BY EMILY PETRUS, NINDS, AND LAURA STEPHENSON CARTER, OD
The United States is facing a double crisis: opioid addiction and unrelieved pain. An estimated two million Americans are addicted to opioids; overdose fatality rates rose more than 20 percent in the past two years. Some 25 million Americans suffer from daily chronic pain and lack effective non-opioid treatments to manage that pain.
NIH researchers have found viruses that cause severe stomach illness—including the one infamous for widespread outbreaks on cruise ships—get transmitted among humans through membrane-cloaked “virus clusters” that exacerbate the spread and severity of disease.
Most of the NIH institutes and centers (ICs) are supporting or doing pain research. Following is a sampling intramural pain research being conducted at four ICs: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH); National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS); National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA); and National Institute on Nursing Research (NINR).
Who would have thought that a mere $50 grant could launch a career in medical research? But that’s exactly what happened in 1954 when Harvard Medical School gave a $50 grant to Thomas Waldmannwho went on to have distinguished career at NIH.