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Fibromyalgia and TMD in Young Women - a Multiracial Study

In a study funded by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research and co-funded by the NIH's Office of Research on Women's Health, led by Octavia Plesh, MD, investigators study risk factors associated with temporomandibular disorder (TMD) in fibromyalgia in young women participating in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Growth and Health Study.

Clinical observations and reports show that the majority of people who see doctors for the widespread pain of fibromyalgia also have localized pain around the jaw and face region, a condition known as temporomandibular disorder (TMD).

Using questionnaires and clinical examinations, the researchers studied the prevalence (the total number of cases) and the incidence (the number of new cases over a given period of time) of fibromyalgia, regional chronic pain, and TMDs in a group of 1,500 women (half Caucasian, half African American) between the ages of 20 and 25. They also explored the potential relationships between these conditions.

The team found that the more widespread a woman's pain was, the more likely she was to have TMD. Interestingly, African Americans and Caucasians had similar patterns of pain, with the exception of temporomandibular pain, which occurred in about twice as many Caucasians as African Americans. The researchers are currently in the process of analyzing the data to determine other risk factors for TMD among young women with fibromyalgia.