UHealth - University of Miami Health System

Eva Widerstrom-Noga, DDS, PhD

General Information

Eva  Widerstrom-Noga, DDS, PhD

Contact

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Languages

  • English

Roles

  • Research Professor

Research Interests

Persistent chronic pain is prevalent after a spinal cord injury (SCI), with about two-thirds of all persons with SCI reporting persistent pain despite available treatments including pharmacological gold standard treatments. Severe neuropathic pain after SCI is associated with lower general health and well-being, and with higher levels of depression. Although pain after SCI has been the topic of multiple basic and clinical research studies, large proportions of people with SCI continue to experience severe and refractory neuropathic pain that significantly impacts on quality of life after SCI.

 

My research program is focused on the identification of clinical pain phenotypes and biomarkers of underlying mechanisms of neuropathic pain after spinal cord and traumatic brain injury. The long term goal is to facilitate translational research and the development of tailored clinical interventions.

My research focus is interdisciplinary and often based on team science. The research methods used includes extensive multimodal pain evaluation protocols including measurements of pain symptoms and its psychosocial impact, quantitative assessment of neurological function/dysfunction, and biomarkers including non-invasive brain imaging, and genetic polymorphism.

In a newly funded study we will determine the ability of whole brain Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS)  and Diffusion Kurtosis Imaging (DKI) measures in brain areas involved in the processing and modulation of pain (thalamus, insula, cingulate, prefrontal cortex, hippocampus), to predict pain symptom, somatosensory and psychological pain phenotypes. The proposed brain imaging is non-invasive, meaning that only standard MRI equipment is needed and there are no injections of anything such as contrast agents, or chemical tracers. MRI is a safe and commonly used method of assessing the brain and other parts of the body.

In another newly funded study we will explore the perspectives of persons with SCI, their significant others, and healthcare providers regarding how to optimize management of severe neuropathic pain. This qualitative study includes face-to-face, semi-structured interviews of 45 participants using interview guides with probes to identify, from the perspectives of persons living with SCI, their significant others, and health care professionals, the barriers and facilitators to optimal pain management for severe neuropathic pain based on a bio-psychosocial framework.

 

 

Education

1993 PhD
University of Goteborg
1986 DDS
University of Goteborg

Publications

Biography

 

Dr. Widerstrӧm-Noga’s background is in cross-disciplinary pain research (pain physiology and pain psychology). She has performed human pain research for more than 22 years and in people with spinal cord injury (SCI) for over 18 years and more recently in traumatic brain injuries.

Dr. Widerstrӧm-Noga has published over 45 peer reviewed journal papers and 8 book chapters on pain and pain assessment. Her present research involves verbal and quantitative sensory pain assessment and non-invasive brain imaging with the primary purpose of identifying clinical pain phenotypes and biomarkers representing underlying mechanisms of central neuropathic pain in order to facilitate the development of tailored clinical interventions.

Dr. Widerstrӧm-Noga serves as the Chair or as a member in National and International committees to standardize pain outcome measures and pain classification after neurotrauma. She has been instrumental in developing the International SCI Pain Data Sets and the NINDS CDEs for SCI and pain.