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The BHP Chronic Pain Health Integration Team: Helping those with chronic pain to access the support they need / A bit of a To and Fro with population pain science

25 February 2021

On 22 February 2021 Bristol Neuroscience hosted a webinar with Profs Candy McCabe (Director of the Bristol Health Partners Chronic Pain Health Integration Team / University of West of England) and Tony Pickering (School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience, University of Bristol)

Candy provided an overview of Bristol Health Partners' Chronic Pain Health Integration Team which brings together clinicians, academics, patients and carers to focus on improving the lives of those with chronic pain and supporting those who provide chronic pain services or care. 

Tony described recent and ongoing studies that have been forward and reverse translating pain neuroscience from animal to human including functional imaging in patients, microneurography, industrial partnerships and trials of novel preventative approaches that are benefitting from the people, expertise and facilities available in Bristol and GW4.

About Candy McCabe:

Candy McCabe is the Florence Nightingale Foundation Clinical Professor in Nursing  at the University of the West of England, Bristol and Dorothy House Hospice Care, Nr. Bath, UK. She is the South West Hub lead for the NIHR 70@70 Senior Nurse and Midwife Research Leaders programme and Director of the Bristol & Bath Integrated Pain Management Health Integration Team.

Her research and clinical interests directly relate to increasing our understanding of the mechanisms and potential therapies for those with chronic unexplained pain, such as CRPS, and for those with complex pain related to life limiting conditions. Her work has a particular focus on the relationships between chronic pain and the sensorimotor system. Candy joined Dorothy House Hospice Care in October 2019 as Head of Research.

Candy is a member of a number of national and international committees in the specialties of rheumatology and pain, co-founder and Chair of the CRPS UK Clinical Research Network, and Chair of the Scientific committee for the International Research Consortium for CRPS. She was the nursing representative on the NICE Guidelines committee for chronic primary pain and immediate past-Chair of the IASP Special Interest Group for CRPS. She is a past President of the British Health Professionals in Rheumatology and a past-member of the British Pain Society Scientific Committee. She is an NIHR Mentor and a strong advocate for clinical academic careers.

About Tony Pickering:

As an anaesthetist and pain clinician I am naturally interested in sensory and autonomic neuroscience. The nervous system has evolved sophisticated means to monitor and respond to changes in both the internal and external environment and these homeostatic processes are critical for health and survival of the organism. My laboratory studies the central control mechanisms regulating the discriminative and output responses to natural stimuli.

We focus on how the sensory and autonomic systems exhibit plastic changes in pathological conditions such as in chronic pain states (control of central sensitisation) and hypertension (altered autonomic rhythmogenesis). For these conditions to persist there is a failure or limitation in the normal central neural compensatory mechanisms, many of which share overlapping circuitry within the brainstem.

The current focus of much of our work is upon central neuromodulator systems that regulate pain perception including noradrenaline and opioids. Our group uses both cellular and systems neuroscience approaches (patch clamp recording, viral vectors, optogenetics, in vivo/in situ electrophysiology and behavioural testing) along with complementary clinical investigations (involving quantitative sensory testing and human imaging).

The overall goal of our work is to provide a better understanding of these neural dysfunctions, which may be either primary or permissive factors in diseases, with a view to identifying novel treatment targets.

Further information

A full list of webinar recordings is available on our webpage.

The next BN webinar is taking place on 16 March 2021, we will welcome Dr Levi Wolf (Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol) who will present on Finding the Fault Lines: Detecting Urban Social Boundaries using Social Data Science

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