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PainSolve Paper of the Month

September 2019 

PainSolve Editorial Team

Recent advances toward understanding the mysteries of the acute to chronic pain transition

Price TJ, and Ray RR. Current Opin Physiol. 2019 May; 11:42 – 50

Many mysteries about how acute pain transforms to a chronic state remain. In this paper, Price and Ray detail the recent developments believed to likely have a significant influence on this field. This includes mechanisms of cellular plasticity that drive chronic pain; next generation sequencing technologies and its impact on how research is done and evidence of pervasive sex differential mechanisms in chronic pain.

This clinical review focuses on the difficulties in ascertaining how chronic pain develops in females. Given that chronic pain disorders have a higher prevalence in females than males, the FDA has long recognised that gender differences may guide decision-making around the testing and approval of pain drugs. This is one of many examples that have aided the understanding of how chronic pain develops, and therefore the authors suggest that these advances can now be used to change the way we think about how new drugs are developed for treating the transition from acute to chronic pain.

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