FEB 06, 2014 07:00 AM PST

Barriers to analgesic use - assessing the potential interactions of analgesics and unalleviated pain on research outcomes

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  • Associate Attending Veterinarion for Performance Standards and Enrichment, University of Michigan Medical School
      Jennifer Lofgren, DVM, MS, DACLAM is a Clinical Assistant Professor with the Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine, where she provides clinical veterinary support, protocol review, mentorship, and lecture support to residents. Dr. Lofgren also serves as the Associate Attending Veterinarian of Practice Standards and Enrichment and as the Faculty Advisor for the Enrichment and Social Housing Committee, where she helps animal use protocols meet or exceed laboratory animal science standards and regulations to achieve scientifically sound animal welfare excellence.

      In partnership with fellow U-M faculty veterinarian Dr. Jean Nemzek, Dr. Lofgren founded the Refinement & Enrichment Advancements Laboratory (REAL) at the U-M in 2015. As one of the country's only laboratories dedicated to optimizing biomedical research efforts through improved animal well-being, REAL seeks to understand the relationship between the animal's lived experience and scientific results. As part of this work, Dr. Lofgren has received three grants, including both the American College Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM Foundation) and the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (GLAS), to support nociceptive and behavioral research to identify pain behaviors and effective alleviation of pain in rodent species.

      Prior to joining the University of Michigan, Dr. Lofgren completed a visiting research fellowship at Newcastle University, where she learned how to conduct scientifically rigorous studies that isolate and evaluate pain behavior in rodents. She became a Diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine in 2011 after completing post-doctoral training in Comparative Medicine at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). While at MIT, Dr. Lofgren engaged in infectious disease and cancer research, as well as refining husbandry and veterinary care to improve animal welfare. Dr. Lofgren completed a dual degree Masters in Comparative Biomedical Sciences and a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Tufts University.


    Regulations and guidelines governing the use of animals in research require minimization of pain and distress. However, pharmacologic treatments to prevent or alleviate pain can interfere with the disease process being modeled. This presents a challenge to the veterinary and investigative staff in determining how to best optimize both animal comfort and research results. An important component of this decision making process receives comparatively little consideration: the impact of unalleviated pain on that same disease process. In this talk, we will discuss possible interactions of analgesics and unalleviated pain and how this may affect whether certain treatments are recommended, contraindicated, or perhaps without impact in various research models.

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