The Chronic Pain Neurotechnology Network+ launched in October 2022 as one of 5 networks funded by the UKRI Building Responsible Neurotechnology Research Capability. The overarching aim of the network is support capacity building, and this is achieved by a series of activities overseen by the network: including an accredited lecture course, workshops and symposia, ECR funding opportunities, PPIE activities, feasibility studies and more. We also offer a platform to enhance networking, increase visibility, and highlight opportunities in the UK pain neurotechnology community.
Our central objective is to support a UK-wide network dedicated to discovery and enhancing capability of chronic pain neurotechnology, to work together to bring about a step-change in current available therapeutics. We aim to engage across the spectrum of researchers, clinicians, patients, and other stakeholders to i) define the current landscape and identify key opportunities and challenges; ii) engage in an innovative discovery research focused on technology development chronic pain, and iii) create a sustainable infrastructure for pain neurotechnology by supporting ECRs, education and training, and seeding new UK and international collaborations.
At least 20% of the UK population suffer from clinically significant chronic pain, making chronic pain almost unparalleled in its clinical and socioeconomic impact. The problem is amplified by the paucity of currently available pharmacological and non-pharmacological solutions. However recent advances in our understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms of chronic pain have created an enormous but untapped opportunity for neurotechnology, with the capacity to completely transform the clinical landscape of chronic pain.
Realising this capacity depends critically on creating a technological and clinical infrastructure that brings together interdisciplinary expertise (researchers, clinicians, patients), different chronic pain conditions (nociceptive, neuropathic, nociplastic), and different technological tools. From a neuroengineering perspective, this will allow technological integration with a focus on key strategic targets informed by neurobiological mechanisms. This has the power to drive neural changes associated with chronic pain – as well as its associated fatigue, depression and anxiety, towards recovering a normal state of health, and deliver major impact across multiple medical conditions and chronic illnesses, many of which have chronic pain as their single most problematic facet.
From a scientific and technical perspective, a key focus is help enable researchers to build integrated systems that combine core technologies, typically as closed-loop systems: for example incorporating technologies such as virtual reality, neurostimulation, EEG, neurofeedback, cognitive and behavioural digital therapy, and others. The aim is to build the capability to combine individual technologies in a way that is target-focused, therapeutically interactive, and practically and clinically feasible. This should allow design of more comprehensive pain therapy systems, with the ultimate aim to build a new generation of cost-effective, patient-friendly, personalised and domestically usable technologies
that can be developed with clinical and industry partners
The network is built on values of inclusivity, openness, and community. We strive to include and respect researchers, clinicians, stakeholders and people with lived experience regardless of their background. We aim to support research that is open to maximise the accessibility and impact. And we believe progress is best made by working together, sharing knowledge and expertise, to map a responsible path to helping people with chronic pain.
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Immerse UK Awards University Tour
Immerse UK connects you to content, applications, services and solution providers, along with buyers and customers of immersive tech in the UK. Following the success of the 2023 Immerse UK Awards, Immerse UK is proud to announce that they will be hosting a series of networking events across the UK at a number of universities this autumn. For more information, please click here.
11th Interdisciplinary World Congress on Low Back and Pelvic Girdle Pain in Melbourne, Australia.
Colleagues (past and present) from Cardiff University, Noudy Eleryan (Phd student), Dr Liba Sheeran and Dr Akushla Rathnayake (former Phd student at Cardiff, now based at Hertfordshire) recently attended the above event to present their work. Noudy Eleryan – The effect of self-management interventions on musculoskeletal disorders in musicians: A scoping review. Dr Akushla Rathnayake: Normalisation process theory (NPT) analysis of user experience of BACK-to-FITTM – A novel digital intervention to promote exercise self-management and physical activity in people with low back pain. Dr Liba Sheeran: Assessment of spinal and pelvic kinematics using inertial measurement units in people with persistent low back pain. Co-production of BACK-on-LINETM, a work-based digital self-management of low back pain, for implementation and scaleup the rail industry. Phenotyping low back pain from video capture using computer vision and machine learning.
International Spinal Cord Society Tour
Delegates of the 62nd annual meeting of the International Spinal Cord Society (ISCoS) held in Edinburgh, visited the Queen Elizabeth National Spinal Injuries Unit and the Scottish Centre for Innovation for Spinal Cord Injury in a pre-conference visit on 1st October 2023. Around 40 delegates from research centres all around the world and patient representatives of the ISCoS society had a chance to see how neurorehabilitation research has been embedded into clinics, in this UK unique setting. Dr Aleksandra Vuckovic alongside her PhD students Ioana Susnoschi Luca, Shamsul Arefin, Emily Nicol and Research Associate Dr Rab Nawaz demonstrated the ongoing research with cutting edge neurotechnology, including systems for neuromodulatory treatment of spasticity, long-term home-based brain monitoring in people with chronic pain and spinal cord stimulation for rehabilitation of arm and hand function. A hospital tour and a welcome speech by the Director of the Spinal Unit Dr Mariel Purcell were also included in the visit.