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Battelle Continues Data Coordination Center Work for TMD Cooperative Agreement

Posted on Oct 2, 2013

Columbus, OH. 2-Oct, 2013—Battelle has been awarded a $5.2 million follow-on contract to serve as the data coordination center for a series of important studies led by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with funding from the National Institutes of Health. The information gained from the study, called Orofacial Pain: Prospective Evaluation and Risk Assessment (OPPERA), will shed light on pain treatment and the causes of temporomandibular disorders, also known as TMD.

Battelle served as the Data Coordination Center for the original seven-year OPPERA study and recently won another contract to continue as the Survey Design and Data Coordination Center for the next phase of the project, also known as OPPERA-II. Eleven peer-reviewed papers have been produced from the first phase of the study (they can be viewed here) and eight TMD onset or incidence papers will be published soon in an invited supplement to the Journal of Pain.

The contract calls for Battelle experts to coordinate collection and analysis of comprehensive sociodemographic, psychosocial, symptom, medical, clinical, sensory, autonomic and genetic data. The data was collected from 6,000 participants recruited through the UNC-CH Dental School and three collaborating research centers (University of Florida, University at Buffalo and the University of Maryland).

“The treatment of pain is changing,” said Battelle Health & Analytics General Manager Sudip Parikh. “Pain treatment is a specialty in and of itself. It’s not only a quality of life issue—the economic aspects of TMD treatment are extremely important. Plus, the Institute of Medicine reports that chronic pain affects about 100 million American adults—and also costs the nation up to $635 billion each year in medical treatment and lost productivity."

The first phase of the study investigated the effects of a candidate panel of 350 genes and a comprehensive set of physiological, psychological and clinical factors on the risk of developing the painful TMD. The results showed how combinations of risk factors initiate acute episodes of TMD in people with no history of the condition.

The second phase of the study will investigate risk factors and predictors of the transition from acute TMD to chronic TMD. It will use new genotyping technologies to identify potential genetic contributions to the disease. OPPERA-II also is investigating other pain conditions, including: headache; low back pain; irritable bowel syndrome, and widespread body pain, including fibromyalgia. Together, these five pain conditions affect at least 20% of Americans.

“We’re looking at ways to treat the root cause,” Parikh said. “First, we want to understand which patients have the disorder and what initiates it. Then we should be able to determine the best treatment.”

Battelle staff will conduct numerous surveys and collect epigenetic data from the thousands of participants in this second phase. It showcases Battelle’s strength at performing large-scale, multi-site clinical studies and mixed methodological prospective data collection. In the first phase of OPPERA, Battelle created the centralized web-based Information Management System that controlled the electronic infrastructure supporting the entire data collection and management effort, which has been updated to accommodate the new OPPERA-II protocols.

About Battelle

Every day, the people of Battelle apply science and technology to solving what matters most. At major technology centers and national laboratories around the world, Battelle conducts research and development, designs and manufactures products, and delivers critical services for government and commercial customers. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio since its founding in 1929, Battelle serves the national security, health and life sciences, and energy and environmental industries. For more information, visit 

Media Contacts

For more information contact Katy Delaney at (614) 424-7208 or, or T.R. Massey at (614) 424-5544 or





Media Contacts

Katy Delaney
Director, Media Relations
Office: 1.614.424.7208

T.R. Massey

Senior Media Specialist
Office: 1.614.424.5544