November 2015

Updates from TRIPLL!

The Translational Research Institute on Pain in Later Life (TRIPLL) is an NIH funded Edward R. Roybal Center. Our eNewsletter features recent news, events and funding opportunities related to pain and aging. In this issue we highlight studies that explore associations between inflammation and pain, how pain knowledge can be assessed, the effects of pain on sleep and how high risk medications affect older adults with pain,  as well as upcoming events and recent funding opportunities.
In This Issue
Inflammation may mediate pain in older adults with obesity

Why are older women with obesity at increased risk for pain? Research presented at the American Academy of Neurology's annual conference suggests that inflammation may be the culprit. In a study including 667 adults over the age of 70, researchers from Albert Einstein College of Medicine found that high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), a known marker of inflammation, is associated with greater pain among older women with obesity. According to the study's lead author, Vahid Eslami, MD, "obesity is... characterized by the release of inflammatory compounds including hs-CRP." Increased pain among obese older women, specifically, may reflect relatively greater inflammation in obese women than men. Dr. Eslami hopes that the temporal relationship of hs-CRP, obesity and pain will be explored in future studies, as well as the sex-specific nature of inflammation in obesity. 

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Assessing provider knowledge of pain in older adults

Pain in older adults is frequently under-recognized, under-assessed, and under-treated; this is particularly the case for older adults with dementia. In an effort to address this problem in the residential care setting, researchers from La Trobe University in Australia used the Delphi technique to establish consensus on the most appropriate measures to include in the Pain in Older Adults Knowledge Survey (POAKS). The POAKS consists of 24 true or false questions about the experience, assessment and management of pain in older adults. In a sample of 279 nursing students and residential care staff, investigators found that first year nursing students had the least expertise in this area, as scored by the POAKS, while third year nursing students and residential aged care staff had the greatest expertise. These results suggest that the POAKS may be helpful in assessing the knowledge of residential care staff, and may be appropriate for use as a pre/post-test measure when evaluating pain-related educational interventions. 

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Pain disturbs sleep in older adults without depression

Older adults with medical comorbidities often experience pain. While the relationship between these comorbidities and sleep disturbance has been well established, the effect of pain, itself, on sleep disturbance in older adults is unclear. To learn more, researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine conducted a cross-sectional analysis of data collected from 526 non-demented adults over the age of 70. Participants were assessed for pain and a number of other comorbidities, including depression and stress. When controlling for demographic variables, body mass index, stress, and medical comorbidities, the authors found that the effect of pain on sleep disturbance is mediated by stress and depression, but that this relationship is strongest in non-depressed older adults. 

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Are high risk medications detrimental to older adults with pain?

A retrospective cohort study from the Veterans Health Administration found that among older adults with chronic pain, high-risk medications, such as opioids, muscle relaxants, psychotropic or antihistamine drugs, are associated with negative outcomes. Among the 1,807,404 participants, more than 30% had chronic pain. Of these, almost 8% had been exposed to a high-risk medication. The researchers found that muscle relaxants or antihistamines were associated with more emergency department visits, of any cause. Additionally, psychotropic drugs were associated with greater hospitalizations, of any cause. These results may reflect the need for "being judicious" with the prescription of potent medications in older adult populations.

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TRIPLL Work in Progress Seminar 

Date: Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Location: Call 212-746-7362 or dial in with colleagues at Weill Cornell Medicine: 525 E 68th St,  Baker 1429  

Monthly TRIPLL Work in Progress (WIP) seminars are primarily devoted to reviewing and critiquing grant proposals prior to submission. Seminars serve as a "mini-study section," where proposals are carefully reviewed in advance by seminar attendees and interdisciplinary feedback is given to the presenter. Presenters circulate their materials one week in advance of the seminar to allow group members to carefully review the work. WIP seminars have helped enhance the grant-writing skills of investigators who have gone on to obtain federal and nonfederal funding. If you are interested in learning more about our WIP Seminars, please contact Cara Kenien at 

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Jewish Home Lifecare's 13th Annual Palliative Care Conference 

Date: Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Time: 8:30 AM - 3:30 PM
Location: The UJA Federation of New York, 130 East 59th Street, 7th Floor, New York, NY

Jewish Home Lifecare's 13th annual Palliative Care Conference will focus on the communication skills needed to nurture healthy connections between patients and clinicians. Conference registration fee is $75.00. Student registration is $30.00 with valid ID. Registration fees include breakfast and lunch. 

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Responsive Grants
The Retirement Research Foundation 
Funding Amount: Variable
Due Date
February 1, May 1, or August 1
The Retirement Research Foundation funds research projects that have a regional or national impact on older Americans.  Of particular interest are projects that seek causes and solutions to significant problems facing older adults through support of applied and policy research for which federal funding is not available. 

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Collaborative Networks to Advance Delirium Research (R24)
Funding Amount: Up to $500,000 per year
LOI Due  Date: January 12, 2016
Delirium, defined as an acute impairment of cognition and attention, is a common complication of severe illness and surgery in older adults. It is associated with multiple adverse outcomes including increased morbidity, mortality, functional and cognitive decline, and institutionalization.  Delirium remains markedly underdiagnosed.  Moreover, the underlying mechanisms, and thereby potential treatment or prevention targets, are inadequately understood, as is prognosis. Addressing important research gaps may improve approaches for appropriate prevention and management, especially as studies of multicomponent interventions suggest that delirium may be at least 30-40% preventable.  This FOA is intended to support a collaborative network to advance scientific research on the causes, mechanisms, outcomes, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of delirium in older adults.

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Collaborative Aging (in Place) Research Using Technology (CART) (UTC)
Funding Amount: 
$1,000,000 direct costs in any given year

Due Date: January 12, 2016, by 5:00 PM
The purpose of this, Inter-Agency Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to develop and validate the infrastructure for rapid and effective conduct of future research utilizing technology to facilitate aging in place, with a special emphasis on people from underrepresented groups. Successful multidisciplinary applicants with strong partnerships in engineering, computer science, health and medical research (both public and private sector) are encouraged to apply.

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Research on Chronic Overlapping Pain Conditions (R21)
Funding Amount: $275,000 per 2 year project period
Due Dates
February 16, June 16, October 16, by 5:00 PM
The Future Leaders in Pain Research grant program was established in 2005 to fund pain research projects of doctoral-prepared investigators who have not yet attained NIH RO1 level funding. The purpose of this grant is to encourage research in pain that will add to the existing body of knowledge, and to allow investigators to develop pilot data that will help them secure additional major grant funding for continued pain research. 

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We welcome your feedback about what you would like include in future eNewsletters. 
Email suggestions and news items to zsg2001@med.cornell


The Translational Research Institute on Pain in Later Life (TRIPLL) is an
NIA funded Edward R. Roybal Center with a focus on persistent pain due to both cancer and non-cancer related causes. TRIPLL is a collaboration between investigators at Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University in Ithaca and The Hebrew Home at Riverdale.