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BBB seminar: Lars Arendt-Nielsen

Human experimental pain research: From volunteers to patients

Lars Arendt-Nielsen
Laboratory for Experimental Pain Research, Center for Sensory-Motor Interaction, Aalborg University, Denmark

Human experimental pain research involves two separate topics: Standardised activation of the nociceptive system and measurements of the evoked responses. The ultimate goal of advanced human experimental pain research is to obtain a better understanding of mechanisms involved in pain transduction, transmission and perception under normal and pathophysiological conditions. Human experimental pain research bridges the gap between animal studies and clinical applications, provides better characterisation of pain mechanisms in healthy volunteers and characterises sensory dysfunction in patients with chronic pain. Experimental approaches can be applied in basic studies as well as in the clinic; their advantages to assess pain sensitivity will be discussed.

As pain is a multi-dimensional perception, it is obvious that the reaction to a single standardised stimulus of a given modality can only represent a very limited fraction of the entire pain experience. Therefore it is necessary to combine different stimulation and assessment approaches to gain advanced differentiated information about the nociceptive system under normal and pathophysiological conditions.

The experimental possibilities available for studying cutaneous, muscle and visceral pain are far from equal. There is a need for more experimental and clinical studies on deep pain to provide new knowledge to this clinically relevant area.

Host: Arne Tjølsen, Department of Biomedicine

Professor Lars Arendt-Nielsen carries a PhD in Biomedical Sciences and a Dr.Sci. in Medicine, both from the Aalborg University. From 1993 to 1999 he was the head of the Danish Cancer Pain Research Center and since 1993 he has been leading the Center for Sensory-Motor Interaction in Aalborg. Today, he is Director of the International Doctorate School at the Center for Sensory-Motor Interaction and Director of the Center for Biomedical Sciences, a National Research Program on Pain and Brain.

Lars Arendt-Nielsen's research activities have been concentrated on biomedical sciences within neuroscience, with specific research areas in pain and motor control. His main focus is on human experimental pain research - basic and clinical applications. At the Center for Sensory-Motor Interaction, Lars Arendt-Nielsen has a large number of researchers and students. A substantial network of international collaborations with 15 different countries has been established with universities, hospitals and the biomedical/pharmaceutical industry. Further, satellite laboratories have been established in 6 different countries.

Lars Arendt-Nielsen has published approximately 325 publications and is first author of many of them.