Where Are We with Pain?

At one session at a forum put on by One Mind for Research in Boston last spring, researchers described progress in treating the invisible wounds sustained by the brain, including post-traumatic stress disorder, concussions, and chronic pain (see earlier post: "Targeting the Effects of War on the Brain"). I learned a lot at the forum, but one comment by presenter Clifford J. Woolf, director of the program in neurobiology at Children's Hospital Boston, especially jumped out at me.

While we have made enormous progress in promoting survival after injury and great advances in rehabilitation, he said, "in fact an area that has really lagged behind relates to the pain associated with combat injury." I wanted to know more: Where are we in our ability to identify and treat this very common but frustratingly individual ailment?

I assigned reporter and author Kayt Sukel to investigate further. We've just posted her story "Is the Neuroscientific Study of Pain Lagging?" Short answer: We have been stuck but now with new tools we might tease out some answers sooner rather than later. Find out more at www.dana.org.

–Nicky Penttila

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