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  • Pain States Versus Pain Traits: From the Clinic to the Brain

Pain States Versus Pain Traits: From the Clinic to the Brain

  • 20 Oct 2020
  • 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
  • Webinar


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Pain States Versus Pain Traits: From the Clinic to the Brain 

DATE Tuesday, October 20, 2020

TIME Newfoundland: 4:30 - 6:00 pm  |  Atlantic: 4:00 - 5:30 pm  |  Eastern: 3:00 - 4:30 pm  Mountain: 1:00 - 2:30 pm  |  Pacific: 12:00 - 1:30 pm

Chronic pain is often thought of as a unitary condition. However, people living with chronic pain can experience fluctuating levels of pain and its associated sensory, affective, cognitive, and motor symptoms. Thus, chronic pain should be considered as having trait and state characteristics (Davis and Cheng, Pain Reports 2019). An understanding of the features of pain states and trait is important to develop and interpret studies of underlying mechanisms of pain and can provide insight into the complexities of potential treatments. This symposium will examine 1) features of fluctuating (circadian) levels pain across several chronic pain conditions in humans and in an animal model (Nader Ghasemlou), 2) brain mechanisms associated with pain traits will then be presented (Etienne Vachon-Presseau), and 3) the concept of set points and linking brain features to pain states and traits (Karen Davis).

All speakers consented to session being recorded in our planning meeting.


 Nader Ghasemlou, PhD

Nader is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine, and the Centre for Neuroscience Studies at Queen’s University. The ultimate goal Dr. Ghasemlou’s research lab is to help identify new non-opioid therapeutic targets to reduce pain and help improve the lives of those living with pain. Projects in the lab are supported by CIHR and the SPOR Chronic Pain Network, NSERC, the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, the Canadian Pain Society, and the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, among others.


Etienne Vachon-Presseau, PhD

Etienne is Assistant Professor (joint) in the Faculty of Dentistry and the Department of anesthesiology at McGill University. He has dedicated the last 10 years of his research to unraveling the brain mechanisms regulating chronic pain. He completed his PhD degree in psychology under the supervision of Pierre Rainville at l’Université de Montréal (2006-2014) where he studied the impact of stress hormones on the brain in chronic back pain patients. He went on to conduct a post-doctoral fellowship under the supervision of Vania Apkarian at Northwestern University (2013-present) where he studied the brain properties predicting the development of chronic back pain and the response to treatment in the settings of randomized controlled trials. He is currently implementing a research agenda oriented towards combining brain imaging techniques with machine learning to predict health outcomes.



Karen D. Davis 

Karen Davis is a senior scientist at the Krembil Brain Institute and a professor in Department of Surgery and Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto. She obtained her PhD in Physiology at the University of Toronto and was a post-doctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University. Over the last 30 years, Dr. Davis has pioneered electrophysiological and brain imaging approaches to investigate mechanisms underlying pain, that has led to over 200 publications that have been cited over 20,000 times. Her current focus uses brain imaging and psychophysics to delineate brain plasticity associated with chronic pain, and individual factors that contribute to pain sensitivity and chronic pain treatment outcomes. Dr. Davis is also active in neuroethics; created a graduate student oath (published in Science), chaired the IASP presidential task force on the use brain imaging to diagnosis pain (published in Nature Reviews Neurology), and co-edited the book Pain Neuroethics and Bioethics. Dr. Davis is a former IASP councilor and currently serves on the Canadian Institute of Health Research Institute Advisory Board, and editorial boards of Pain, PainReports, eNeuro, and the Canadian Journal of Pain. She was a Mayday Fellow, has been inducted into the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, has received research, career and mentorship awards including the CPS Mentorship Award and CPS Distinguished Career Award. Karen currently serves as President of the CPS.


Jennifer Daly-Cyr, M.A

Jennifer is a person living with chronic pain. Her professional experience is in Marketing, Marketing Research and Strategic Planning. Jennifer volunteers as a Patient Partner with the Chronic Pain Network (CPN) as a member of the Patient Engagement Committee and the Knowledge Translation Committee, and as a participant in the Patient Advisory Group. She also participates in the Canadian Pain Care Forum.


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