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Network improves knowledge about hidden common disease

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Almost one in five Swedes suffers from chronic pain and five to seven per cent of the population report significant care needs for their pain. Nevertheless, researchers interested in the subject find it relatively difficult to obtain research funding. The Pain Research Network wants to change this.

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Anna Grimby Ekman och  Paulin Andréll har startat smärtforskningsnätverket.
Photo: Anna Rehnberg

Pain is often categorized as acute, chronic, or cancer-related pain. That makes it difficult to say how much of the population is affected. Since pain research is an interdisciplinary field, with researchers dispersed among most medical fields, pain researchers may have difficulty finding each other.

All pain researchers are welcome

This was one of the reasons Anna Grimby Ekman, an associate professor at the Institute of Medicine, started the Pain Research Network in 2019, together with Paulin Andréll, a specialist at Sahlgrenska University Hospital’s Pain Center and adjunct associate professor at the Institute of Clinical Sciences.

“It is important to meet other researchers in the field, especially for doctoral students. Since pain research occurs in so many areas, it can be difficult to find someone in your own specialist field who researches pain in depth,” says Grimby Ekman.

The Pain Research Network serves as a forum for pain researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy and within Region Västra Götaland. It welcomes everyone researching in the field, regardless of the type of pain they are researching and whether they do basic research, clinical research or epidemiological research.

Will lead to more studies

Through the network, members can support each other, share knowledge and experience, and help develop the research so that those suffering from pain can have a better life.

“Pain research has had difficulty obtaining research funding, especially for research on chronic pain. We hope this will change when chronic primary pain is classified as a disease of its own in the 11th revision of the International Classification of Disease (ICD-11),” says Grimby Ekman.

She and Paulin Andréll hope that the network will help researchers find new collaborators so that stronger and more competitive teams can be created to conduct more studies. They also want the network to connect everyone in the region working with pain research or running training sessions on pain.

“In this way, collaboration among different professions that research and work clinically with pain can increase, and the studies can have a greater impact,” says Andréll.

Network Day for Pain Researchers on November 25

The network organizes regular doctoral student and network meetings. The next network day takes place on November 25. It is the first occasion where participants can meet in person after the long period of COVID restrictions. There will also be an opportunity to participate online.

During the day, several research projects and research platforms will be presented, and there will also be discussions on how to develop pain research regionally, nationally, and internationally.

Read more about the network day and sign up here (in Swedish).

BY: KARIN ALLANDER
PHOTO: ANNA REHNBERG

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