Newswise — ATLANTA—Dr. Anne Murphy, a neuroscientist of Georgia State University, has received a five-year, $1.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to investigate pain management therapies for people aged 65 or older.
As associate professor and associate director of the Neuroscience Institute, Dr. Murphy studies the impact of sex and age on pain and opiate responsiveness as well as the impact of early-life experience on adult responses to pain and stress. She uses a wide variety of techniques from molecular to behavioral to describe how pain alters brain activity and synaptic plasticity.
The award will allow the Murphy Lab in the Neuroscience Institute to perform studies and provide novel and critical data on the impact of age on opiate effectiveness, and will stimulate therapies for the management of pain in elderly people.
“Persons aged 65 or older represent the fastest growing segment of the United States population and an estimated 45-80 percent of people aged 65 or older suffer from chronic pain on a daily basis,” said Dr. Murphy. “Pain in the elderly is severely under-treated mostly due to the lack of knowledge regarding the impact of age on the central neural circuitry underlying opiate numbing.”
Dr. Murphy will begin a series of studies that will use a systems-level approach to delineate how age influences central opioidergic circuits with the aim of improving pain management strategies in this population.