Chronic pain represents the most prevalent and expensive public health condition in the United States, affecting 100 million people in the United States with annual costs to society estimated at $635 billion dollars. This exceeds the combined costs of cancer, AIDS and heart disease. Importantly, while chronic pain affects individuals of all ages, races, and genders, it disproportionately impacts members of some population groups. For example, evidence suggests that chronic pain is more prevalent and disabling in older adults, but its neurobiological underpinnings have not been elucidated.
In the Cruz-Almeida lab, we currently have a broad interest in understanding the brain changes predicted by pain distinct from age-related brain changes. In particular, we want to understand how endogenous pain modulation leads or contributes to different pain, motor, and cognitive phenotypes. This work may have important clinical applications if we can find therapies targeted at such phenotypes. We also have a strong interest in testing new interventions with low adverse effect profiles in our older population.
We are currently pursuing studies in three general project areas. New students and postdocs candidates with interests in these areas should contact Dr. Cruz-Almeida. She likes to talk about pain and the brain, a lot.
Opportunities to Enroll in Research
The Cruz-Almeida Lab has a number of current and upcoming studies available for volunteers. We are currently enrolling participants in the following studies:
This project examines the different factors as they relate to the aging brain, including pain sensitivity, walking ability, and thinking and memory.
Do you have knee pain more days than not? This project examines the effects of Oxytocin on chronic pain in older adults with knee osteoarthritis.
This study aims to investigate the relationship between the brain and aging as it relates to mobility.
The Pain Research & Intervention Center of Excellence has three main research dimensions including basic research, human clinical research and translational research from animal to human models.