Pain Awareness Month: Dr. Martha Somerman on Pain Consortium and Chronic Pain Research

Pain Awareness Month: Dr. Martha Somerman on Pain Consortium and Chronic Pain Research

[Music] [Dr. Somerman speaking]
From day one of my tenure here, the
consortium has played a major part with the NIDCR in terms about our research agendas. The consortium actually informs us on many, many different activities and we
work synergistically. The main focus areas is in
temporomandibular disorders. TMD disorders are very complex, they
involve the jaws, they involve muscles and some in people this actually become a
chronic painful condition for life. We recognize the need to move forward in terms of
understanding the transition from acute to chronic pain. With
that in mind we developed this program called OPPERA. OPPERA stands for all Orofacial Pain
Prospective Evaluation and Risk Assessment studies. We recognized early on
that we need to do prospective type studies where you looking forward
in time and tracking the disease and recognizing
when the first episode occurs and then when it moves on to the chronic
conditions. A few other areas that we are involved in, among many include “Itch” and “hot and cold” and in these areas we’re looking
at specific pathways that define “Itch” and define “hot and cold,”
in order to develop drugs to treat these diseases. For
example with devastating diseases associated with “Itch” such as
psoriasis and dermatitis and we’re hoping to
understanding pathways that will be able to better treat our patients. So, lots on the horizon not
only with the joint area, but with “Itch” and “Hot and Cold,” and many other various tissues related to
pain in the area of the dental oral craniofacial complex.

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