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J Orofac Pain. 1996 Spring;10(2):126-40.

Neuropsychologic deficits and clinical features of posttraumatic temporomandibular disorders.

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  • 1Department of Dentistry, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Previous studies have shown that characteristics of posttraumatic temporomandibular disorders (pTMD) differ considerably from those of nontraumatic or idiopathic temporomandibular disorders (iTMD). Both the rate of recovery and the amount of treatment required appear to be different for both groups. In this blinded study, 14 patients with iTMD and 13 patients with pTMD were examined. Patients submitted to a variety of reaction-time tests and neuropsychologic assessments to test their ability to cope with simple and more complex tasks with and without a variety of cognitive interferences. Clinical examination was used to assess signs of TMD. Eleven of the subjects (six iTMD, five pTMD) consented to a second phase of the investigation, whereby the patients were studied with single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) using 99mTc-hexamethylpropyleneamineoxime (HMPAO). For simple and complex reaction-time tests, the pTMD group was significantly slower than the iTMD group (P < .05 to P < .001). Other neuropsychologic assessment tools such as the Consonant Trigram Test and the California Verbal Learning Test indicated that pTMD patients were more affected by both proactive and retroactive interferences and were more likely to perseverate on a single thought. In clinical examination, pTMD patients demonstrated greater reaction to muscle palpation than did iTMD patients (P < .05). The SPECT results suggested that there were mild differences between the two populations, and further ther studies are required to confirm this finding. The results lend support to the concept that there are differences between pTMD and iTMD populations. It is suggested that although patients with pTMD may have some similarities to those with iTMD, the former population may benefit from being handled somewhat differently and should be assessed and treated using a more broad, multidisciplinary treatment paradigm. These results must be confirmed in studies of larger populations.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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