Just as patient response to pharmacotherapy can vary, it has long been known that some patients respond to acupuncture and placebo treatment much better than others. Despite advances in this field, the sources of individual variability in responses to acupuncture and placebo treatment are still poorly understood. This career development proposal requests support to develop skills to investigate the sources and underlying mechanisms of this variability. To achieve above goal, the candidate has designed two studies. Experiment 1 will be a behavioral study to investigate the analgesic effect produced by acupuncture and placebo treatment and will initiate an exploratory investigation of the influence of genetic factors on acupuncture and placebo analgesia. Experiment 2 will employ functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to investigate the different brain networks involved in good and poor responses to acupuncture and placebo treatment. The cumulative results of these studies will elucidate the sources of variability in responses to acupuncture and placebo treatment and thereby increase the understanding of the underlying mechanisms involved. Most importantly, these attempts to distinguish the specific action of acupuncture from placebo will advance the understanding of how acupuncture is different from placebo treatment, a challenge that has been become a significant barrier to the advancement of acupuncture research. This award will provide the candidate, who is trained in both alternative medicine and biomedical science and has research experience in pain, acupuncture, placebo and cognition, with specific training in: 1) genetics;2) advanced statistical analysis;3) MR imaging and analysis;and 4) psychometric measurement. Gaining skill in each of these areas is critical to the candidate's long-term goal of becoming an independent investigator with a focus on the studies of acupuncture and placebo treatment. The rigorous training proposed integrates strong didactics and multidisciplinary expertise to teach the candidate how to synthesize information from diverse fields and apply it to the study of acupuncture and acupuncture mechanisms. This integrated program of training and research will yield new tools for studying acupuncture and placebo treatment and provide the candidate with the skills needed to achieve independence in a highly complex field.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)
Research Scientist Development Award - Research & Training (K01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAT1-LD (09))
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Huntley, Kristen V
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Massachusetts General Hospital
United States
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Jensen, K B; Petrovic, P; Kerr, C E et al. (2014) Sharing pain and relief: neural correlates of physicians during treatment of patients. Mol Psychiatry 19:392-8
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Kirsch, Irving; Kong, Jian; Sadler, Pamela et al. (2014) Expectancy and Conditioning in Placebo Analgesia: Separate or Connected Processes? Psychol Conscious (Wash D C) 1:51-59
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Kong, Jian; Spaeth, Rosa; Cook, Amanda et al. (2013) Are all placebo effects equal? Placebo pills, sham acupuncture, cue conditioning and their association. PLoS One 8:e67485
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Jensen, Karin B; Srinivasan, Priti; Spaeth, Rosa et al. (2013) Overlapping structural and functional brain changes in patients with long-term exposure to fibromyalgia pain. Arthritis Rheum 65:3293-303
Jensen, Karin B; Loitoile, Rita; Kosek, Eva et al. (2012) Patients with fibromyalgia display less functional connectivity in the brain's pain inhibitory network. Mol Pain 8:32

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