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Mathematics Colloquium

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Date:  Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Title:  Rackham Centennial Lecture: Is math the cause of or cure for chronic pain?: New approaches to the perplexing problem of pain

Abstract:  Understanding how acute pain becomes chronic is a Grand Challenge of the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research. Chronic pain may result from adaptations in multiple levels of the nervous system, from reorganization of cortical pain processing to plasticity in spinal circuits that control muscle's response to pain. In this Rackham Centennial Lecture, I will describe the efforts in my lab to use a range of tools, from functional brain imaging to single motor unit electromyography to computational modeling, for the purpose of identifying the mechanism of a particularly common form of chronic pain - chronic pelvic pain. I will show preliminary evidence that male chronic pelvic pain patients exhibit low-frequency brain activity fluctuations during the task of evaluating the intensity of their spontaneous pain, suggesting a patient-specific merging of resting state and pain evaluation networks. The importance of using applied mathematics to think computationally while performing experiments will be highlighted throughout.


Speaker:  Jason Kutch
Institution:  USC

 

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