Philosophical Society of Washington

Eudynia

The Neurosurgical Management of Pain

Richard North
LifeBridge Brain & Spine Institute


2230th Meeting Abstract
Friday, December 14, 2007 at 8:15 PM

Abstract:

Pain is normally a biologically useful sensation, signaling injury, and adaptive responses normally are possible. Certain disease states cause chronic pain, and in some cases this reflects injury to the nervous system itself. Neuropathic pain represents a false signal, which frustrates adaptation by the patient and treatment by the physician. Modern medical and surgical techniques address this challenging problem.

About the Author:

Richard North is Director of Neuromodulation at the LifeBridge Brain & Spine Institute and Professor of Neurosurgery, Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (retired). He received his medical degree from The Johns Hopkins University, where he also completed his fellowship in biomedical engineering. He then became a junior resident in surgery at Duke University prior to returning to Johns Hopkins for his neurosurgical residency and joining the faculty.

He has a special interest in neurosurgical management of pain. He has served as chairman of the Section on Pain of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, and is past president of the North American Neuromodulation Society. He also treats intracranial problems, with special interest in trigeminal neuralgia, as well as degenerative and neoplastic spine disease. He is certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery and the American Board of Pain Medicine.

His research focuses on the clinical applications of implantable devices, particularly for the management of chronic, intractable pain; and on the mechanisms of pain of spinal origin. Spinal cord stimulation, notably for persistent pain following low back surgery, is the most common application of this technology. His lab has developed computerized, patient-interactive equipment to optimize the adjustment of implanted stimulators. He holds a number of patents in the field. From 1997 to 2003, he served as CEO of Stimsoft, Inc., which he founded to develop related technology.


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