BruxAppResearch is an innovative tool that introduces smartphone-based EMA (Ecological Momentary Assessment) of awake bruxism, with an outstanding potential for research purposes due to the impressive number of individuals that can be recruited for scientific investigations.
We extracted the following line from the BruxApp presentation paper, which was published by Daniele Manfredini and colleagues in the Medline-indexed journal Minerva Stomatologica (2016).
“… a novel smartphone-based approach to the study of bruxism.
As for the “definite” AB diagnosis, due to the difficulties to perform hour-long electromyographic (EMG) recordings of jaw muscles’ activity during wake-time, could be also based on the so-called ecological momentary assessment (EMA) methodology, which enables an on-time report of the condition under study (e.g., jaw clenching, teeth contact, teeth grinding).
Keeping this in mind, while progress has been achieved to understand many aspects of SB and its potential multifaceted and time-variant nature. There is still plenty of speculations about the topic of Awake Bruxism that is likely related to psychosocial issues, but improvement in knowledge on the topic is limited by the difficulties to achieve a definite diagnosis in the clinical setting. The application of EMA principles to the study of such a phenomenon may be the best strategy to overcome these problems.
The basic principle of all EMA approaches proposed over the years is that subjects can report on the outcome variable under investigation/assessment (e.g., symptoms, affect, behavior, feeling, cognition) close in time to experience. To this aim, progress in smartphone technology has recently opened up a new era for EMA, since the development of smartphone-based EMA systems will ease research designs in many medical fields.
Within this framework, we conceptualized a smartphone app (BruxApp) for a Ecological Momentary Assessment of awake bruxism and its possible associated symptoms. Users receive several alerts at random frequency during the day, and they give a yes/no report on eight main items (i.e., Teeth clenching; Teeth contact; Muscle tension/contraction; Teeth grinding; Presence of non-dental pain; Teeth soreness; Pain when moving the mouth; Difficulty to open the mouth)…”
The BruxApp Research Project provides different national and international research projects under the leadership of Daniele Manfredini, Professor in Bruxism and Temporomandibular Disorders at the University of Padova, Italy, a leading expert in the field who will carry on researches in cooperation with other experts and colleagues from around the world.
The creation of a common database on bruxism, aiming to improve knowledge on the different topics concerning this phenomenon, is the “dream to pursue”!
As usual for high-level projects, research findings will be submitted to international, peer-reviewed journals by the BruxApp Research Team, which also includes the software ideator Dr. Alessandro Bracci, the Analyst Programmer Goran Djukic and the various research coordinators outlined below.
On this purpose, it is noteworthy that the project leader and all researchers are carrying on investigations with for free, without any form of financial support and are moved by their enthusiasm and willingness to enlighten such a difficult topic.
The recent international consensus on bruxism (San Francisco 2017) has further reconceptualized bruxism. To this aim, a new definition is under preparation, and new assessment paradigms are being discussed.
Among these, the introduction of an Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA), which provides an on-time self-report of the current condition, looks a very promising strategy to get deeper into the evaluation of several epidemiological, etiological, and management issues concerning Awake Bruxism. Based on that, a smartphone application (BruxApp) has been ideated and developed to apply the EMA principles by the use of currently available technology.
The BruxApp International Multi-Center Research Project for the study of the epidemiology of bruxism has been ideated and is currently coordinated by Prof. Daniele Manfredini. It already includes qualified researchers from several countries, who are taking care of data collection in the different countries, with a platform that works with the following languages: English, Italian, German, Portuguese, Japanese,French, Spanish, Polish, Finnish, Dutch, Brasilian Portuguese, Hebrew, Lithuanian, Bosnian, Greek, Chinese, Arabian and Croatian language.
These are the main ongoing national projects:
Scientific supervisor Prof. Daniele Manfredini
◊ Prevalence of awake bruxism behaviors in a sample of young adults
(University of Padova and Hospital of Treviso – Leading author: Prof. Luca Guarda Nardini)
◊ Multicenter longitudinal investigation on the natural course of awake bruxism behaviors in healthy young adults
(University of Padova and University of Ferrara – Leading authors: Prof. Luca Guarda-Nardini and Prof. Luca Lombardo)
◊ Psychological features of individuals with awake bruxism
(University of Ferrara – Leading author: Prof. Luca Lombardo)
◊ Correlation between EMA-diagnosed awake bruxism and real-time EMG-measured jaw muscles’ activity
(Università of Ferrara – Leading author: Dr. Alessandro Bracci)