Facebook Twitter

Plenary Session 03: "Mind-body Medicine and the Brain’s Role in the Perception and Management of Pain" presented by: Catherine Bushnell, PhD

16:15 - 17:00, Regency Ballroom, Terrace Level

Catherine Bushnell, PhD 

Scientific Director

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, NIH, USA


Presentation Synopsis

Chronic pain has reached epidemic levels in the US, with more than 100 million American adults affected.  Pain is costing our nation more than $600 billion each year.  To face this growing problem, many people are turning to mind-body therapies, such as relaxation, meditation, yoga and cognitive-behavioral therapy, to help manage chronic pain.  This lecture will address how these therapies alter pain processing and pain modulation in the brain, as well as how they may be protective against brain aging.



M. Catherine Bushnell, Ph.D. is Scientific Director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the NIH, where she is responsible for establishing and overseeing a new program on the brain’s role in perceiving, modifying, and managing pain. Prior to her appointment at NCCAM, Dr. Bushnell was the Harold Griffith Professor of Anesthesia at McGill University, in Montreal, Canada. She has been president of the Canadian Pain Society, and treasurer and press editor-in-chief of the International Association for the Study of Pain. Among her other honors are the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Pain Society and the Frederick Kerr Basic Science Research Award from the American Pain Society. Dr. Bushnell holds a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the American University, Washington, D.C. and received postdoctoral training in neurophysiology at NIH. Her research interests include forebrain mechanisms of pain processing, psychological modulation of pain, and neural alternations in chronic pain patients. Recent projects have utilized brain imaging and psychophysical testing to study the neural basis of pain processing, addressing both normal pain processing and aberrant processing after nervous system damage.