Combating Pain and Preventing Addiction

September is Pain Awareness Month. In recognition of this, NINDS Director Walter Koroshetz and National Institute on Drug Addiction (NIDA) Director Nora Volkow have written a blog post highlighting NIH’s efforts to foster research, education, and patient care.

Pain is a symptom, a condition, not a disease.  But do not let this fool you.  Pain is among the most common and most disabling conditions known.  It can be acute (sudden in onset and relatively short-lived) or chronic (long-lasting).  Acute pain, most often with a known cause, sometimes becomes chronic pain.  Often, it is not known why the transition occurs or why the pain persists.

It is estimated that between 20 and 30% of people have been affected by pain that lasted at least 24 hours in the past 6 months.  Pain can afflict anyone at any age.  While scientists have learned a great deal about pain and have developed medications, devices, and techniques that counteract some of the steps in the pathway that leads to initiation, production, and perception of pain, many medications that are effective against pain are addicting and those that are not are ineffective against the most severe and most chronic painful conditions.

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Diversification of the Neuroscience Workforce: Not One Size Fits All

In August 2019, NINDS welcomed more than 35 female Prince George’s County Public School STEM students at the Girls Navigating Neuroscience program (click image to learn more)
Image Credit: Chia-Chi Charlie Chang

Given that the word “diverse” means “made up of many different kinds,” it has always seemed odd to me that we think of the process of diversification in one dimension only. Recent studies have suggested that not only the degree but also the nature of diversification within the biomedical workforce differs among race and ethnicity, gender, level of expertise, and programmatic career focus. There can be no single specific recipe for achieving equity and inclusion; it requires, rather, a living, evolving, and creative cookbook!

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May is Stroke Awareness Month

COVID-19 is on everyone’s mind these days and rightfully so. Everyone’s life has been turned upside down, with frequent handwashing, masks, working from home, and the closing of non-essential businesses. Doctors and scientists have learned so many new things from studying the novel coronavirus and the patients infected with it. You may be puzzled by how many of the body’s functions and organs appear to be affected by COVID-19, and, at first, doctors and scientists were too. But now they know that the normal body protein that allows the novel coronavirus to enter cells, ACE-2, is present on cells that are…well, just about everywhere in our bodies.

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What Is the Extramural Component of NINDS and How Does it Work?

In a previous column, I described NINDS as including the Office of the Director, and two components that serve, respectively, extramural and intramural research. In the next two columns, I will explain, in turn, how each of these components of NINDS work.

“Extramural research” occurs at institutions other than the NIH. NINDS and the other Institutes at NIH fund extramural research through grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts. In fact, NIH is the largest funder of “outside” (i.e., extramural) research in the world!

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COVID-19 and Those Served By the Mission of NINDS

While NINDS does our best to ensure that third party resources are vetted, the links below do not imply endorsement for any organization or product. We suggest that you research outside resources thoroughly before sharing.

The past two weeks have been very challenging for the whole world. A virus, a variation so new that none of us has immunity to it, has been infecting substantial fractions of the population and leading to the deaths of many people around the globe. We have learned new words, phrases, and abbreviations such as “COVID-19”, “social distancing”, and “PPE.” And we have put healthcare, facilities, and information technology professionals to the toughest test there is—one that puts their lives and lifestyles at risk to potentially save those of others.

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