29 August 2007

Coping with pain

This site (and its blog) has lots of good material for sufferers of chronic pain and their friends/families/et al.
How To Cope With Pain: A guide to coping with pain.

The author's philosopher husband also occasionally contributes some nice posts oriented toward laymen:
http://www.howtocopewithpain.org/blog/51/your-name-isnt-aristotle-youll-still-find-this-info-about-pain-and-your-brain-intriguing/
http://www.howtocopewithpain.org/blog/53/no-one-understands-your-pain-heres-the-philosophical-reason-why/

20 August 2007

Brain imaging for pain in the courtroom

Law Professor Adam Kolber has an interesting paper on attempts to use brain imaging as evidence that a person is in fact in pain. The abstract:
Pain is a fundamentally subjective experience. We have uniquely direct access to our own pain but can only make rough inferences about the pain of others. Nevertheless, such inferences are made all the time by doctors, insurers, judges, juries, and administrative agencies. Advances in brain imaging may someday improve our pain assessments by bolstering the claims of those genuinely experiencing pain while impugning the claims of those who are faking or exaggerating symptoms. These possibilities raise concerns about the privacy of our pain. I suggest that while the use of neuroimaging to detect pain implicates significant privacy concerns, our interests in keeping pain private are likely to be weaker than our interests in keeping private certain other subjective experiences that permit more intrusive inferences about our thoughts and character

I expect to have a bit to say about this later when I've had the chance to digest the paper. And, yes, I'll share.

USC Pain Run

This will be an important event. Normally I only run when chased, but I'll make an exception for this. Please help out however you can:
Dear Friends and Colleagues,

The USC Pain Center is planning an exciting event:

The USC, QUENCH THE FIRE, 5 K Run
December 2, 2007, in Long Beach

for the support of education, research, and treatment of RSD

RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, aka Complex Regional Pain Syndrome) is a condition caused by a malfunction within the nervous system that causes chronic, burning pain. The condition can be severe and disabling.

Research, education, and most importantly, treatment efforts have been greatly hampered by a lack of awareness of this condition, even in the medical community. But RSD is not rare—estimates vary that between 200, 000 to 1.2 million Americans are currently suffering with this condition.

In order to garner as much support for this wonderful project as possible, we have one simple request of you. TO HELP SPREAD THE WORD, all you need to do is to forward this email/ letter to everyone you know.

Of course, you can also email us back at 5k@uscpain.org to get more information, to volunteer at the race, to help in the planning of the event, to help get corporate sponsors, to donate items, or even to make tax deductable contributions to “Keck School of Medicine of USC” (note “USC Pain Center” in the memo section). Or simply send us your email and/or regular mail addresses to be on our mailing lists.

Our hope is that this ‘grass roots’ level of support finally gets RSD the attention it deserves! Your help CAN make a difference. Thank you so much for your interest and support of this exciting event, and we sure hope you can be with us on race day – it promises to be a very special event!

Best regards,
Steven Richeimer, MD
Chief, Division of Pain Medicine

I'll post additional information as I get it.