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Drivers of Pain Research and a Meeting in Issaquah 

Drivers of Pain Research and a Meeting in Issaquah
Drivers of Pain Research and a Meeting in Issaquah

Kenneth L. Casey

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date: 08 August 2020

Researching the neurobiology of pain is driven by our need for improved, hopefully ideal, analgesics (pain medicine), to understand the mechanics of neurological functions generally (neuroscience), and by our desire to gain insight into the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying consciousness and self-awareness (philosophy). By 1973, the emerging field of neuroscience, including pain-related research, had amassed enough data and gained sufficient salience to support an international meeting (in Issaquah, Washington, United States) that created a multidisciplinary consortium of clinicians and scientists (the International Association for the Study of Pain, or IASP). Much of the meeting focused on the practical and theoretical implications of two recent major developments: (1) the discovery of skin receptors sensitive only to painful stimulation (nociceptors), and (2) the presentation of a conceptual model of pain (gate control theory) that emphasized the modulation of pain by neurophysiological mechanisms in the central nervous system (spinal cord, brainstem, and brain).

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