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The research projects

All research projects are related to orofacial neurosciences in a broad sense and with particular focus on oral medicine, orofacial pain and oral function. Each research project is composed of three to four separate studies leading to three to four publications in international peer-reviewed journals. A strength for all the projects is the significant interaction between the SCON partners and the possibility of conducting a sub-part of the research project at another SCON site.

Aarhus University, Denmark:

Evaluation of diagnostic tools for orofacial pain differential diagnosis
This project will systematically assess the use of somatosensory profiling (quantitative sensory tests) and electrophysiological measures in experimental and clinical orofacial pain models in humans. The overall aim is to develop a toolbox in orofacial pain assessment.

Sensory-motor integration during mastication during orofacial pain
This project focuses on sensory and cognitive factors which will have an impact on mastication potentially leading to impaired food intake in orofacial pain conditions. Advanced tracking of the jaw, monitoring of muscle activity and force will be used to examine the control of mastication in experimental and clinical pain conditions.

Karolinska Institutet, Sweden:

Cortical plasticity in oral food processing with implications for oral rehabilitation
This project aims to further the understanding of control mechanisms during biting and chewing using sophisticated technologies for assessment of corticomotor pathways in humans. Neuroplasticity of the masticatory system will be examined with combinations of behavioral and electrophysiological tools with the aim of optimising rehabilitation of patients with loss of function.

Significance of peripheral biomarkers for the pathogenesis of chronic muscle pain
Accumulating evidence shows that the muscle levels of several biomarkers are elevated in painful human muscles, indicating that local ischemia and release of algesic substances ('inflammatory soup') may be of importance for the maintenance of chronic myalgia. The project aims to further explore the role of peripheral algesic biomarkers and the proteomic signature in muscle biopsies and plasma from patients with localised and widespread myalgia and their relation to pain and psychosocial factors for the pathogenesis of chronic myalgia.

Malmö University, Sweden:

Psychosocial evaluation in patients with orofacial pain and headache
This project will address current issues in psychometric profiling of patients with mechanistically different types of orofacial pains and headaches. These variables will be related to standardised sets of biomarkers in oral tissues and saliva.

Neuroimmunology and orofacial pain
A dysfunctional neuro-immune interface, for example abnormalities in the systemic anti-inflammatory cholinergic pathway, may play a role in the local pathogenesis. This project will study biomarkers from synovial fluid and blood in patients with or without tempromandibular joint arthritis in relation to somatosensory changes, illness response, psychosocial factors and peripheral inflammation, to improve knowledge regarding pathophysiology, diagnosis and prognosis evaluation.

Last updated by Maya Acharya