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Editorial: Advancing critical discovery of novel approaches to understanding and eliminating pain inequities

Booker, Staja Q.; Morais, Calia A.; Merriwether, Ericka N.
ISSN: 2673-561x
CID: 5550142

Antiracism CoaliTION in Pain Research (ACTION-PR): Guiding Principles for Equity in Reporting [Editorial]

Hood, Anna M; Morais, Calia A; Aroke, Edwin N; Booker, Staja Q; Campbell, Lisa C; Campbell, Claudia M; Goodin, Burel R; Janevic, Mary R; Kapos, Flavia P; Mathur, Vani A; Merriwether, Ericka N; Letzen, Janelle E
PMID: 36460609
ISSN: 1528-8447
CID: 5374952

Racism exposure and trauma accumulation perpetuate pain inequities-advocating for change (RESTORATIVE): A conceptual model

Hood, Anna M; Morais, Calia A; Fields, LaShawnda N; Merriwether, Ericka N; Brooks, Amber K; Clark, Jaylyn F; McGill, Lakeya S; Janevic, Mary R; Letzen, Janelle E; Campbell, Lisa C
Experiences of racism occur across a continuum from denial of services to more subtle forms of discrimination and exact a significant toll. These multilevel systems of oppression accumulate as chronic stressors that cause psychological injury conceptualized as racism-based traumatic stress (RBTS). RBTS has overlapping symptoms with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with the added burden that threats are constantly present. Chronic pain is a public health crisis that is exacerbated by the intersection of racism and health inequities. However, the relationship between RBTS and pain has not yet been explored. To highlight how these phenomena are interlinked, we present Racism ExpoSure and Trauma AccumulatiOn PeRpetuate PAin InequiTIes-AdVocating for ChangE (RESTORATIVE); a novel conceptual model that integrates the models of racism and pain and demonstrates how the shared contribution of trauma symptoms (e.g., RBTS and PTSD) maintains and perpetuates chronic pain for racialized groups in the United States. Visualizing racism and pain as "two halves of the same coin," in which the accumulative effects of numerous events may moderate the severity of RBTS and pain, we emphasize the importance of within-group distinctiveness and intersectionality (overlapping identities). We call on psychologists to lead efforts in applying the RESTORATIVE model, acting as facilitators and advocates for the patient's lived experience with RBTS in clinical pain care teams. To assist with this goal, we offer suggestions for provider and researcher antiracism education, assessment of RBTS in pain populations, and discuss how cultural humility is a central component in implementing the RESTORATIVE model. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2023 APA, all rights reserved).
PMID: 37011166
ISSN: 1935-990x
CID: 5463662

Translating outcomes from the clinical setting to preclinical models: chronic pain and functionality in chronic musculoskeletal pain

Lenert, Melissa E; Gomez, Rachelle; Lane, Brandon T; Dailey, Dana L; Vance, Carol G T; Rakel, Barbara A; Crofford, Leslie J; Sluka, Kathleen A; Merriwether, Ericka N; Burton, Michael D
 /UNASSIGNED:Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic pain disorder characterized by chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain (CWP), resting pain, movement-evoked pain (MEP), and other somatic symptoms that interfere with daily functioning and quality of life. In clinical studies, this symptomology is assessed, while preclinical models of CWP are limited to nociceptive assays. The aim of the study was to investigate the human-to-model translatability of clinical behavioral assessments for spontaneous (or resting) pain and MEP in a preclinical model of CWP. For preclinical measures, the acidic saline model of FM was used to induce widespread muscle pain in adult female mice. Two intramuscular injections of acidic or neutral pH saline were administered following baseline measures, five days apart. An array of adapted evoked and spontaneous pain measures and functional assays were assessed for three weeks. A novel paradigm for MEP assessment showed increased spontaneous pain following activity. For clinical measures, resting and movement-evoked pain and function were assessed in adult women with FM. Moreover, we assessed correlations between the preclinical model of CWP and in women with fibromyalgia to examine whether similar relationships between pain assays that comprise resting and MEP existed in both settings. For both preclinical and clinical outcomes, MEP was significantly associated with mechanical pain sensitivity. Preclinically, it is imperative to expand how the field assesses spontaneous pain and MEP when studying multi-symptom disorders like FM. Targeted pain assessments to match those performed clinically is an important aspect of improving preclinical to clinical translatability of animal models. SUMMARY/CONCLUSIONS:Preclinical assessments of chronic musculoskeletal pain recapitulate several outcome measures for clinical assessment of patients with FM, particularly prolonged spontaneous (resting) pain, and MEP.
PMID: 35325207
ISSN: 1526-4637
CID: 5253102

