Dear BC Pain Research Network members,
We are pleased to announce that you can now find and follow us on Twitter! Follow us @PainResearchBC
Also, surf on over to our website
to find out about Network news and upcoming events; search our researcher directory
to find potential research collaborators on your next grant; and be included in our directory
when you fill out the short web-form. We hope the minimal time commitment in providing this information will be rewarded with outstanding networking, education, and collaboration opportunities with the ultimate goal of encouraging more and better research on pain and its management in our province. We will post the following information you provide on the researcher directory: Your name, job title, institution, website, email address, research area (CIHR themes) and your brief summary of research interests.
Thank you for your participation.
Feature Story: Badness of Pain and Opioids
Workshop on Friday, Nov 9, UBC Robson Square Campus
Drs. Murat Aydede and Adam Shriver
Few people would doubt that non-pathological pain serves a useful biological function. In this sense such pains are instrumentally (extrinsically) good. But such pains' utility seems to depend on their being intrinsically bad. This is the sense in which most moral philosophers think of pain as an intrinsically bad sensation. Pathological and chronic pain, having lost its utility, is thus doubly bad. Yet what makes pain an intrinsically bad sensation is poorly understood. Most (maybe all) other sensations aren't intrinsically bad. Our sensory and perceptual experiences stemming from our sensory modalities have an informative (sensory-discriminative) function. Some of them may have a default hedonic or affective value (positive or negative — they may feel good or bad), but all seem nevertheless modifiable depending on the needs and context of the organism. Positive or negative affect has thus a motivational and learning-theoretic role in modulating behavior. This is why it makes sense to separate the sensory-discriminative and affective-motivational functions in sensory experiences. Since Melzack and Casey's 1968 article, most pain researchers have also embraced this distinction (along with cognitive-behavioral function) for pain.
This one-day workshop will concentrate on the significance of this distinction by taking a closer look at the affective-motivational aspect of pains which is the source of their intrinsic badness, and thus the main ground for pain's relevance to moral philosophy, human wellbeing, and to health professionals and researchers. Endogenous opioid systems and midbrain dopaminergic systems have been heavily implicated in the implementation of the rewarding and punishing effects of sensory stimuli. There is strong evidence that reward and punishment can be further decomposed into at least three distinct functions: hedonic value (positive or negative/"liking or disliking"), motivation ("wanting"), and learning (behavioral reinforcement). Addiction is widely thought to involve malfunctioning or neural maladaptation in one or more of these functions and the underlying mechanisms. Thus it's no surprise to find both the analgesic and addictive effects of exogenous opioid use or abuse.
This workshop will bring experts in the role opioids play in pain and pleasure and survey their common mechanisms as well as outline the causes of the emergence of the current opioid crisis. The focus is to bring the basic science to shed light on what can be done to address the crisis. The ethical aspects of the crisis as well as the foundational question about where the badness of pain and the goodness of pleasure comes from will also be discussed. Confirmed participants so far include: Morten Kringelbach (Oxford Neuroscience), Howard Fields (UCSF Psychology), Mark Sullivan (Univ of Washington Medical School), Adam Shriver (Oxford Applied Ethics), David Silvers (UBC Applied Ethics), Murat Aydede (UBC Philosophy).
For more information about this workshop including how to register please RSVP to Murat Aydede.
We are pleased to note that the following book,
with one of our BC Pain Research Network members as an editor (Ken Prkachin), has just been published:
Vervoort, T., Karos, K., Trost, Z. & Prkachin, K.M. (Eds.) (2018). Social and interpersonal dynamics in pain: We don’t suffer alone.
This groundbreaking analysis moves our knowledge of pain and its effects from the biomedical model to one accounting for its complex psychosocial dimensions. Starting with its facial and physical display, pain is shown in its manifold social contexts—in the lifespan, in a family unit, expressed by a member of a gender and/or race—and as observed by others. These observations by caregivers and family are shown as vital to the social dynamic of pain—as observers react to sufferers’ pain and as these reactions affect those suffering. The book’s findings should enhance practitioners’ understanding of pain to develop more effective individualized treatments for clients’ pain experience, and inspire researchers as well.
Among the topics covered:
- Why do we care? Evolutionary mechanisms in the social dimensions of pain.
- When, how, and why do we express pain?
