Seeing Pain

From left, Mark Frankel of AAAS, Cindy Steinberg, David Thomas, Edward Bilsky, and David Borsook.]

From left, Mark Frankel of AAAS, Cindy Steinberg, David Thomas, Edward Bilsky, and David Borsook.

Chronic pain affects more than 100 million people in the United States and is a leading cause of suicide as well as an economic drain of more than a half-trillion dollars a year, according to the Institute of Medicine. It’s also one of the “invisible” disorders, like depression, and people who have chronic pain can find themselves misunderstood, shunned, and locked out of the treatment they need. Worse, in many cases, there is no good treatment.

“We really need to accelerate research into the neuroscience and neurobiology of pain,” said activist and chronic-pain patient Cindy Steinberg during a panel discussion on the topic at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington, DC, on Wednesday.

Continue reading

New in Cerebrum: The Latest on Migraine and Sleep

A front-page headline of the Nov. 19 New York Times read: “Sleep Therapy Seen as an Aid to Depression.” A few days later, an editorial on the topic chimed in with: “Most psychiatrists have very little training in dealing with insomnia. As the head of the Duke University study told Mr. [Benedict] Carey, psychiatrists have largely ignored the body’s complex circadian cycles.” Migraine image

Psychiatry’s loss may be neuroscience’s gain, however, as recent advances in understanding the relationship among the circadian rhythms, the brain’s hypothalamus,and a mutated gene suggest. The topic is the focus of “Migraine and Sleep: New Connections,” our Cerebrum feature for December.

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: