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Researcher Seeks Common Language for Pain

Researcher Seeks Common Language for Pain

United Press International

July 31, 2009

When if comes to pain, doctors and patients may not be speaking the same language, and a U.S. researcher says he wants to change that.

David Cella of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago says he is on mission to revolutionize the language of pain, as well as fatigue, depression and anxiety.

These symptoms are used by researchers to measure whether a medical treatment improves the quality of life for a patient with a chronic disease, Cella says.

The glitch is that each researcher asks patients different questions to measure their symptoms — one group’s measurement of severe pain or fatigue or depression may be different than another’s.

Cella is leading a national project to establish a common scientific vocabulary with colleagues from six other institutions and the National Institute of Health. They will use a set of computerized tests for researchers to measure pain, fatigue, depression, anxiety, and physical and social functioning, Cella says.

There will be a pain measurement numbering system that will mean the same thing to every doctor and scientist, Cella says.

© YellowBrix 2009

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