In this video, Dr. Sean Mackey talks about the connection between the brain and pain – starting with Rene Descartes’ inaccurate theory of pain, i.e., that pain is a disturbance that passed down along nerve fibers until the disturbance reached the brain.
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Sean Mackey, M.D., Ph.D., is Chief of the Division of Pain Medicine, Director of the Systems Neuroscience and Pain Laboratory (SNAPL) and Redlich Professor of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, (by courtesy) Neurosciences and Neurology at Stanford University.
Under Dr. Mackey’s leadership, the Stanford Pain Management Center has been designated a Center of Excellence by the American Pain Society, one of only two centers to receive this honor twice. In 2011 he was a member of the Institutes of Medicine committee that issued the report on Relieving Pain in America and served as Co-Chair of the Oversight Committee for the NIH/Health and Human Services National Pain Strategy.
Under his leadership, researchers at SNAPL have made major advances in the understanding of chronic pain as a disease in its own right, one that fundamentally alters the nervous system. Dr. Mackey has overseen efforts to map the specific brain and spinal cord regions that perceive and process pain, which has led to the development of a multidisciplinary treatment model that translates basic science research into innovative therapies to provide more effective, personalized treatments for patients with chronic pain.