Assessing Pain in Patients with Dementia: Difficulties and future Implications

At the University of Bamberg, Germany from March 8th (Thursday) – 10th (Saturday) 2012

Organizers: Prof. Dr. Erik Scherder & Dr. Miriam Kunz



The detailed program can be found here



Report about the 1st Training School of the COST Action TD 1005

The 1st Training School of the COST Action TD 1005 took place at the University of Bamberg (Germany) from March 8th (Thursday) till 10th (Saturday) 2012. Dr. Miriam Kunz and Prof. Erik Scherder put together a 3 day program including presentations by scientific experts, presentations by students (student sessions) which provided a platform for the young researchers to present their own work as well as allowed for vivid exchange and discussions among the students and practical sessions, where students learned to apply pain assessment tools and pain assessment strategies. Altogether 15 students from 9 different countries came to Bamberg to participate in the 3-day Training School.

On Thursday, Prof. Stefan Lautenbacher and Prof. Erik Scherder gave a broad and insightful overview how cognitive decline affects pain processing and different types of pain responses and how important it is to consider where in the brain neurodegeneration takes place and interacts with pain processing networks. In the afternoon, students presented their own exciting research projects on assessing pain in demented and cognitively impaired individuals. Following the science-part of the day, all students were given a guided tour through Bamberg and met again in the evening for dinner.

On Friday, Dr. Miriam Kunz presented her work on the facial expression of pain and gave a more practical session, where students learned how the Facial Action Coding System works and what possible facial movements one can do.

In the afternoon, Prof. Stefan Lautenbacher jumped in for Dr. Sandra Zwakhalen (who took ill and could not come) and taught about the impact normal ageing has on pain. Following his remarks, there was another student session. This time, students who also work in a more clinical field, presented their excellent research that provided a more clinical perspective on dementia and end of life care. In the evening, the group met for an original Frankonian (this is the part where Bamberg is located) dinner.

On Saturday, Dr. Bettina Husebo gave a marvelous presentation on her research on pain assessment in demented patients where she showed very impressive patient videos that made it clear how often pain remains undetected in demented patients. The School ended with a third really great student session where students presented their experimental research on pain and on dementia.

It was very stimulating meeting with very nice students and great teachers.