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5 Articles in this Series
2018 IASP World Congress on Pain: A Preview
Informal Social Support for Pain: Moving the Research Forward
Spinal Cord Stimulation Evidence: What's Available and What's Needed
Symptomatic Treatment of Painful Diabetic Neuropathy
Translating Trials into Practice from a Primary Care Perspective

2018 IASP World Congress on Pain: A Preview

with President-Elect Lars Arendt-Nielsen

The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) will hold its 17th World Congress meeting in Boston on September 12 to 16, with a focus on Excellence in Pain Education. PPM spoke with IASP President-elect Lars Arendt-Nielsen, MD, PhD, founder and director of Sanse-Motorisk Interaktion (SMI) at Aalborg University in Denmark, about the goals of this year’s meeting.

What can participants expect at the IASP World Congress Meeting?

We expect 6,000 to 7,000 attendees from more than 90 countries. We have 15 plenary lectures and more than 80 topical workshops, including 2,200 poster abstracts, 22 refresher courses, and 13 satellite symposia. Our 2018 theme, Excellence in Pain Education, will bring to focus patient advocacy and engagement. In Boston, expect plenary lectures such as “Postmodern Pain Education: From Being to Becoming;” topical workshops such as “Innovations in Pain Education in 3 Countries from 3 Health Professions;” and special sessions such as “Guiding Pain and Interprofessional Education through Competencies.”

Several strategy sessions and workshops are scheduled, as well as a specific section of the exhibition dedicated to this topic. We hope this new initiative will promote the dissemination of the many new research opportunities direct to patients that will help better understand current pain management strategies.

What sessions are you most excited about?

All 15 of the plenary lectures will be outstanding—these are “can’t miss” sessions for me. I am also looking forward to new and exciting discoveries—for example, we have a session about the use of virtual reality in pain management, and several medical device companies are debuting innovative technologies and solutions for pain management. In fact, we have an Innovation Lab in the Exhibit Hall that features demonstrations of new technology, as well as conversations with the plenary lecturers. There is no doubt that there will be discussions on the use of opioids for various pain conditions and how to provide new and better pain management options. It is always stimulating to learn what new drugs are in development for pain. From the program, it is evident that there will be presentations on clinical trials on new drugs under development, and I will be monitoring those sessions very carefully.

A new addition to the program this year is the inclusion of hands-on practical workshops. We know that attendees are interested in learning new techniques that they can bring back to their practices. We are offering three different workshops: a Neuromodulation Hands-on Cadaver Workshop; a QST Hands-on Workshop; and an Ultrasound Guided Interventions Hands-on Workshop. We are encouraged that this type of hands-on learning has been so well received, and are planning to incorporate it in future Congresses.

One unique session is our two-part Pain Management in Elite Athletes special sessions. Top medical officers from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and the National Football League (NFL) will be at the Congress to present findings from the recent IOC consensus document, and provide an overview of pain management policy from major sports organizations, as well as in-depth case studies from former elite athletes and leaders from sports organizations.

What do you treasure most about the World Congress?

I have attended every World Congress on Pain since 1988, and value the networking and collaboration that takes place. IASP has a strong family spirit—pain research is still a relatively new field and IASP convenes the global community of experts. The World Congress is the best place to connect with colleagues from around the world.  I also really enjoy meeting the trainees and early career attendees—they are the future of our field. One of the aspects of the World Congress that I am most proud of is the emphasis on mentorship programs and opportunities for trainees to interact with experienced researchers and clinicians—it creates a memorable experience for both parties. When I go to the poster sessions, I ask the young attendees to explain their data and encourage them to continue their research in the field of pain. I think that every time a senior researcher reaches out to a trainee or young investigator, it really makes a difference.

What are some drawing points for those attending?

Overall, I think that the World Congress has something for everyone—basic scientists, psychologists, pain specialists, physical therapists, neurologists, anesthesiologists, nurses, orthopedists, and educators. The strength of the program comes from the multidisciplinary approach, and basic, clinical, and translational perspectives incorporated into the topical workshops. Attendees will take away a full understanding of the content, and will be inspired by the cutting-edge advances and applications discussed in the sessions, and the all-important hallway conversations. This is the first time the World Congress on Pain has taken place in the United States since 2002, and it is a great opportunity to connect with the North American pain community.

About Dr. Arendt-Neilsen: Dr. Arendt-Neilsen has published over 1,000 articles and has delivered 250 keynote lectures at international meetings and seminars. He was previously co-president of the IASP Global Year Against Musculoskeletal Pain in 2010, co-president of the IASP Global Year Against Joint Pain in 2016, co-chair for IASP’s Special Interest Group (SIG) on Musculoskeletal Pain, head of the IASP Grant Committee, and Editor-in-Chief of IASP Press. At this year’s World Congress Meeting, Dr. Arendt-Nielsen will be elected president of IASP for the period of 2018 to 2020.

Next summary: Informal Social Support for Pain: Moving the Research Forward
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