Laboratory of Behavioral Pharmacology
Current research involves the study of the interaction between the brain’s pain and reward systems. Our findings suggest that they may interact and support the existence of an endogenous opiate antagonist. If such an antagonist exists it would have major importance in how we view the perception of pain as well as the action of analgesics.
The research techniques we use employ surgical implantation of stimulating electrodes in an ascending brain pain pathway and the reward pathway. Once surgery is complete pain and reward thresholds are measured by means of classical psychophysical methods both with and without the stimulation of the opposite pathway. It is hoped that this research will lead to the development of more efficient analgesic compounds.