CURRENT NEWS - JUNE 2002

 

Feedback Expected Soon from Washington Regarding Meetings in Which JJAMD Participated

JJAMD has been informed that there will be a report coming soon regarding the meetings we participated in during May.   We will share this information when received.

Men’s Health Issues Publicized   

There is so much health information written or spoken about everywhere on every subject, but women are usually the focus of all subjects.  Men are often shortchanged in terms of helping them to understand that it is not a sign of weakness to seek medical health care when symptoms occur.

The June 9th Issue of Parade Magazine has a helpful Article on Men’s Health.  Of particular value is the explanation as to why men are more reluctant to present for routine checkups--which makes them more vulnerable for risky health issues—and can overlook early warning signs for preventing issues particularly peculiar to males.  This attitude applies to their being vulnerable to TMJ Disorders, as well.

The Parade Magazine article Sunday June 9 –p.6 “Why Guys Don’t Go To The Doctor,” contains a lot of good advice on several men’s health issues, although TMJ is not mentioned. [www. Parade.com].  Since the Parade article there have been print and media attention to this subject as well.

Massachusetts will Increase Dental Board Oversight.   More Evidence to Validate why JJAMD Cannot Provide Referrals.  

Some recent cases has brought the lack of State Board Dental oversight to the attention of the Boston Globe in the May 26 Issue [“Few Dentists in Mass. Face Discipline”].  The Globe article states “bad dentists can escape state discipline for years because the dental board has a backlog of nearly 500 cases, some over half a decade old.”  Even in those cases that have been heard, only 40 of 555 dentists have been disciplined.  “ We have dentist out there who shouldn’t be practicing,” said Dr. Frederic S. Mackler, the board’s chairman.   Budgetary problems [of course---what else?]  are given as the reason for the failure to take disciplinary action in grievous cases.  Although we do not know how many TMJ cases are in the “pipeline” from what we hear from the public and patients, that there are many.   Lack of governmental oversight applies to the medical profession as well, although one reads more about Physicians being disciplined than Dentists.

  This Year Alone JJAMD Has Received Over 50,000 Hits On Our Website As Well As Calls And Faxes From All Over The World.  Many Ask For Referrals And Specific Advice. 

TMJ is still not a science, a discipline and even an “art”. Hardly a day  goes by that there is not a report of bad medical/dental practice or flawed  research.  In addition many medicines, both prescription and  over-the-counter, that we considered safe are reported out as dangerous or  with harmful side effects. [i.e. St. Johns Wort etc.]  At the same time the  FDA is recalling drugs, often long after they have been on the market.     Patients and the public still do not know where to go for help and look to the Patient Advocacy Organizations for a “passport” to immediate solutions.  It is important to note that, while JJAMD disseminates helpful, important,  and useful patient and professional educational materials and information,  but as an advocacy organization the Foundation cannot provide doctor  referrals or specific medical/dental advice. Our reasons, which were validate by the 1996 NIH TMD (TMJ) Technology Assessment Conference Panel,  include:

TMJ remains a controversial dilemma. Treatments are still largely experimental, with no consensus on cause or cure. JJAMD’s written information is intended to be helpful to TMJ patients and the public and includes a “plain-talk guide” from the patient’s perspective. We hope you will use  this information to challenge and explore your treatment options with your  health care advisors, as well as to promote prevention. 

JJAMD’s mission remains to advocate for awareness; education; health  insurance coverage; dignity for TMJ patients; self-help support groups,  independent scientific research from the Patients Perspective; legitimizing  the Jaw Joints as “Joints” and getting the Medical Professions and other  healthcare disciplines to include Jaw Joints and TMJ disease and disorders  within their paradigms. We encourage individuals to mount a visible,  proactive grassroots self-help movement in their communities to more speedily  and judiciously elicit much needed help and attention to diagnoses and  treatments, and to access their legitimate entitlements, and promote  appropriate research and education to help eradicate the TMJ Disorder. We  need to advocate constantly for health promotion and prevention.

On an optimistic note, JJAMD does see positive movement in the field of TMJ.   As shown in our recent Washington visit there are winds of positive change in  the year 2002. Some quality basic research studies are underway.  Some  insurance companies have shown signs of becoming more sensitized to the  necessity of providing TMJ coverage as a standard medical benefit. The  Medical Profession and the Scientific Community are “peeking in” and  engaging in more discussion and scientific discourse. NIDCR under Dr. Tabak,  has identified TMJ as a priority issue for inter-agency cooperative research.  But, of course, like anything complex, it takes time and grassroots urging  to put pressure on these institutions to “do the right thing in a timely  manner.” The patients, through advocacy and political efforts must lead the  way to solution of their own health issues --- which is the way it has always  been.