The Florida State University College of Nursing has launched the Brain Science and Symptom Management Center (BSSMC), an institute for interdisciplinary research that will use brain simulation and computer technology to optimize pain and symptoms management.
Established by Founding Director Hyochol “Brian” Ahn, a professor and the associate dean for research in the College of Nursing, and Associate Director Hongyu Miao, a tenured nursing professor and adjunct statistics professor, the BSSMC will offer a nonpharmacological approach to pain care using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) as part of a national research program funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
“Traditionally, narcotics and other medications have been prescribed to assist patients with pain management, but this type of treatment has contributed toward the opioid crisis,” Ahn said. “The intended outcome of the center’s research will operate as a substance-abuse intervention that is non-addictive, non-invasive, non-painful electrical brain stimulation therapy. It focuses on measuring brain function, identifying the neurological source of pain and using electricity to stimulate, or massage, it away.”
Ahn has been funded by several NIH grants, including nearly $2.5 million for the project “Combination Therapy of Home-Based Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation and Mindfulness-Based Meditation for Self-Management of Clinical Pain and Symptoms in Older Adults with Knee Osteoarthritis.”
“Once FDA-approved, the use of our innovative technologies will enhance the health and independence of patients with an accessible therapy solution to optimize pain and symptom management,” Ahn said.
Florida has three brain-focused institutes, but the BSSMC says it sets itself apart through multidisciplinary research that involves nursing, engineering, neuroscience, mental health, statistics and data science.
Ahn and his staff give the BSSMC extensive experience in designing and implementing clinical trials related to pain and symptoms management, and he expects the center will broadly influence public and individual health.
“The center will model education and empowerment in noninvasive brain-related medical procedures through community outreach and knowledge dissemination,” Ahn said. “It will serve as a catalyst to increase awareness of pain management in the Tallahassee community and the State Legislature and is positioned to gain national and international recognition for brain stimulation and brain imaging.”
The Florida State University College of Nursing (CON) educates clinicians, leaders, scholars and advanced practitioners who can enhance the quality of life for people of all cultures, economic levels and geographic locations. Centers, Institutes and Labs within CON provide a framework for research and scholarly activities. Currently, CON houses three nursing research centers and a Digital Health Lab and is the prime awardee of the Florida First National Institutes of Health U54 Grant to increase diversity in health research. For more information on the Brain Science and Symptom Management Center, call 850-644-6012 or visit nursing.fsu.edu.