Future Leaders in Pain Research
2006 Grant Recipient: Beth D. Darnall, PhD
Oregon Health & Science University
A Prospective Investigation of Immunologic Response to Negative Cognition in Persons with Chronic Pain
Please state which institution you are currently conducting research.
Oregon Health & Science University Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine
How did receiving the Future Leaders in Pain Research Grant impact your career in pain research?
The Future Leaders in Pain Research Award allowed me to secure additional funding on the topic of stress, catastrophizing, and inflammatory responses. Awards included a K-12 award, a private grant from ZRT Laboratories, and a grant from the Medical Research Foundation of Oregon. The Future Leaders award also facilitated the expansion of my pain research career in other directions. The award came at a critical time very early in my independent career and essentially served as the stepping stone for all of my research. My research, in turn, helped foster my expertise in pain care, education, and advocacy. Importantly, the Future Leaders award allowed me to establish myself as a researcher who focuses the sex differences and sex specifics of women with chronic pain.
What is your current research focus? Briefly describe the importance of this work and how it advances the APS goals, mission, and your own personal development.
I have 3 main research foci. (1)Expanding access to mirror therapy, a low-cost treatment for phantom pain. In 2011 the International Association for the Study of Pain funded me and a team to deliver workshops in 3 regions of Vietnam and certify Vietnamese physicians, nurses, trauma workers, and physical therapists in the technique. This project meets the missions of improving pain education, pain treatment, and advocates for removing barriers to care in impoverished countries. We are currently collecting outcomes data. (2)A second line of research focuses on quantifying stress and inflammatory responses after pain catastrophizing. I have just finished the second phase of this study (the pilot project was funded by Future Leaders). I conducted roughly 90 experiments in pre- and post-menopausal women. This study aims to elucidate pain mechanisms and how stress and psychological factors contribute to pain pathophysiology in women with chronic pain. We hope to have preliminary results available later in 2012. (3)A third line of research examines predictors for opioid prescription in women with chronic pain, and also the risks and consequences of long-term opioid use in women. This work is important because the impact of sex and sex differences have been an overlooked aspect of the opioid conversation. These studies support a goal of improved and specified treatment for women with chronic pain.
Are you still an APS member? If yes, do you feel that it has been of value to your professional development?
Absolutely! I was a member of the 2012 Scientific Program Committee, the Ethics Committee, and was recently elected to the Nominating Committee. Participating in the APS annual conference has been an important component for the development of my pain research career. Being a member of APS has allowed me to foster my leadership at the national level, and work with a wide variety of pain leaders in the U.S.