On Pain, October 6 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 4:00-6:00 pm, Gradroom at Grad House, 66 Harbord St, Toronto. All are welcome. No advance registration is required. RSVP on Facebook


The Neurobiology of Pain
Massih Moayedi (Neuroscience)

Pain is a complex, multidimensional experience.  It has been defined by the International Association for the Study of Pain as an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage.  My presentation will discuss the major paradigms in our understanding of pain, and some of the latest theories about what causes chronic pain.

Pain: A Way of Life
Elizabeth MacCallum (Writing)

My talk about pain will try to give a somewhat visceral idea of what it’s really like to live with chronic pain since I have experienced pain off and on since I was a child. With age and deterioration pain became the dominant controlling factor of my existence despite leading an active life. Fortunately, surgery and rehabilitation over the past few years changed all that which allows me to appreciate more fully what pain really was doing to me and those around me. Given these empirical studies, I will also discuss details and inadequacies of contemporary pain management techniques and practitioners. Finally, the idea that “undeserved suffering ennobles the soul” will lead into considering some of the philosophical and moral issues around dealing with pain.

Artificial Feedback Therapy: A Whole New Approach to Treating Recalcitrant Pain
Terry Borsook (Psychology)

I will be presenting a novel approach to pain control that uses artificially constructed feedback to change how the brain perceives the state of the body, and will be discussing the growing empirical evidence demonstrating the efficacy of this strategy.

Evolving Pain, Forgetting Medicine?
Michael Cournoyea (History and Philosophy of Science and Technology)

Is pain evolutionarily adaptive? If so, should medicine no longer alleviate pain? In this brief talk, I’ll look at pain from the perspective of Evolutionary Medicine: an emerging field of medical studies that uses evolutionary theory to explain the ultimate causes of health and disease. The field’s main objective is to reconceptualize bodily vulnerabilities and pathophysiologies as evolutionary tradeoffs, allowing EM to both describe that which constitutes health and disease (in terms of adaptive functions) and to prescribe treatments that best compliment adaptations to illness. These considerations change our understanding of pain, the classical goals of medicine, and ultimately the healthy life.

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