About eight million Canadians live with chronic pain. This affects both their physical and mental health, and can significantly affect their overall quality of life. Dr. Karen Davis, Canada Research Chair in Acute and Chronic Pain Research, is shedding light on what causes acute and chronic pain in order to design new personalized approaches to managing it.
She has already developed the influential concept of the “dynamic pain connectome” to describe the pattern of brain activity that represents the sensory, cognitive and affective aspects of pain. This concept has transformed research into individual and sex differences in pain and the roles of attention and plasticity in its variation. Now, she and her research team are combining brain imaging and psychophysical and behavioural assessments to determine how pain is represented in the brain and identifying biomarkers to predict treatment outcomes.