph Greenstein, PhD
  • Abhishek Dave


Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJD) is one of the most common orofacial pain conditions, affecting an estimated six to 12 percent of the US population, primarily women. In addition to pain, the disorder is characterized by sleep disturbance, a major contributor to decreased life quality for patients. TMJD diagnosis is currently highly subjective and is based on three scores which are extracted from patient diaries and questionnaires administered by sleep specialists: Cognitive, Somatic and Pain Catastrophizing scores. This research study split patients into three therapy groups: Behavioral, Cognitive and TMJD education. However, current literature has not yet explored the correlation between the sleep scores and the available therapies. Furthermore, the shortage of certified sleep experts, the subjective nature of the questionnaires, and the absence of objective diagnosis contribute to the improper diagnosis and treatment prescription for TMJD patients. This study provides a quantitative approach to assess TMJD by exploring associated sleep factors as demonstrated by sleep surveys and physiological features extracted from patient polysomnography. Our current investigation has demonstrated correlations as high as 0.75, between specific biological markers and patient sleep scores. These physiological markers can be employed to provide a more quantitative diagnosis for patient TMJD status. They will then be utilized in a predictive model to identify the best therapy type for each patient. The implementation of this model could have significant clinical impact by requiring less specialized physicians to properly prescribe therapy to TMJD patients, eliminating the gap between needed and current sleep specialists.

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