Future Leaders in Pain Research
2009 Grant Recipient: Laura E. Simons, PhD
Children's Hospital Boston Mayo Family Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation Center at Children's Hospital at Waltham
Pain-related fears in children and adolescents with chronic pain and their parents: Mechanism of change and implications for treatment
Please state which institution you are currently conducting research.
Children's Hospital Boston
How did receiving the Future Leaders in Pain Research Grant impact your career in pain research?
I believe that the Future Leaders in Pain Research Grant positioned me to be funded for my K23 Career Development Grant from NIH.
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.
My research focuses on children and adolescents with chronic pain who have been non-responsive to previous treatment interventions. My underlying hypothesis is that pain-related fear is a critical mechanism of action in understanding and intervening with these suffering and non-functioning youngsters. In an effort to objectively assess pain-related fears among children with chronic pain, I have developed the Fear of Pain Questionnaire (FOPQ), which is the first of its kind in the pediatric literature to assess these fears. As I continue to validate the FOPQ in other pain populations (e.g., headache, language translation), I have delved into fMRI training through a K23 career development award from the NIH to examine neural correlates of pain-related fears and treatment response. I am focusing on children with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), a pain condition where the hallmark symptoms are maintained by disuse and neglect of the affected areas of the body, hypothesized to be maintained through behavioral avoidance and pain-related fears. I ultimately would like to weave this innovative technology into my line of research to better assess mechanisms of change and understand the neural basis of treatment response.
Are you still an APS member? If yes, do you feel that it has been of value to your professional development?
Yes, I do believe that maintaining my membership in APS is an important aspect of maintaining connections with fellow pain researchers and staying updated on clinical and research breakthroughs for pain.