Confronting Racism in All Forms of Pain Research: Reframing Study Designs

Letzen, Janelle E; Mathur, Vani A; Janevic, Mary R; Burton, Michael D; Hood, Anna M; Morais, Calia A; Booker, Staja Q; Campbell, Claudia M; Aroke, Edwin N; Goodin, Burel R; Campbell, Lisa C; Merriwether, Ericka N
This second paper in a 3-part series on antiracism in pain research across the translational spectrum focuses on study design factors. Although objectivity is a cornerstone value of science, subjectivity is embedded in every step of the research process as investigators make choices about who they collaborate with, which research questions they ask, how they recruit participants, which research tools they use, and how they analyze and interpret data. We present theory and evidence from disciplines such as sociology, medical anthropology, statistics, and public health to discuss 4 common study design factors, including 1) the dominant biomedical narrative of pain that restricts funding and exploration of social indicators of pain, 2) low diversity and inclusion in pain research enrollment that restricts generalizability to racialized groups, 3) the use of "race" or "ethnicity" as a statistical variable and proxy for lived experiences (eg, racism, resilience), and 4) limited modeling in preclinical research for the impact of social factors on pain physiology. The information presented in this article is intended to start conversations across stakeholders in the pain field to explore how we can come together to adopt antiracism practices in our work at large to achieve equity for racialized groups. PERSPECTIVE: This is the second paper in a 3-part series on antiracism in pain research. This part identifies common study design factors that risk hindering progress toward pain care equity. We suggest reframes using an antiracism framework for these factors to encourage all pain investigators to collectively make strides toward equity.
PMID: 35296390
ISSN: 1528-8447
CID: 5183912

Confronting Racism in Pain Research: A Call to Action

Morais, Calia A; Aroke, Edwin N; Letzen, Janelle E; Campbell, Claudia M; Hood, Anna M; Janevic, Mary R; Mathur, Vani A; Merriwether, Ericka N; Goodin, Burel R; Booker, Staja Q; Campbell, Lisa C
Racism is an established health determinant across the world. In this 3-part series, we argue that a disregard of how racism manifests in pain research practices perpetuates pain inequities and slows the progression of the field. Our goal in part-1 is to provide a historical and theoretical background of racism as a foundation for understanding how an antiracism pain research framework - which focuses on the impact of racism, rather than "race," on pain outcomes - can be incorporated across the continuum of pain research. We also describe cultural humility as a lifelong self-awareness process critical to ending generalizations and successfully applying antiracism research practices through the pain research continuum. In part-2 of the series, we describe research designs that perpetuate racism and provide reframes. Finally, in part-3, we emphasize the implications of an antiracism framework for research dissemination, community-engagement practices and diversity in research teams. Through this series, we invite the pain research community to share our commitment to the active process of antiracism, which involves both self-examination and re-evaluation of research practices shifting our collective work towards eliminating racialized injustices in our approach to pain research. PERSPECTIVE: We call on the pain community to dismantle racism in our research practices. As the first paper of the 3-part series, we introduce dimensions of racism and its effect on pain inequities. We also describe the imperative role of cultural humility in adopting antiracism pain research practices.
PMID: 35292201
ISSN: 1528-8447
CID: 5183892

Confronting Racism in All Forms of Pain Research: A Shared Commitment for Engagement, Diversity, and Dissemination

Hood, Anna M; Booker, Staja Q; Morais, Calia A; Goodin, Burel R; Letzen, Janelle E; Campbell, Lisa C; Merriwether, Ericka N; Aroke, Edwin N; Campbell, Claudia M; Mathur, Vani A; Janevic, Mary R
This third paper in the "Confronting Racism in All Forms of Pain Research" series discusses adopting an antiracism framework across all pain research disciplines and highlights the significant benefits of doing so. We build upon the previous call to action and the proposed reframing of study designs articulated in the other papers in the series and seek to confront and eradicate racism through a shared commitment to change current research practices. Specifically, we emphasize the systematic disadvantage created by racialization (ie, the Eurocentric social and political process of ascribing racialized identities to a relationship, social practice, or group) and discuss how engaging communities in partnership can increase the participation of racialized groups in research studies and enrich the knowledge gained. Alongside this critical work, we indicate why diversifying the research environment (ie, research teams, labs, departments, and culture) enriches our scientific discovery and promotes recruitment and retention of participants from racialized groups. Finally, we recommend changes in reporting and dissemination practices so that we do not stigmatize or reproduce oppressive forms of power for racialized groups. Although this shift may be challenging in some cases, the increase in equity, generalizability, and credibility of the data produced will expand our knowledge and reflect the pain experiences of all communities more accurately. PERSPECTIVE: Perspective: In this third paper in our series, we advocate for a shared commitment toward an antiracism framework in pain research. We identify community partnerships, diversification of research environments, and changes to our dissemination practices as areas where oppressive forms of power can be reduced.
PMID: 35288029
ISSN: 1528-8447
CID: 5183842

Racial and weight discrimination associations with pain intensity and pain interference in an ethnically diverse sample of adults with obesity: a baseline analysis of the clustered randomized-controlled clinical trial the goals for eating and moving (GEM) study

