September 17, 2018

Monroe awarded $3.3 million NIH/NIA R01 grant

The National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Aging (NIH/NIA) has awarded a five-year, $3.3 million R01 grant to fund the study titled, “Sex Differences in Pain Reports and Brain Activation in Older Adults with Alzheimer’s Disease.” The grant was awarded to Todd Monroe, PhD, RN-BC, FNAP, FGSA, FAAN, (PI) associate professor in The Ohio State University College of Nursing.

Monroe’s interdisciplinary team will include faculty from the College of Nursing, the Departments of Neurology and Geriatrics, and the Wright Center of Innovation in Biomedical Imaging at Ohio State, as well as collaborators from Vanderbilt University.

“Older adults with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are at risk of having their pain undertreated. We do know that healthy males and females experience pain differently. It is not known if these sex-differences extend into the AD population. This study will provide research focused on better management of pain in people with AD,” Monroe stated in the proposal. “Poorly treated pain in older adults with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a critical public health problem and understanding sex and AD-related differences in pain function is an NIA priority area.”

The proposal stated that when compared to healthy adults, and in the presence of similarly known painful conditions, older adults with AD receive less pain medication. Reasons for this discrepancy are poorly understood. Meanwhile, inadequately treated pain negatively impacts quality of life and increases health care costs.

The research will examine how verbal pain reporting patterns in responses to acute experimental thermal pain differs between older males and females with and without AD and how these sex-differences map onto regional and network brain functional changes. The study aims to determine whether sensory (stimulus intensity) and affective (stimulus unpleasantness) responses differ by sex in people with and without AD during cutaneous thermal stimulation. Examining baseline differences in experimental thermal pain between males and females with and without AD will provide a foundation for understanding factors that may contribute to untreated pain risk, as well as for developing sex-specific novel assessment, prevention, and treatment strategies in the older population with AD.


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