How does your brain respond to pain?

Everyone experiences pain -- but why do some people react to the same painful stimulus in different ways? And what exactly is pain, anyway? Karen D. Davis walks you through your brain on pain, illuminating why the “pain experience” differs from person to person.


Cognitive-behavioural therapy reduces our pain experience

Researchers at Toronto Western Hospital have uncovered empirical evidence that developing coping mechanisms not only helps people manage pain, but actually reduces the unpleasantness of the pain experience.
A two-photon image taken from a lamina I neuron that was filled with lucifer yellow (0.1%, green) during whole-cell recording.

GluN2B and GluN2D NMDA receptors dominate synaptic responses in the spinal cord

Recent research by the Salter lab at The Hospital for Sick Children has demonstrated that excitatory synaptic transmission of lamina I neurons in the spinal cord of rats differs significantly from the rest of the CNS.  The authors show that synaptic responses in lamina I neurons tend to be more prolonged than synaptic responses elsewhere in the CNS.

Better Care for Patients with Chronic Pain

Ontario Giving Health Care Providers More Tools to Help Chronic Pain Patients

UTCSP Members Make Toronto Life's Top 30 List of Best Doctors in Toronto!

Congratulations to Allan Gordon (Pain Medicine) and John Flannery (Physiatry) for being recognized by Toronto Life Magazine as being the best in your field.

Bonnie Stevens to receive CPS Distinguished Career Award

The Canadian Pain Society (CPS) has named Dr. Bonnie Stevens as the recipient of its Distinguished Career Award.  The Award will be presented at the annual meeting of CPS in Quebec City May 20-23. Award recipients are honored at a dinner May 22, and Dr. Stevens will present on her work at the meeting.

Mind Wandering Engages Pain-Relieving Pathways in the Brain

Everyone has experienced instances of their mind wandering away from tasks at hand. Recent evidence from UTCSP trainee Aaron Kucyi, in Dr. Karen Davis’ lab at Toronto Western Hospital, demonstrates that our minds wander even during pain, and that this is associated with increased engagement of pain-relieving pathways.

Novel Role of Gap Junctions Identified in Trigeminal Neuropathic Pain

This study provides the first evidence indicating a role of gap junctions in trigeminal neuropathic pain. Whether these gap junctions are specific to glia requires further investigation. Given that carbenxolone is already used for the clinical treatment of ulcers, it has the potential to be a safe and effective drug for the clinical treatment of trigeminal neuropathic pain. Therefore, investigation of the efficacy of carbenxolone in treating pain in humans is necessary.

New! Oxford Textbook of Paediatric Pain

Edited by Patrick J. McGrath, Bonnie J. Stevens, Suellen M. Walker, and William T. Zempsky

For further details, please follow the LINK


2014/15 UTCSP Pain Scientist Scholarship

Applications are now being accepted
Application Deadline:  Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Virtual Reality for Chronic Pain

with Guest Speaker Diane Gromala, PhD, Professor and Canada Research  
Chair in Computational Technologies for Transforming Pain, Simon  
Fraser University

Tuesday, June 10, 2014
3:00 p.m.
Fitgerald Building, 150 College Street, Room 103
University of Toronto

Mark Your Calendars!

UTCSP Annual Scientific Meeting 2015
co-sponsored with the Hospital for Sick Children's Pain Centre
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
8:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Peter Gilgan Centre for Research & Learning
Classroom 2a,b and Gallery, 686 Bay Street
The Hospital for Sick Children
Pain Interprofessional Curriculum Design


Pain Interprofessional Curriculum Design (PICD) Workshop
hosted by the University of Toronto Centre for the Study of Pain
in association with the University of Toronto Centre for Interprofessional Education
November 12-14, 2014

Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology

The Brain: Adaptation and Maladaptation in Chronic Pain
June 15-20, 2014

Keystone Resort, Keystone, Colorado, USA
For more information regarding registration, important deadlines, and to view the full program, please follow the LINK

How to Navigate Difficult Medical Conditions

11th Annual Pain Day Event
This is a multidiscplinary conference featuring leading experts in chronic pain
June 20, 2014
Delta Waterfront Hotel
Kingston, Ontario

For complete details and to register, click on the following LINK


15th World Congress on Pain

Presented by the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP)
October 6 - 11, 2014
Buenos Aires

For further details, please visit the IASP website by clicking on the following LINK

Global Year Against Orofacial Pain - October 2013 - October 2014

For More Information

Pain in the News

Jun 22, 2014

Asymmetric c-fos expression in the ventral orbital cortex is associated with impaired reversal learning in a right-sided neuropathy

Recently we showed that unilateral peripheral neuropathic lesions impacted differentially on rat's emotional/cognitive behavior depending on its left/right location; importantly, this observation recapitulates clinical reports. The prefrontal cortex (PFC), a brain region morphofunctionally affected in chronic pain conditions, is involved in the modulation of both emotion and executive function and displays functional lateralization.
Jun 22, 2014

Roles of ASIC3, TRPV1, and NaV1.8 in the transition from acute to chronic pain in a mouse model of fibromyalgia

Tissue acidosis is effective in causing chronic muscle pain. However, how muscle nociceptors contribute to the transition from acute to chronic pain is largely unknown.
Jun 19, 2014

Descending controls modulate inflammatory joint pain and regulate CXC chemokine and iNOS expression in the dorsal horn

Descending control of nociceptive processing, by pathways originating in the rostral ventromedial medulla (RVM) and terminating in the dorsal horn, contributes to behavioural hypersensitivity in a number of pain models. Two facilitatory pathways have been identified and are characterized by serotonin (5-HT) content or expression of the mu opiate receptor.
Jun 17, 2014

Decreased pain threshold and enhanced synaptic transmission in the anterior cingulate cortex of experimental hypothyroidism mice

Thyroid hormones are essential for the maturation and functions of the central nervous system. Pain sensitivity is related to the thyroid status.
Jun 15, 2014

Gain and loss of function of P2X7 receptors: mechanisms, pharmacology and relevance to diabetic neuropathic pain

Genetic causes of exaggerated or reduced pain sensitivity in humans are well known. Recently, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the gene P2RX7, coding for the ATP-gated ion channel P2X7, have been described that cause gain-of-function (GOF) and loss-of-function (LOF), respectively of this channel.