Merriwether, Ericka N; Wittleder, Sandra; Cho, Gawon; Bogan, Eushavia; Thomas, Rachel; Bostwick, Naja; Wang, Binhuan; Ravenell, Joseph; Jay, Melanie
BACKGROUND:Everyday experiences with racial (RD) and weight discrimination (WD) are risk factors for chronic pain in ethnically diverse adults with obesity. However, the individual or combined effects of RD and WD on pain in adults with obesity is not well understood. There are gender differences and sexual dimorphisms in nociception and pain, but the effect of gender on relationships between RD, WD, and pain outcomes in ethnically diverse adults with obesity is unclear. Thus, the purposes of this study were to: 1) examine whether RD and WD are associated with pain intensity and interference, and 2) explore gender as a moderator of the associations between RD, WD, and pain. METHODS:with weight-related comorbidity. RD and WD were measured using questions derived from the Experiences of Discrimination questionnaire (EOD). Pain interference and intensity were measured using the PROMIS 29 adult profile V2.1. Linear regression models were performed to determine the associations between WD, RD, gender, and pain outcomes. RESULTS:Participants (n = 483) reported mild pain interference (T-score: 52.65 ± 10.29) and moderate pain intensity (4.23 ± 3.15). RD was more strongly associated with pain interference in women (b = .47, SE = .08, p < 001), compared to men (b = .14, SE = .07, p = .06). Also, there were no significant interaction effects between RD and gender on pain intensity, or between WD and gender on pain interference or pain intensity. CONCLUSIONS:Pain is highly prevalent in adults with obesity, and is impacted by the frequencies of experiences with RD and WD. Further, discrimination against adults with obesity and chronic pain could exacerbate existing racial disparities in pain and weight management. Asking ethnically diverse adults with obesity about their pain and their experiences of RD and WD could help clinicians make culturally informed assessment and intervention decisions that address barriers to pain relief and weight loss. TRIAL REGISTRATION:NCT03006328.
PMID: 34856961
ISSN: 1471-2458
CID: 5065842

IL-5 mediates monocyte phenotype and pain outcomes in fibromyalgia

Merriwether, Ericka N; Agalave, Nilesh M; Dailey, Dana L; Rakel, Barbara A; Kolker, Sandra J; Lenert, Melissa E; Spagnola, William H; Lu, Ying; Geasland, Katharine M; Allen, Lee-Ann H; Burton, Michael D; Sluka, Kathleen A
Fibromyalgia (FM) is characterized by widespread chronic pain, fatigue, and somatic symptoms. The influence of phenotypic changes in monocytes on symptoms associated with FM are not fully understood. The primary aim of this study was to take a comprehensive whole-body to molecular approach in characterizing relationships between monocyte phenotype and FM symptoms in relevant clinical populations. LPS-evoked and spontaneous secretion of IL-5 and other select cytokines from circulating monocytes was higher in women with FM compared to women without pain. Additionally, greater secretion of IL-5 was significantly associated with pain and other clinically relevant psychological and somatic symptoms of FM. Further, higher levels of pain and pain-related symptoms were associated with a lower percentage of intermediate monocytes (CD14/CD16) and a greater percentage of non-classical monocytes (CD14/CD16) in women with FM. Based on findings from individuals with FM, we examined the role of IL-5, an atypical cytokine secreted from monocytes, in an animal model of widespread muscle pain. Results from the animal model show that IL-5 produces analgesia and polarizes monocytes toward an anti-inflammatory phenotype (CD206). Taken together, our data suggest that monocyte phenotype and their cytokine profiles are associated with pain-related symptoms in individuals with FM. Furthermore, our data show that IL-5 has a potential role in analgesia in an animal model of FM. Thus, targeting anti-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-5 in secreted by circulating leukocytes could serve as a promising intervention to control pain and other somatic symptoms associated with FM.
PMID: 33003107
ISSN: 1872-6623
CID: 4645192

Toward Understanding Movement-evoked Pain (MEP) and its Measurement: A Scoping Review

Fullwood, Dottington; Means, Sydney; Merriwether, Ericka N; Chimenti, Ruth L; Ahluwalia, Simar; Booker, Staja Q
OBJECTIVE:Individuals with chronic pain conditions often report movement as exacerbating pain. An increasing number of researchers and clinicians have recognized the importance of measuring and distinguishing between movement-evoked pain (MEP) and pain at rest as an outcome. This scoping review maps the literature and describes MEP measurement techniques. METHOD/METHODS:The scoping review utilized six databases to identify original studies that targeted pain or movement-related outcomes. Our search returned 7,322 articles that were screened by title and abstract by two reviewers. The inclusion criteria focused on measurement of MEP before, during and after movement tasks in adults with chronic pain. Studies of children < 18 years of age or with non-human animals, case studies, qualitative studies, book chapters, cancer-related pain, non-English language and abstracts with no full publish text were excluded from the study. RESULTS:Results from 38 studies revealed great variation in the measurement of MEP, while almost all of the studies did not provide an explicit conceptual or operational definition for MEP. Additionally, studies collectively illuminated differences in MEP compared to rest pain, movement provocation methods, and pain intensity as the primary outcome. DISCUSSION/CONCLUSIONS:These results have clinically significant and research implications. To advance the study of MEP, we offer that consistent terminology, standardized measurement (appropriate for pain type/population), and clear methodological processes be provided in research publications. Based on the findings, we have put forth a preliminary definition MEP which may benefit from continued scholarly dialogue.
PMID: 33093342
ISSN: 1536-5409
CID: 4661002