Dr. Robert J. Gatchel, professor and chairman of the Department of Psychology at the University of Texas at Arlington, has received a $4.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue his clinical research on temporomandibular joint disorders, known as TMJ.
Dr. Gatchel described this common ailment as a “pain or discomfort in the jaw or even locking while eating, talking or yawning.” While early intervention helps cure it, ignoring it can lead to a worsening of the condition, he said.
About 75 percent of the U.S. population experience symptoms of TMJ in their lifetime. Between 5 and 10 percent will require professional help.
Within a period of six to 12 months, more than 5.3 million U.S. residents will seek treatment for TMJ. A conservative estimate of direct costs of treatment alone stands at $2 billion.
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