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Methods in Pain Research

Mannes, Andrew J., MD

doi: 10.1097/00000539-200211000-00088

National Institutes of Health

Bethesda, MD

Methods in Pain Research L. Kruger, ed. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8493-0035-5. 318 pp, $119.95

Methods in Pain Research is part of a series titled Methods and New Frontiers in Neuroscience and is intended for neuroscientists, fellows, and students interested in learning about specific areas of neuroscience. This edition is written to provide an introduction to the vast field of pain research including a historical overview, description of the many approaches to pain research including current methods.

The book is composed of 14 chapters and includes 30 contributing authors. An outline and generous bibliography are included with each chapter. Chapter 1 provides a brief summary of the many issues associated with pain research and includes a generic list of references to Web sites for electronic resources. Several of the chapters describe animal models for assessing pain. While there is overlap, the chapters are written at different levels and supplement one another. Chapter 3 titled “Techniques for Mutagenesis of the Murine Opioid System In Vivo” provides a good summary of opioid research and the use of genetic techniques. Chapter 9, “Membrane Properties,” is also a well-written chapter clearly describing ion channels as they relate to sensation and pain. Chapter 7 provides a historical-to-current review of in vivo/ in vitro sampling techniques, including microdialysis, antibody microprobes, and atomic force microscopy, with emphasis on the strengths and weakness of these approaches. Other chapters include information on electrophysiological recording techniques, anatomical methods, imaging, and clinical correlate of methods in humans.

This is not a “how-to” reference and does not include the level of information necessary to use the models/methods described but does provide appropriate references to publications and Web sites for obtaining the detailed protocols. There are perhaps too few illustrations that would better clarify some of these descriptions. A review of statistical methods commonly used for these techniques would have been another welcome addition. Also, there is little information on methods in proteomics/gene chip analysis as it pertains to pain research.

Overall, this book touches on most aspects of pain research and is an excellent beginning for neuroscientists interested in gaining a foundation in the field. For the nonresearch pain physician, it would facilitate a better understanding of the clinical relevance of the literature. While not a substitute for other introductory pain texts, this book is certainly a good starting point for building a library.

© 2002 International Anesthesia Research Society