- On the overlap between physical and social pain
- Facing others in pain: why context matters
- Caregiving impact upon sufferers’ cognitive functioning
- Targeting individual and interpersonal processes in therapeutic interventions for chronic pain
The foregoing is the book jacket description of the book—I believe it captures it very well. Interest in social parameters of pain has burgeoned over the last couple of decades, with this book presenting rich ideas and research very effectively. It adds weight to the often neglected “social” dimensions of the biopsychosocial model of pain, at the same time as it relates the several dimensions to one and other. I’m pleased to see chapters by network members (Ken Prkachin), including a couple by myself, as well as contributions by my former trainees and colleagues. I’m confident my enthusiasm for the book is warranted.
Cheers, Ken Craig
Congratulations to Drs. Murat Aydede
and Adam Shriver
for their recent publication of a letter to the editor in the June issue of PAIN. Their letter which can be read here
argues for better formulation of the definition of “nociplastic pain”; a term recently added by IASP Taxonomy to be included as one of three mechanisms of pain.
Dr. Kip Kramer
will be teaching a Seminar in Pain
course for fourth year graduate students in Kinesiology. This course will cover the concepts and mechanisms of acute pain, pathophysiology of chronic pain, and pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions for pain management. The goal of the course is to prepare students for understanding and managing persons in pain (e.g., physical therapist). For more details about the course and to register for it see Seminar in Pain. If you are interested in guest lecturing, please email Kip
Summary of BC Pain Research Network Activities
Seminars: We held a Network meet-and-greet BBQ on July 13 at Ken’s house. It was so nice to catch up with and discuss fall plans for the network. We are looking forward to continuing our seminar and colloquium series and attending the upcoming workshops.
Meet and Greet Seminar Series: The next meet and greet seminar will be August 29 from 6:00-7:30 pm in the UBC Pharmaceutical Sciences Building, room 3110, 2405 Wesbrook Mall. This seminar will be led by Dr. Helene Bertrand and Dr. Bernie Garrett.
Dr. Bertrand is currently conducting a double-blind, randomized study comparing menthol and menthol + mannitol creams for painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy. She also treats low back pain and trigeminal nerve pain. Her talk is titled A New Way to Diagnose and Treat Low Back Pain in Under Five Minutes with >70% Success: Chart Review.
Dr. Garrett is currently working on the use of virtual and augmented reality in clinical applications. His talk is titled Virtual Reality and Pain Research: A new frontier or smoke and mirrors?
Please RSVP to Stacey Herzer; firstname.lastname@example.org
. If you are willing to be a speaker at our next meeting, please let Stacey know, we are looking for 2-3 volunteers to give a 10 min talk followed by feedback and open discussion. We will include a brief summary of your talk in the next issue of our newsletter to be distributed to the network.
BC Pain Research Network Trainee Meet and Greet Seminar:
Monday, September 17 from 4-6 pm in Pharmaceutical Sciences Building room 3110. All interested trainees are welcome and encouraged to attend. This meeting is being organized by Ella Weik
and will be an informal seminar where you can give a short talk about your current projects or a great paper you recently read to stimulate discussion and feedback from your peers and mentors. Please email Ella
to RSVP. Light supper will be provided.
: The Pelvic and vulvo-vaginal pain workshop will be held on Thursday, 20 September 2018 from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Please email Heather Noga
if interested. As featured above, the workshop on Badness of pain and opioids will be held on November 9, please email Murat if interested. As well, Pain assessment without verbal self-report will be held October 24. More details coming soon, so please check our website
Pain Day: After a productive meeting to discuss pain day, plans are beginning to coalesce. We are planning to hold this event in either late October or Early November depending on availability of speakers and venues. The objective will be to showcase research group and trainee research for both members of BCPRN and broader community interested in pain and pain management.
We hope to publicize this event broadly including through our website and other communication channels to attract network members, organizations interested in pain research and challenges in pain management, and people living with pain. We welcome investigators with all levels of pain research experience; particularly trainees including RAs, postdocs, and undergraduate students.
It is hoped that we will be able to present research in the basic science and biological domain, clinical science, work on psychosocial parameters and interventions, and the broader healthcare context that governs pain and its management. We are considering incorporating an art show similar to the heartfelt images
to raise awareness. We are seeking expressions of interest from anyone who would like to present their science, submit art, and comment about the event’s format. Given that IASP has agreed to focus on pain education in 2018 and its importance to both pain research and practice, we are hoping to feature a guest speaker who will address the issues in pain education. Please email Stacey Herzer
with expressions of interest, feedback, and willingness to serve on the event organizing committee. We will hold the next planning session is mid September.
