CPR highlights 2019 So Far

Somehow we’re now more that midway through 2019 and we have a lot of CPR news to catch up on! Here are just some of the major highlights from the first half of this year:

  • The Medical Independent featured the work of the Centre in an article written by Laura O’Connor. The article, available here, describes some of the key work taking place in the Centre, detailing a number of the currently running studies.
  • Prof David Finn delivered a webinar in the HRB Primary Care CTNI spring series, entitled “Medical Marijuana – Hype or Hope?
  • Researchers Dr Brian Slattery, Laura O’Connor, and Stephanie Haugh delivered a webinar for the HRB TMRN on their experience of integrating a SWAT into an existing RCT. “Reflections on a SWAT: Lessons Learned” can be viewed here.
  • The Centre for Pain Research Annual Research Day took place in March, featuring a tour hosted by the pre-clinical researchers in the new Human Biology Building. The schedule was packed with talks from keynote speakers Dr Simon Beggs and Dr Owen Doody bookending the day. Additional presentations from members of the group covered a wealth of topics, with Sarah Jarrin and Laura O’Connor winning prizes for their oral presentations, and Emer Power, Rachel Humphrey, April Creaven and Jack Flynn winning prizes for their poster presentations. Pictured below are the prizewinners and keynote speakers with the co-directors of the CPR.
  • The University of Toronto Centre for the Study of Pain hosted their annual Connaught Summer Institute in Pain in July, attended by Dr Hannah Durand from the CPR and featuring Prof Brian McGuire as a keynote speaker. The annual event includes high-intensity lectures, panel discussions, small group work, and interactive workshops, ending with a scientific meeting.  
  • It’s been a great year for the CPR members of the International Cannabinoid Research Society – Prof David Finn was named President of the society at their recent symposium in Washington DC, while PhD student Orlaith Mannion won the best poster prize. Additionally, their 30th Annual Symposium will be held in Galway next year (4-9 July 2020). Pictured below are David and Orla following the prizegiving ceremony. 
  • Following in the recent run of international health conferences visiting Ireland, the Irish Pain Society have won the bid to host the 12th European Pain Federation Congress in Dublin in 2021. Members of the CPR, including Prof David Finn and Dr Michelle Roche, were involved in the bid by the Irish Pain Society, which was backed by the Dublin Convention Bureau, Fáilte Ireland, the CCD, the Lord Mayor of Dublin and Minister for Health Simon Harris. Pictured below is the IPS committee involved in the successful bid. 


CPR Research Featured in Brunswik Society Newsletter

Research led by Centre for Pain Research postdoc Dr Chris Dwyer was featured in the most recent edition of the Brunswik Society Newsletter. The Brunswik Society is a long standing association of researchers who are interested in understanding and improving human judgment and decision making. Dr Dwyer summarised the paper "Judgment analysis of case severity and risk of future disability of chronic low back pain patients by general practitioners" in a piece which can be found on page 11 of the newsletter, linked below. 

Brunswik Society Newsletter, November 2018

Reference: Dwyer, C. P., MacNeela, P., Durand, H., Reynolds, B., …, McGuire, B. E. (2018). Judgment analysis of case severity and risk of future disability of chronic low back pain patients by general practitioners. PLOS ONE, 13(3): e0194387.

Prof Brian McGuire gives talk in New Professor's Inaugural Lecture Series

The College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies recently invited co-director of the Centre for Pain Research, Professor Brian McGuire, to speak as part of the New Professor's Inaugural Lecture Series.


In his talk, Prof. McGuire spoke about work taking place in the Centre for Pain Research, focusing on clinical and psychological projects. The talk was also livestreamed from the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Studies for those unable to attend in person, and both the slides and live recording are available at the link below. 


CPR Welcomes Prof Kevin Vowles

The Centre for Pain Research recently welcomed Prof. Kevin Vowles to Galway, where he gave a talk on his work around Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in the Department of Psychology. While in Galway, he also attended a CPR meeting to hear about the various research projects currently underway. 

Prof. Vowles is an internationally recognised expert in ACT for chronic pain and is co-author of the original ACT treatment manual on which we ha‌ve modelled our online ACT interventions at Centre for Pain Research. He has published around 80 papers in the area of pain management and is co-author of the book "Main, C. J., Keefe, F. J., Jensen, M. P., Vlaeyen, J. W. S., & Vowles, K. E. (Eds.). (2014). Fordyce’s Behavioral Methods for Chronic Pain and Illness. New York: Walters-Kluwer.". 


Pictured above are some members of the CPR with Prof Kevin Vowles.
Back L-R: Dr Brian Slattery, Darina Gormley, Josh Moran, Dr Siobhan O'Higgins, Stephanie Haugh, Caroline Jennings. 
Front L-R: Catherine Navin, Grace O'Sullivan, Prof Brian McGuire, Prof Kevin Vowles, Peter Walton, Laura O'Connor, Monika Pilch

Recent CPR Successes

Well done to our researchers, it's been a successful few months in the CPR!

