April 6, 2012

Pain and Irritability

A Standard Approach to Idiopathic Pain/Irritability in Children with Rare Neurological Conditions

Dr Hal Siden, MD, MHSc, FRCPC (PI)

Children with rare diseases who are neurologically impaired and non-verbal often experience pain due to unknown causes. Often there are no obviously correctable sources for pain and irritability. Medication choices and the sequence in which they are introduced vary between physicians. This may result in inconsistent and/or ineffective care. The study aims to find a more consistent way to treat unexplained pain and irritability in infants, children and youth with rare diseases. The study will also lead to the development of a step by step guide to pain management.

This pilot project will culminate in the development of an application for a full operating grant. Ultimately, we hope to derive a clinical guideline for clinicians streamlining pain management for this population.

Research Highlights:

  • It is difficult to assess pain experiences in non-verbal children.
  • There is not a standardized approach to treatment of pain in children with severe neurologic conditions.
  • There may be markers in the blood (“biomarkers”) that will help distinguish different sources of pain.
  • We need to learn more about the medications given to children to treat their symptoms. Innovation in the kinds of medications we use, and getting better information about their side effects, is important.