The Division of Intramural Research Program (DIR) at NCCIH conducts basic, clinical, and translational research focusing on the role of the brain in perceiving, modifying, and managing pain. Research projects include investigating the role of the brain in pain processing and control, and how factors such as emotion, attention, environment, and genetics affect pain perception.
The program includes research that explores how chronic pain produces changes in the brain that can modify how the brain reacts to pain medications like opioids. Commonly used complementary practices to control pain, such as meditation and yoga, are also investigated.
The program is an integrated basic science and clinical research effort, conducted at the behavioral, systems and cellular levels, exploiting the state-of-the-art research tools and resources at the NIH. Projects involve collaborative efforts with other intramural neuroscience, imaging, and mental and behavioral health research programs. Chronic pain disorders studied include fibromyalgia, back pain, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis and more. The NCCIH DIR provides a rich environment for the training and development of clinical and basic scientists.
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Neural and Psychological Mechanisms of Pain Perception (ClinicalTrials.gov)
- NIH Intramural Blog: Yoga Helps Pain and Brain: Five Questions with Dr. Catherine Bushnell (09/09/19)
- Research Spotlight: PIEZO2 Ion Channel Presents New Target for Pain Research (10/10/18)
- Research Spotlight: Pain-Induced Changes in the Brain’s Opioid System May Explain the Limited Effectiveness of Opioid Therapy in Chronic Pain (5/22/18)
- Research Spotlight: Study Provides New Information on Mechanisms Involved in Touch Sensation and Self-Perception of Body in Space (9/22/16)
- Article: “The Evolution of Alternative Medicine” (The Atlantic)
- The Functional and Anatomical Dissection of Somatosensory Subpopulations Using Mouse Genetics
Understanding Pain Seminar Series—NIH Pain Special Interest Group
- M. Catherine Bushnell, Ph.D.
Pain and Integrative Neuroscience Branch
- Lauren Y. Atlas, Ph.D.
Section on Affective Neuroscience and Pain
- Yarimar Carrasquillo, Ph.D.
Section on Behavioral Neurocircuitry and Cellular Plasticity
- Alexander Chesler, Ph.D.
Section on Sensory Cells and Circuits
- Brian Walitt, M.D., M.P.H.
Clinical Investigations Branch
M. Catherine Bushnell, Ph.D.
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
National Institutes of Health
Bldg. 10, CRC, Room 4-1743 MSC 1302
Bethesda, Maryland 20892-1302