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Cranial Bones & The Jaw

The idea that cranial bones shift enough during jaw clenching to cause trauma to the brain and circulatory system is not as far-fetched as may first appear. The jaw muscles are capable of exerting hundreds of pounds of force on the teeth and much higher forces are generated during sleep,(two to six times as much force) Dr Williams has been looking at this problem in every way possible since it was first conceived in 1987. In 1987 he had three very ill MS patients who all had very abnormal jaw-joint characteristics. He set out to examine the jaw joints of deceased MS patients to find out if there was something that could account for these abnormalities. After looking a dozens of non-MS skulls he found three cadavers and made some basic comparisons. There appeared to be shape and positional variations in these preserved specimens and so he next looked at unpreserved (recently deceased) cadavers. On each and every MS cadaver he found the same evidence of mobility using direct pressure and video comparisons. When 3D imaging became available in the 90's he was able to show further evidence of the bones shifting under bite forces. After searching for a non-invasive way to look at pressure changes inside the living skull he found the PPLL ultrasound system developed by LUNA innovations for the space program in San Diego California. This device produced a sound wave that created echos as it passes through the brain and bounces of the inner surfaces of the skull. These echos could be locked into a software system that then gave the distance between the inner surfaces of the skull in live, real-time analysis. It was sensitive enough to show the slight bone displacement that occurs inside the head when the heart beat pulses into the skull. Now the idea that bones moved during clenching could be measured in real time as the jaws were clenched.

The pilot study completed in 2006 finally proved that this is a real phenomenon and suggests that it may be pervasive in the MS patient population. The amount of movement was a surprise and the high incidence rate in MS vs non-MS was a strong confirmation that this is a serious component in the development of neurological illness. Dr. Williams was able to examine the skulls of one Alzheimers cadaver and one from an ALS patient. Both showed signs of deviation from normal skulls but different from MS.

At this point in time, no case of MS has been evaluated that did not show abnormalities in the sutures between the bones of the skull that are impacted by the jaw muscles. The statistical evaluation of the 2006 ultrasound study indicated that the chance of the measured bone movement being a chance occurrence is .ooo8 (very very iffy).

The main motivation for this continuing this work came from the number of MS patients who were treated for bite discrepancies had rapid and complete resolution of their MS symptoms. Many patients noticed slight improvements but failed to have the dramatic recovery. It was very clear that there was more going on than just jaw clenching and bones moving.

 

 

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