  • Dr Brian Slattery, post-doctoral researcher was successful in his application for a HRB Trials Methodology Research Network award to carry out a study within a trial (SWAT), looking at methods for improving recruitment and retention of participants for an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy intervention for people with multiple chronic conditions.
  • Dr. Brian Slattery also received funding from IRC New Horizons to establish a new E-Health Research and Innovation Network (ERIN) which will launch on 14 June at NUIG.
  • Darina Gormley and Caroline Jennings, research trainees, were highly commended for their research presentations at the recent Psychology Students of Ireland Conference at NUIG.
  • Grace O'Sullivan won the prize for best poster presentation at the recent School of Psychology research day.
  • Sarah Jarrin won first prize for her poster at the Faculty of Pain Medicine meeting in Dublin earlier this year.
  • Angeline Traynor has been awarded a PhD Thesis Write-Up Bursary and also a travel bursary for the international Paediatric Pain conference in Kuala Lumpur.
  • Monika Pilch has been awarded a Hardiman PhD Scholarship to examine am augmented reality treatment for phantom limb pain.
  • At the recent CPR Annual Research Day - winners of the Best Poster Presentations were Orlaith Mannion and Mehnaz Ferdousi, and the winner of the Best Short Oral Presentation was Louise Corcoran.

Wonderful achievements in a very competitive environment - warm congratulations to all concerned!

Centre for Pain Research Annual Research Day 2017


L-R: Prof. Brian McGuire, Dr Deirdre Desmond, Orlaith Mannion, Mehnaz Ferdousi, Jessica Gaspar, Prof David Finn. 

Our annual CPR Research day was held on the 10th of March in the Psychology building, NUI Galway. This year’s Research Day marked the 10 year anniversary of the Centre for Pain Research, and for the first time hosted an Irish Pain Research Network (IPRN) workshop on systematic reviews. A range of both preclinical and clinical topics were covered throughout the day, in short talks and posters by invited speakers and members of the Centre for Pain Research.

Many thanks to all who attended the event, those who presented talks and posters, and particularly to our keynote speakers, Dr Cyril Herry (INSERM, Neurocentre Magendie, University of Bordeaux) and Dr Deirdre Desmond (National University of Ireland Maynooth). A special thanks to Dr Jenny McSharry (National University of Ireland Galway) for hosting the IPRN workshop in the afternoon.

Pictured above with co-directors Prof Brian McGuire and Prof David Finn, and guest speaker Dr Deirde Desmond, are the winners of the Best Poster Presentations, Orlaith Mannion and Mehnaz Ferdousi, and the winner of the Best Short Oral Presentation, Louise Corcoran. 

ACTION for Multiple Chronic Health Conditions

A new online treatment programme, set up by expert psychologists and physiotherapists, aims to help those who are managing multiple chronic health conditions.

The Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway, with the support of the Health Research Board, is currently recruiting people with two or more chronic health conditions to take part in a research study. The Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) trial will provide eight online sessions to people in the comfort of their own home. At the moment, such supports are scarce and generally aimed at the self-management of specific chronic conditions, such as diabetes or chronic pain.

Research has shown that having multiple chronic conditions, also known as multimorbidity is associated with a number of negative outcomes, such as a decline in physical and mental functioning, a decreased quality of life and a greater risk of mortality. The ACT trial is based on emerging clinical science that demonstrates the usefulness of managing health conditions through mindfulness and psychological well-being.

The study is open to people all over Ireland and will take place over the coming months. GPs and other health professionals around the country are being encouraged to refer suitable people to the study.

The free online sessions in the ACT programme will focus on values and goals that are individual to each person in the trial. Participants will be provided with instructions on a range of activity-pacing techniques to encourage more consistent levels of activity from day-to-day.

Dr Brian Slattery, coordinator of the study at the Centre for Pain Research, NUI Galway, says: “We know that psychological therapies provided to people with chronic conditions are beneficial, but can be hard to access. In this trial, we will offer this online programme to people all over the country, with any combination of conditions, to try alongside any existing treatments they are already using.”

People who take part in the ACT trial will not need to attend any clinic or the University at any stage. All materials are tailored for those wishing to learn effective ways of managing their health conditions. Participants can access physiotherapy and all medical services as usual while involved in the trial. Study supervisor Dr Brian McGuire, NUI Galway, said: “This is a promising new online pain management programme and we are hopeful it will be of benefit to people with multimorbidity.”

For further information, please contact the research team at the Centre for Pain Research, NUI Galway, email painresearch@nuigalway.ie, or phone 091 495832. GPs or physiotherapists who are interested in referring suitable patients to the trial can also use these contact details.