A mouse study at Harvard Medical School found a surprising link between pain and sleepiness. 

Pain physiologist Alban Latremoliere, HMS research fellow in neurology at Boston Children’s, and sleep physiologist Chloe Alexandre, HMS instructor in neurology at Beth Israel Deaconess, who were co-first authors of the study, precisely measured the effects of acute or chronic sleep loss on sleepiness and sensitivity to both painful and nonpainful stimuli.

They then tested standard pain medications such as ibuprofen and morphine, as well as wakefulness-promoting agents like caffeine and modafinil.

Their findings reveal an unexpected role for alertness in setting pain sensitivity.

The research was supported by a National Institutes of Health program that required a pain scientist to join a nonpain scientist to tackle a completely new area of research, said Thomas Scammell, HMS professor of neurology at Beth Israel Deaconess and co-senior author of the study.

“This cross-disciplinary collaboration enabled our labs to discover unsuspected links between sleep and pain, with actionable clinical implications for improving pain management,” Scammell said.

Read the rest at www.hms.harvard.edu