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27 July 2022

Meet the Researchers Helping Chronic Pain Patients Sleep Easy

The Brain, Mind and Pain (BMP) grant supports innovation in pain research and management. It is a pan-European grant that prioritizes applications with a focus on meeting patient needs. On 22 July, the winners of the third BMP grant were announced.

What is the BMP Grant?

The Brain, Mind and Pain ‘Patient-Centred Innovation Grant’ (BMP Grant) is an initiative of Pain Alliance Europe to identify, stimulate and encourage patient-centric and scientifically robust innovation in the areas of chronic pain and neurological disorders. The Grant puts particular emphasis on novel ideas which have the patient’s involvement and perspective at the core and directly address patients’ needs, whilst also increasing awareness of chronic pain conditions and neurological disorders. The theme of this year’s grant is “Healthy Sleep for People Living with Brain, Mind and Pain Conditions”. In recent years, there has been considerable evidence of a relationship between the sensorimotor disorder restless legs syndrome (RLS) and pain disorders, including migraine and fibromyalgia1. The majority of patients with chronic pain also experience sleep problems which in turn may result in greater pain, depression, physical symptoms and disability, and less daily uptime2. There is therefore a need to explore new ideas with the potential to support a healthier sleep cycle.

Approximately 1.5 billion people suffer from chronic pain around the world, representing a significant burden on society3. Nevertheless, there is a substantial need for new and more effective pain management strategies. We, therefore, continue to fund initiatives such as the Brain, Mind and Pain (BMP) Grant that support new research approaches with the potential to contribute to a world free of pain.

Meet the winners of the 2022 Grant

The two 2022 winners successfully tackle the theme of “Healthy Sleep for People With Brain, Mind and Pain Conditions” and the jury were particularly impressed with how they put the patient needs at their core.

  1. Kieran O'Sullivan and Abigail Browne of the University of Limerick, Ireland
    Investigating the availability and acceptability of self-management options to enhance sleep for people with persistent musculoskeletal pain and comorbid disordered sleep. The findings will then be implemented into existing education programmes targeted at both people with persistent pain and clinicians.

  2. Katharina Glanz of the European Alliance for Restless Legs Syndrome (EARLS)
    Project “Expert Finder” - Giving restless leg syndrome (RLS) patients throughout Europe the opportunity to find support in their region through a qualified diagnosis and an adequate therapy to improve their sleep and thus quality of life.

Further information about the BMP Grant can be found here.

“Struggling with quality sleep is something we can all relate to. For people living with brain mind and pain conditions, it can have a debilitating effect on the quality of daily life. The winning projects really embraced the theme and put forward patient-centered approaches that have the potential to provide real-life, tangible benefits. I look forward to seeing these projects come to life.”

Deirdre Ryan,

President Pain Alliance Europe

1 Hoogwout SJ, Paananen MV, Smith AJ, Beales DJ, O'Sullivan PB, Straker LM, Eastwood PR, McArdle N, Champion D. Musculoskeletal pain is associated with restless legs syndrome in young adults. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2015 Oct 14;16:294.
2 Marty M, et al. Quality of sleep in patients with chronic low back pain: a case-control study. Eur Spine J. 2008;17(6):839-844. McCracken LM, Iverson GL. Disrupted sleep patterns and daily functioning in patients with chronic pain. Pain Res Manag. 2002;7(2):75-79.
3 Goldberg D.S. and McGee S.J. Pain as a Global Public Health Priority. BMC Public Health. 2011;11:770.
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