CONTACT: JENNIFER CRONIN
2130 Medical Laboratories
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-9917; fax (319) 335-8034
Release: Aug. 19, 1999
UI physical therapy researcher receives National Institutes
of Health grant
IOWA CITY, Iowa Kathleen Sluka, Ph.D., University
of Iowa assistant professor of physical therapy, has received an $880,000
grant from the National Institutes of Health.
The grant, which lasts through February 2004, will
fund a study of the neurobiology of chronic muscle pain.
Chronic musculoskeletal pain affects 14 percent of
people in the United States. Sluka wants to establish and characterize a new
model that better mimics chronic, widespread muscle pain. The current models
of musculoskeletal pain typically produce short-term hyperalgesia (extreme
sensitiveness to painful stimuli). However, chronic muscle pain is long-lasting,
persisting for months or even years for some individuals.
"These proposed studies will help in the understanding
and potential treatment of chronic muscle pain, including such conditions
as fibromyalgia, myofascial pain and low-back pain," Sluka said.
Sluka, who joined the UI faculty in 1996, is focused
on studying joint and muscle pain in animal models. In addition to her new
project, Sluka is looking at the analgesic effects and neural action mechanisms
of physical therapy treatments on inflammatory pain. She also is investigating
the role of calcium channels and second-messenger systems located in the central
nervous system in pain processing.