PhD student in Experimental Medicine
Award winning publication: Tonic Pain Experienced during Locomotor Training Impairs Retention Despite Normal Performance during Acquisition
Published in: The Journal of Neuroscience
"Our work bridges two research areas that have traditionally evolved separately: pain and motor learning. This is the first study to assess how pain impacts both the progress of training performances and the long-term retention of the learning. Our research answers a simple, clinically relevant, question: how does pain impact the capacity to learn new motor tasks and,more specifically, the capacity to retain the learning? The results revealed that the effects of pain are insidious. People who experience pain seem to improve normally during the training period, creating the false impression that the pain does not impact the learning. But the pain actually interferes with the capacity to retain new learning as a long-term memory—a major outcome of the rehabilitation process."
Over half of the people who must relearn to walk after an injury such as an amputation or spinal damage experience pain. The research carried out by Jason Bouffard reveals that the interventions to treat pain and physical rehabilitation training must be better coordinated in order to optimize the benefits of the rehabilitation services aimed at patients who suffer from pain caused by a physical disability.