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Combat and Warfare in the Early Paleolithic and Medically Unexplained Musculo-Facial Pain in the 21st Century War Veterns and Active-Duty Military Personnel

Bracha, Dr. Stefan and Person, Dr., COL, MC Donald A. and Bernstein, Dr. David M. and Flaxman, Dr. Norman A. and Masukawa, Nicole K. (2005) Combat and Warfare in the Early Paleolithic and Medically Unexplained Musculo-Facial Pain in the 21st Century War Veterns and Active-Duty Military Personnel. [Journal (Paginated)]

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Abstract

In a series of recent articles, we suggest that family dentists, military dentists and psychiatrists with expertise in posttraumatic stress disorder (especially in the Veterans Health Administration) are likely to see an increased number of patients with symptomatic jaw-clenching and early stages of tooth- grinding (Bracha et al., 2005). Returning warfighters and other returnees from military deployment may be especially at risk for high rates of clenching- induced masticatory muscle disorders at early stages of incisor grinding. The literature we have recently reviewed strongly supports the conclusion that clenching and grinding may primarily be a manifestation of experiencing extreme fear or severe chronic distress (respectively). We have recently reviewed the clinical and paleoanthropological literature and have noted that ancestral warfare and ancestral combat, in the early Paleolithic Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness (EEA) may be a neglected factor explaining the conservation of the archaic trait of bite-muscle strengthening. We have hypothesized that among ancestral warriors, jaw clenching may have rapidly strengthened the two primary muscles involved in biting, the masseter muscles and the much larger temporalis muscles. The strengthening of these muscles may have served the purpose of enabling a stronger, deeper, and therefore more lethal, defensive bite for early Paleolithic humans. The neuroevolutionary perspective presented here may be novel to many dentists. However, it may be useful in patient education and in preventing progression from jaw-clenching to chronic facial pain.

Item Type:Journal (Paginated)
Keywords:evolution, stress, unexplained medical symptoms, war
Subjects:Neuroscience > Neuropsychiatry
Biology > Evolution
Neuroscience > Neurochemistry
ID Code:5033
Deposited By:Bracha, Stefan
Deposited On:01 Aug 2006
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:56

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