Pain and the Control of PainPain transmission, regulation and management

Published January 2009 Updated February 2010 18 lectures
Prof. Allan Basbaum
University of California, San Francisco, USA

The problem of pain can be studied at multiple levels. On the one hand, there is intense interest in the mechanisms through which injury messages are transmitted to the central nervous system. Thus, the basic science talks will cover the properties of “pain” transmission neurons, including the nociceptor, its chemistry... read moreand molecular biology and the organization of spinal cord and ascending pathways that carry the message to the brain. This section will be completed with a talk covering the recent breakthroughs that imaging studies have provided. The scope will definitely include a discussion of the central and peripheral nervous changes that occur when injury, either to tissue or nerve occurs and persists and the place of genetics in our understanding of pain mechanisms.

Other talks will address the plethora of mechanisms through which pain can be regulated, so that the relationship of those laboratory-identified mechanisms can be understood in a clinical context. There will also be clinical talks on the major types of persistent pain, both inflammatory and neuropathic, as well as the different approaches to their management. These will include pharmacological approaches, psychological interventions, and a discussion of the placebo. Finally, we will include a talk on the unique features associated with pain in children.