Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Future of Epigenetics in Pain Research | Pain Research Forum

Epigenetic mechanisms impact gene function without affecting the underlying DNA sequence, and are one way in which the environment can have long-lasting effects on the genome. Epigenetics has been slow to catch on in the pain field compared to many other branches of science and medicine, but that may be about to change. Emerging research is beginning to show how epigenetics can help explain why particular individuals are more vulnerable to chronic pain than others, reveal the mechanisms underlying the transition from acute to chronic pain, and identify new targets for pain therapeutics. So argued co-presenters Stephen McMahon and Franziska Denk, King's College London, UK, in a PRF webinar titled Pain Epigenetics: Current Research and Future Challenges, which took place on April 16. The talk was followed by a panel discussion with Chas Bountra, University of Oxford, UK, and Santina Chiechio, University of Catania, Italy. Laura Stone, McGill University, Montreal, Canada, moderated the event.

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Former Players: NFL Teams ‘Conspired’ To Push Painkillers « CBS Miami

The theory that painkillers were pushed to NFL players to keep them on the field has has circulated for years.
Now hundreds of former players are bringing the issue to court after they filed a lawsuit claiming all 32 NFL teams, their doctors, trainers and medical staffs often illegally obtained and provided painkillers to players.
The lawsuit reprises some of the allegations made in a federal lawsuit last year on behalf of 1,300 former players against the NFL. That complaint was filed in May, 2014 and dismissed in December by Judge William Alsup of the U.S. Northern District in California. Alsup wrote that the collective bargaining agreement between the league and the NFL Players Association was the appropriate forum to resolve such claims. That decision is being appealed.
The new lawsuit was filed Thursday in the U.S. Northern District of Maryland. It names each NFL team individually as a defendant and lists 13 plaintiffs, including Hall of Fame cornerback Mel Renfro of the Dallas Cowboys and Etopia Evans, the widow of Charles Evans, a running back who played eight years with the Minnesota Vikings and the Baltimore Ravens and retired after the 2000 season. Evans died of heart failure in October 2008 at age 41.
"This lawsuit alleges intentional activity by the teams, not negligence," said plaintiffs' attorney Steve Silverman. "It's another part of a unified effort to provide health care and compensation to the thousands of former players who have been permanently injured or died as a result of playing professional football."
Both lawsuits contend NFL teams and their medical staffs withheld information from players about the nature and seriousness of their injuries, while at the same time handing out prescription painkillers, anti-inflammatories and other dangerous drugs to mask pain and minimize lost playing time. Among other claims, the players contend prescriptions were filled out in their names without their knowledge.
The new lawsuit also claims that several former head coaches and assistants — among them, Don Shula, Howard Schnellenberger, Wayne Fontes, Mike Holmgren and Mike Tice — warned players they would be cut from their teams unless they took painkillers and returned to the field.
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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Solicitation of Public Comments on Draft National Pain Strategy - The Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee (IPRC)

A core recommendation of the 2011 IOM Report: Relieving Pain in America  is:  "The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services should develop a comprehensive, population health-level strategy for pain prevention, treatment, management, education, reimbursement, and research that includes specific goals, actions, time frames, and resources." The IOM report highlighted specific objectives for the strategy:
  • Describe how efforts across government agencies, including public–private partnerships, can be established, coordinated, and integrated to encourage population-focused research, education, communication, and community-wide approaches that can help reduce pain and its consequences and remediate disparities in the experience of pain among subgroups of Americans.
  • Include an agenda for developing physiological, clinical, behavioral, psychological, outcomes, and health services research and appropriate links across these domains.
  • Improve pain assessment and management programs within the service delivery and financing programs of the federal government.
  • Proceed in cooperation with the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee and the National Institutes of Health's Pain Consortium and reach out to private-sector participants as appropriate.
  • Involve the appropriate agencies and entities.
  • Include ongoing efforts to enhance public awareness about the nature of chronic pain and the role of self-care in its management.

The Department of Health and Human Services charged the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee (IPRCC) with creating a comprehensive population health-level strategy to begin addressing these objectives.

National Pain Strategy: 
A Comprehensive Population Health-Level Strategy for Pain (draft)