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Culture, Brain, and Analgesia

Understanding and Managing Pain in Diverse Populations

Mario Incayawar, Knox H. Todd


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In this book, the authors have placed culture in the forefront of their approach to study pain in an integrative manner. Culture should not be considered solely for knowing more about patients' values, beliefs, and practices. It should be studied with the purpose of unveiling its effects upon biological systems and the pain neuromatrix.

The book discusses how a multidisciplinary and integrative approach to pain and analgesia should be considered. Some familiarity with the cultural background of patients and awareness of the provider's own cultural characteristics will allow the pain practitioner to better understand patients' values, attitudes and preferences. Knowledge of patients' cultural practices will allow determining the impact of culture on biological processes, including the origin and development of pain-related disease, and the patients' response to pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments.

Acknowledging the interactions of molecules, genes and culture could yield a more appropriate and effective personalized pain medicine. Furthermore, this approach has the potential to transform the way pain medicine is taught to young students and future pain professionals, and in so doing meet the need of trained clinicians who are versed in multiple disciplines and are able to use an integrative approach to diagnose and treat pain. A personalized medicine will have non-negligible positive effects in improving doctor patient relationships, patient satisfaction, adherence to treatment plans, and health outcomes and inequities.

It is hoped that the material in this volume will appeal to a broad cross-section of health practitioners, students and academicians, including pain medicine specialists, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, mental health, community and public health workers, health policy makers, and health administrators.

Oxford University Press, USA, 9780199768875, 423pp.

Publication Date: December 19, 2012

About the Author

Professor Mario Incayawar is a Quichua physician-scientist and educator interested in social neuroscience of pain and analgesia and cultural psychiatry. He is the recipient of the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship 2006. He has published extensively in English, French and Spanish. Dr. Todd received his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and his MPH in Epidemiology from the UCLA School of Public Health. He began his academic career at Emory University in Atlanta and subsequently moved to New York where he joined the faculty of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and established the Pain and Emergency Medicine Institute at Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan. In 2011, he became the founding Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.