Larry Bradley, PhD, Director
The primary aim of the Pain and Analgesia Assessment Module (PAAM) is to provide a central facility for state-of-the-art quantitative sensory testing, assessment of responses to pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic analgesia interventions, and psychophysical assessment of pain for epidemiologic and clinical outcome studies.
PAAM was established in January, 2000 to stimulate inter-disciplinary collaborative research in analgesic responses. The General Endowment Fund (GEF) of the UAB Health Services Foundation (HSF) provided seed funding for the facility based on the importance of valid and objective clinical pain assessment and the need for broadly based programs of pain-related research.
The facility, which is located in the CCTS Clinical Research Unit (CRU), offers access to three human pain models essential for analgesic trials: laboratory-based, acute clinical, and chronic clinical pain. Present users of the PAAM include investigators from the Department of Anesthesiology, the CAMAC, Division of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, and the Department of Psychology.
Pain is a primary motivator for health care utilization and is estimated to cost society in excess of $100 Billion annually. Pain assessment, however, requires a multidimensional approach that requires the use of one or more of the following techniques:
- Laboratory-based, psychophysical measurement procedures to assess the intensity, sensory, and unpleasantness dimensions of pain produced by quantifiable stimuli;
- Psychometrically sound questionnaires to evaluate the intensity, sensory, and unpleasantness dimensions of individuals’ clinical pain experiences as well as their functional and psychosocial adjustment to pain; and
- Reliable and valid measurement of behavioral displays of pain.
The PAAM is equipped with two Medoc TSA-2001 Thermal Sensory Analyzers with the Pain Stimulation software platform. These units are used to perform quantitiative sensory testing (QST) procedures and are the only FDA approved QST device. One of the Medoc units remains in the PAAM at all times while the other unit may be transported to other laboratories (e.g., Neuronuclear Medicine) involved in pain research. The PAAM also is equipped with a Hokanson E20 rapid cuff inflator and AG100 Air Source for conducting the submaximal effort tourniquet pain procedure. The PAAM also has three Chatillon and two Fischer dolorimeters for evaluating responses to mechanical pressure stimulation. In addition, pulse oximeter and automated blood pressure devices are available for monitoring cardiovascular responses.
Director: Larry Bradley, PhD
Co-Director: Timothy Ness, PhD