24 July 2006: An NUI Galway researcher has won a major award in the UK for his ongoing work in combating chronic pain. Dr David Finn, a lecturer in the department of Physiology at NUI Galway, is today being awarded the prestigious 2006 Wyeth Pre-Clinical Award, by the British Association for Psychopharmacology, at a ceremony in Oxford.
Chronic, persistent pain affects millions of people worldwide, significantly impairing health and well-being and is the most common symptom for which patients seek medical help. In Ireland, over half a million people suffer from chronic pain on a daily basis.
The overall objective of Dr Finn's research is to increase understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms by which stress impacts on pain, inflammation, mood disorders and cognition.
According to Dr Finn, "Suffering due to persistent pain has significant, far-reaching socio-economic consequences. Pain is likely to become an even greater medical and socioeconomic problem in countries like Ireland, which have an increasingly ageing population".
In the working population, lower back pain is responsible for more disability than cancer, heart disease, stroke and AIDS combined. One in six people in Ireland suffering from pain has lost a job because of their condition and pain costs the Irish economy over €1.2 million per week in disability benefit payments alone (Pain in Europe Study, 2003).
Dr Finn's research looks into three different research fields; pain, aversion (i.e. stress and anxiety) and cannabinoids. Cannabinaoids are the biologically active constituents of the cannabis plant or their biologically active synthetic alternatives.
In 2005, Dr David Finn was awarded a President of Ireland Young Researcher Award (PIYRA), worth in excess of €900,000.