The team from Bath’s Centre for Pain Research played a key role in this week’s IASP World Congress on Pain which took place in Toronto, Canada.

Presenting growing evidence about sex and gender differences in how pain is experienced, Deputy Director Professor Ed Keogh delivered a plenary address drawing on over 20 years of his own research in this area.

Ed explained how biological, psychological and social factors all play a role in explaining the variation that occurs in men and women’s pain, including differences in response to pain treatments.

He drew on his work on gender, and how pain is communicated, to illustrate how the experience and expression of men and women’s pain is influenced by the social context in which it occurs. He also highlighted important knowledge gaps, implications for research and practice, as well as his vision for the future of sex, gender and pain research.

Separately, CPR Director Professor Christopher Eccleston, took part in a debate with the editor of the journal ‘PAIN’, Professor Frank Keefe, arguing that that psychological practice can, and will, be replaced by modern digital and sensing technology in the future.

Arguing for the motion - ‘the future of psychological assessment and treatment is wholly digital’ - Professor Eccleston drew on evidence from around the world about how digital technologies are increasingly supporting patients living with chronic pain conditions.

Before the debate less than a quarter of the audience agreed with the motion (24%), but he was persuasive enough to swing the vote by 22% (to 46%). Christopher said: “People are warming to the idea of digital innovation in pain assessment and treatment.”

Also recognised at the Conference was Dr Lauren Heathcote, a former PhD student of the Centre for Pain Research at Bath and now Senior Lecturer at Kings College London. Lauren with a young investigator award, for leading research in fear of pain and cancer recurrence.

Commenting from Toronto, Professor Keogh said: “I am delighted to have been invited to address the whole pain community in this plenary address. Sex and gender differences have long been ignored in pain research and treatment, and it is a sign of how the community is maturing that we are now addressing these issues. Bath is well respected leader in pain research and we were pleased to be able to be present in person in Toronto”.