‘Pain Chronicles’ showcases both the science and personal stories behind chronic pain

Pain Chronicles is on display in the UNE Art Gallery in the Ketchum Library until December 15, 2017
'Pain Chronicles' is on display in the UNE Art Gallery in the Ketchum Library until December 15, 2017

September 15, 2017

President James Herbert talks with Ian Meng at the exhibit opening
President James Herbert talks with Ian Meng at the exhibit opening

The Center for Excellence in the Neurosciences (CEN) at the University of New England announced a new exhibit that showcases both the science behind chronic pain and the stories of those who live with it.

Pain Chronicles, which is on display in the UNE Art Gallery in the Ketchum Library, features dramatic color images of cells of the nervous system, from fruit flies and mammals, which together illustrate the diverse nature of neurons involved in the development of chronic pain. These images, taken by UNE neuroscience investigators (students, staff and faculty) use cutting edge microscopy to demonstrate the simple and elegant beauty of cells that cause pain.

The exhibition also features self-narratives captured on film and portraits of individuals with chronic pain. Together, these mediums provide unique insight into the lives and challenges faced by chronic pain patients.

Chronic pain is pain that outlasts an injury. It can occur without any clear cause, serves no useful purpose and can be completely incapacitating. These stories, compiled by UNE students and staff, illustrate the complex and unique presentation of chronic pain, which is one reason why chronic pain is difficult to treat.

Through research, education and community outreach, UNE’s Center for Excellence in the Neurosciences aims to inspire creativity and collaboration among people who have a passion for understanding the complexities of the nervous system and to use their knowledge to improve human health and quality of life.

“This project would not have been possible without the members of the Chronic Pain Support Group of Southern Maine and those individuals with the courage to tell their stories,” said CEN director Ian Meng, Ph.D. “Sharing these stories will help reduce the stigma and increase compassion towards those with chronic pain. It is our hope that this exhibit, used as resources for students and educators, will help train future practitioners in providing the highest quality of care to patients experiencing chronic pain.”

The pain narratives were supported in part through a grant from the Maine Cancer Society.

To learn more about UNE’s Center for Excellence in the Neurosciences, visit: www.une.edu/research/cen

To learn more about UNE’s Center of Biomedical Research Excellence for the Study of pain and Sensory Function, visit www.une.edu/research/cobre

To apply, visit www.une.edu/admissions

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