The face of pain in dementia: Facts and fables of pain in patients with impaired cognition


3rd Training School of our COST Action


Location: Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam (ACTA) (The Netherlands)


Time: March 19 - March 21, 2014 


Organizer: Frank Lobbezoo & Wilco Achterberg & Jenny van der Steen




The program can be found here


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Report about the 3rd Training School of the COST Action TD 1005

After the successful “Season Schools” for PhD students in Bamberg (Germany) and Clermont-Ferrand (France), the COST Action TD-1005 (Pain Assessment in Patients with Impaired Cognition, especially Dementia) organized its 2014 Spring School in Amsterdam (The Netherlands). The School was hosted by the Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam (ACTA) and received sponsorship from COST, ACTA, ACTA Dental Education BV (ADE), and Prelum Publishers (Houten, The Netherlands).

Fifteen PhD students from seven different European countries (Belgium, Cyprus, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, and United Kingdom) were selected for participation in this event. The PhD students had a multidisciplinary background, viz., clinical psychology, neuropsychology, speech therapy, dentistry, elderly care medicine, biology/neurosciences, pharmacology, and physiotherapy. The program, that was composed around the theme “The Face of Pain in Dementia”, consisted of fourteen plenary lectures by twelve experts in the field of pain and dementia. Topics ranged from an introduction into the pathways of pain in dementia and various methods for the assessment of pain in non-verbal individuals to the palliative care of dying individuals with dementia and pain. Also the students contributed to the program, not only by engaging in the discussions that followed each of the lectures but also by giving a brief presentation about their own research. The discussions following those presentations were very inspiring for all attendees, students and teachers alike. 

Apart from the teaching activities, all meals were enjoyed together, which positively added to the great group atmosphere. And as the cherry on the cake, the famous Rijksmuseum was visited, where a guide showed us not only the “must see” highlights but also some pieces of art that showed pain faces. Being taught earlier by professor Stefan Lautenbacher about how to interpret faces for pain (notably narrowing eyes, closing eyes, frowned eyebrows, and a wrinkled nose), the group turned out to be quite able to judge the artists’ achievement in displaying pain.

We, the organizers of this Spring School, are grateful to all teachers and students for their positive and important input. And last but not least, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to the sponsors for making this event possible. Especially the help of Floortje van Andel (ADE) and Behzad Harampanari (ACTA) was indispensable.




Frank Lobbezoo, Wilco Achterberg, and Jenny van der Steen

Amsterdam, March 24, 2014