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Pain and Your Brain
May 30, 2015 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm$10 - $30
Think about the last time you stubbed your toe or got a paper cut. Pain stops you in your tracks and really focuses your attention, doesn’t it? What about more serious pain, like a pulled muscle, broken bone, migraine, childbirth?? Although pain certainly doesn’t feel that way (except a headache), it really is all in your head. Wouldn’t you like to know the science behind pain? How can amputees can have real ‘phantom limb’ pain in limbs they no longer have? How do researchers study something so subjective and impossible to see? What’s the difference between short-lived pain and chronic pain and what are the various options for treating both kinds? Why do certain medications for pain become controversial? Come hear fascinating insights into the phenomenon that everyone (except people with a fortunately rare condition in which they don’t feel pain) has experienced but always wishes to avoid. (Advice for dealing with your ‘pain in the neck’ colleague will not be addressed.)
Melissa Farmer is a clinical pain neuroimager at Northwestern University whose research focuses on pain perception and consciousness. She earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, where she developed animal models of chronic pain based on her experiences with chronic pain patients. Her training in mindfulness, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and existential therapy were critical learning experiences during her clinical internship at the Montreal General Hospital’s Pain Centre, founded by Ronald Melzack and Patrick Wall, who created the Gate Control Theory of Pain that established the brain’s central role in pain perception. Dr. Farmer moved to Chicago in 2011 to collaborate with Vania Apkarian in his Pain and Passions Laboratory to study brain abnormalities in patients with phantom limb pain, irritable bowel syndrome, urologic/bladder pain, vulvar pain, and low back pain. Dr. Farmer’s current work focuses on the role of the brain in mediating pain perception, as well as the brain’s long-term adaptations to chronic pain, including changes in communication patterns and anatomy.
Jay Joshi is a nationally recognized Anesthesiologist and Interventional Spine and Pain Management physician and is considered a national “Key Opinion Leader” in pain management. He completed an Internal Medicine internship at Northwestern and residency and fellowship at Henry Ford Hospital. He has served as the Medical Director of Pain Management at a large hospital in the Chicago area while simultaneously maintaining a private practice. His current research emphasis encompasses central sensitization, and upcoming publications focus on a comprehensive new mechanism of action that may provide the missing link allowing the public to better understand the complexities of chronic pain. In addition, he is one of only a handful of Anesthesiology/Interventional Pain physicians nationally involved in stem cell treatments.
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