Neuropathic pain research in Germany
Doctors and researchers working in the field of neuropathic pain in Germany, are bundling insights and resources in the German Research Network on Neuropathic Pain (DFNS). The DFNS focuses on research in the field of neuropathic pain by integrating the resources of the leading centers actively involved in neuropathic pain research in Germany.
DFNS selected the following strategy:
- to establish a data base of patients including psychological and quantitative sensory evaluation,
- to define patho-physiological mechanisms of pain and associated symptoms as well as the development of chronic neuropathic pain,
- and to introduce new and to evaluate available interventions to prevent and treat neuropathic pain on the basis of a mechanism-based and symptom-oriented approach.
Since its foundation in 2002 the DFNS is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
Data bank of patients suffering from neuropathic pain
From their site we quote:
The central Integrative Network Project of the German Research Network on Neuropathic Pain is a Neuropathic Pain Data Bank. All network participants sub serve the data bank with standardized information of each patient regarding socio-economic, psycho-social, psychological data and results of quantitative sensory testing (QST). Moreover, a blood sample and imaging data bank have been initiated. The data is centrally coordinated by a data management system for documentation and quality assurance.
As the German Research Network on Neuropathic Pain (DFNS) includes the major institutions, authorities and medical disciplines engaged in therapy and research on neuropathic pain. The central Integrative Network Project of the DFNS is a Neuropathic Pain Data Bank.
Virtually all network participants (interdisciplinary pain clinics, clinical research, basic science research) sub serve the data bank with standardized information including more than 500 parameters of each patient/ volunteer. Regarding socio-economic, psycho-social and psychological data, as well as results of quantitative sensory testing (QST). In order to describe the variety of symptoms and the underlying mechanisms as precisely as possible.
A standardized and comprehensive QST protocol was successfully developed and implemented during the first year of the DFNS funding. Till July 2007 about 1200 neuropathic pain patients have been tested with this QST battery and enclosed in the Neuropathic Pain Data Bank. In order to have data for comparison QST reference values from about 180 healthy volunteers from 10 participating centers have been obtained.
It seems the Germans have all actions nice in hand. A good example for other countries.
Jan M. Keppel Hesselink, MD, PhD, February 2010
‘Neuropathic pain research in Germany’
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