NIH, AHRQ, others launch pain database

May 29, 2014 in Medical Technology

Working to spur more innovative approaches and complete understanding of pain management, six federal agencies have teamed to centralize data on pain research.

[See also: Pain in limb 729.5 doesn't cut it in ICD-10]

The Interagency Pain Research Portfolio was developed jointly by the National Institutes of Health, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.

As both symptom of many disorders – and, when chronic, a disease in itself – pain is a serious public health issue that can cost hundreds of billions of dollars in lost wages and productivity each year.

[See also: NIH establishes National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences]

The IPRP database enables searches of more than 1,200 research projects in a multi-tiered system, federal officials say.

In Tier 1, grants are organized as basic, translational (research that can be applied to diseases) or clinical research projects.


In Tier 2, grants are sorted among 29 scientific topic areas related to pain, such as biobehavioral and psychosocial mechanisms, chronic overlapping conditions and neurobiological mechanisms.

Those topics are further organized into nine themes: pain mechanisms; basic to clinical; disparities; training and education; tools and instruments; risk factors and causes; surveillance and human trials; overlapping conditions and use of services, treatments, and interventions.

“This database will provide the public and the research community with an important tool to learn more about the breadth and details of pain research supported across the federal government, said Linda Porter, policy advisor for pain at NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, in a press statement.

“They can search for individual research projects or sets of projects grouped by themes uniquely relevant to pain,” she added. “It also can be helpful in identifying potential collaborators by searching for topic areas of interest or for investigators.”?

The database was developed by NIH staff and members of the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee, an advisory panel formed to increase understanding of pain and improve treatment strategies by expanding pain research efforts and encouraging collaboration across the federal government.

“The database reveals a diverse research portfolio in which contributions from federal agencies and departments reflect their unique missions and the populations that they serve,” said Porter in a statement. “For the first time, this information has been collected into a single database that can be mined to ensure that federal research efforts are not redundant and to identify opportunities to collaborate and share resources across agencies.”

Additionally, she said, “it will help the federal entities that support pain research to identify gaps in research areas and trends in topic areas over time.”

Access the IPRP database here.

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