July 27, 2017

Tarleton neuroscience lab gets new equipment to study chronic pain

STEPHENVILLE (July 13, 2017) — Researchers at Tarleton State University’s neuroscience lab have a new tool in their quest to unravel mysteries about chronic pain and how it affects brain activity.

A new 24-lead electroencephalogram (EEG) machine was delivered Wednesday, and the lab’s principal investigator Dr. Amber Harris-Bozer is ready to put it to use.

“Since the lab opened in 2016, we’ve used the nine-lead EEG machine,” said Harris-Bozer. “Now, with the new equipment, we will be able to do even more to reach our goal of understanding what goes on in the brain during chronic pain.”

The neuroscience lab uses electrophysiological, behavioral and cognitive measurements to tackle the mysteries of pain—a complex sensory, emotional, and motivational phenomenon.

To help with the research, local volunteers answer questions about their chronic pain levels and sit through an EEG.

“We record information from big populations of cells,” Harris-Bozer said. “A major long-term goal for the lab is to make a positive impact on the people participating in the studies.”

According to Harris-Bozer, the denser placement of electrodes on the new machine allows recording from more groups of cells, leaving less brain activity undetected. Additionally, having the two machines gives the lab the versatility to take on more research projects.

Currently, the lab hosts two major projects. One involves understanding brain activity that drives behaviors in chronic pain sufferers. The other explores marijuana use for chronic pain.

The lab also is part of several collaborative research projects on faculty stress, diabetic retinopathy, spontaneous pain and ways to enhance teaching methods.

Funding for the new EEG machine was provided by Tarleton’s College of Education through the support of the university’s Division of Academic Affairs.

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