Support is requested for a Keystone Symposia meeting entitled The Brain: Adaptation and Maladaptation in Chronic Pain, organized by Frank Porreca, David Borsook and David W. Dodick. The meeting will be held in Keystone, Colorado from June 15 - 20, 2014. Recent genetic, epigenetic, functional imaging, and receptor pharmacology advances have revealed chronic pain as a complex disease with long-lasting functional and structural consequences in the peripheral and central nervous system. Fortunately, it has also uncovered promising molecular targets that will inform drug discovery for decades to come. The risk factors and precise mechanisms by which pain becomes chronic and persistent, the potential for structural changes to normalize, and effective strategies to eliminat chronic pain are becoming better understood, but still require a considerable and sustained effort from the scientific and clinical community. This Keystone Symposia meeting will bring together some of the world's leading scientific experts to provide an authoritative synthesis of the current state of knowledge of the biology and treatment of chronic pain, identify and prioritize important gaps in our understanding, and set strategic directions for future research which ultimately can be translated into highly specific and effective treatments to lessen the enormous burden of chronic pain in America.
Chronic pain is maladaptive and is complicated by disabling comorbidities such as anxiety and depression. Growing interest has made it a national public health concern and priority, as migraine is the third most prevalent medical disorder in the world (>350 million), the fourth most disabling among women, and accounts for more than 50% of the disability attributable to all neurological disorders. According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) chronic pain affects nearly 100 million American adults-more than the total affected by heart disease, cancer, and diabetes combined- and costs the nation up to $635 billion each year in medical treatment and lost productivity. Joining the effort to address the urgent need for breakthroughs in treatments, this Keystone Symposia meeting on The Brain: Adaptation and Maladaptation in Chronic Pain will bring together scientists from different disciplines related to, but not exclusively connected to pain and headache, as a key to integration and bridging of disciplines and advancement of knowledge in these areas of clinical need.