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Invited Commentary
April 30, 2020

Burning Mouth Syndrome—Opening the Door to a Psychosomatic Approach in the Era of Patient-Centered Medicine

Author Affiliations
  • 1Applied Research Division for Cognitive and Psychological Science, European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy
  • 2San Paolo Hospital, ASST Santi Paolo e Carlo, Milan, Italy
  • 3Department of Oncology and Hemato-Oncology, University of Milan, Milan, Italy
JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2020;146(6):569-570. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2020.0524

In this issue of JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, J.-Y. Kim et al1 report a population-based study using the Korean National Health Insurance Service–National Sample Cohort database that collected data on a large nationwide cohort. The main aim of the study was to investigate the incidence of psychopathological (anxiety and depression) and neurological (dementia and Parkinson disease) conditions in patients with a clinical diagnosis of burning mouth syndrome (patient group) who were matched with individuals without burning mouth syndrome (comparison group). The hypothesis was that a shared neuropathic mechanism common to all these conditions might be a factor in the increased incidence of each condition in patients with burning mouth syndrome. The results indicated a high incidence of anxiety and depression solely in the patient group and no differences in the incidence of dementia or Parkinson disease. The finding of a comorbid association of burning mouth syndrome with anxiety and depression is not new,2 but it requires answers because it represents further substantial indications of both a scientific challenge and a clinical problem. From a scientific point of view, the findings indicate a need for further research into the role of psychological factors in burning mouth syndrome.

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