- Registration due Aug 15
- Stage 1 due September 19, 2018; 10:00 am
- Registration due Aug 15
- Application Deadline: September 12, 2018; 10:00 am
- The purpose of this current funding opportunity is to strengthen the evidence base and expand cannabis research in these identified areas, to build research capacity and/or to inform the development of future larger scale research projects.
- Supports cannabis and pain management: Research into the potential therapeutic use of cannabis (recreational or prescribed) for pain management.
- $125,000 for up to 1 year
- Registration deadline: September 2018
- Application Deadline: October 2018
- This funding opportunity is designed to allow health care practitioners and policy makers to gain evidence on the effectiveness of opioid crisis-related interventions
- Address the pressing intervention-related evidence needs of knowledge users within one or more pillars of the Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy (CDSS).
- Increase the application of knowledge in health care and/or health services policy and practice related to one or more pillars of the CDSS, in order to address the most urgent elements of the opioid crisis, including opioid-related mortality rates.
- Encourage the evaluation of interventions that consider sub-populations and/or the biological and social determinants of problematic opioid use
- Up to $100,000 for 1 year
- Registration deadline August 21, 2018
- Application deadline: September 5, 2018
- The ultimate goals of this call are to develop solutions for:
Older adults experiencing periods of inactivity in order to inform transitions in care and/or improve their quality of life.
- $200,000 for up to 18 months
- Registration deadline: July 24, 2018
- Application deadline: August 24, 2018
- Develop relevant research capacity leading up to future TiC funding opportunities;
- Inform actionable health system changes within the TiC Focus Areas by supporting systematic identification and collating of transitions in care knowledge gaps and/or identification of effective evidence-based interventions and/or policies;
- Facilitate the identification of relevant transitions in care stakeholders and partnerships, with a particular focus on partnerships that can support community-based research and approaches that have potential for equitable spread and scale between communities, at a regional and/or national level.
- $100,000 for up to one (1) year
- Application deadline: October 10, 2018
- $7,000 to $25,000 for events, and up to $50,000 for other outreach activities; higher amounts for outreach activities may be considered if well justified
- Application Deadlines (4 cycles/year): Nov 1, 2018
- Connection Grants support workshops, colloquiums, conferences, forums, summer institutes, or other events or outreach activities that facilitate:
- Disciplinary and/or interdisciplinary exchanges in the humanities and social sciences;
- Scholarly exchanges between those working in the social sciences and humanities and those working in other research fields;
- Intersectoral exchanges between academic researchers in the humanities and social sciences and researchers and practitioners from the public, private and/or not-for-profit sectors; and/or
- International research collaboration and scholarly exchanges with researchers, students and non-academic partners from other countries.
- The GGI program is specifically designed to promote and enhance Canada’s international innovation efforts. The program supports researchers who aim to commercialize technology by pursuing collaborative international research and development (R&D) opportunities through partnerships with key players in foreign markets. Eligible beneficiaries are Canadian innovators from small or medium size enterprises, universities and nongovernment research centres.
- GGI provides assistance by contributing up to 75% of eligible expenses, up to a maximum of $75,000 for any approved project. Eligible expenses may include international and local travel, accommodation, meals, meeting costs, legal fees to support formalized partnerships, and other costs related to international collaboration.
- Application Deadline: Continuous.
Other Canadian Funding competitions:
- Support the development and publication of a clinical or translational project that immediately impacts research projects within CARRA or results in a larger collaborative grant that furthers the CARRA mission.
- $50,000 for 1 year
- LOI due Sep 1, 2018
- Proposal should: evaluate key health sector activities and interventions i.e. naloxone; overdose prevention services; acute overdose risk case management; and treatment and recovery
- Proposal should: prioritize cultural safety and humility, as well as peer empowerment and employment as essential strategies for a supportive environment.
- Proposal should include provision of a performance evaluation framework
- The evaluation will be carried out over two years
- Budget is $650,000 over two years
- Proposal deadline: August 15, 2018
- Provides seed funding for innovative early-stage research projects with the potential to address the unmet medical needs of frontotemporal degeneration.
- $60,000 for 1 year
- Proposal due Sep 7, 2018