September 10, 2019

Monroe and Cowan awarded NIH grant to advance Alzheimer’s research

New five-year, $5 million grant project to advance study on sensitivity to pain

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Todd Monroe, PhD, RN-BC, FNAP, FGSA, FAAN, associate professor at The Ohio State University College of Nursing, will help lead a multi-site five-year, $5 million grant project awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Institute on Aging (NIA) to advance research focused on patients with Alzheimer’s disease and cancer and their sensitivity to pain.

“This grant will study the response to experimentally-evoked thermal and pressure pain to determine if people with chronic cancer pain and Alzheimer’s disease may be at greater risk of suffering from poorly-treated pain at the end of life,” Monroe said. “This is especially important for patients with Alzheimer’s disease who also have cancers, such as prostate and breast cancer, that generally lead to very painful bone metastasis.”

The multi-site, multiple PI R01, Pain Sensitivity and Unpleasantness in People with Alzheimer’s Disease and Cancer, will be performed in close partnership with Ronald Cowan, MD, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health from Vanderbilt University. The research builds on numerous studies that Monroe and his colleagues have conducted over the last decade, including research that concluded that patients living with more severe dementia and cancer were at greater risk for not receiving hospice services and for receiving little or no pain medication during the end of life. Last year, Monroe and his team earned a five-year, $3.3 million NIH/NIA grant to examine gender and Alzheimer’s-related differences in verbal pain reporting patterns and how they are displayed in regional and network brain function, with an aim to lead to a better understanding of how Alzheimer’s and gender impact central pain mechanisms.

Monroe, Cowan and their team hope to use the information from this research to further explore the neurobiology of pain in older adults with dementia and chronic pain, which can in turn help lead to the development and testing of interventions to better manage pain in this growing population.

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