International Graduate Program: Medical Neurosciences

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General information

Title: Pain – mechanisms and Management

Professor: Halina Machelska

Course Typ: Seminar incorporating journal club

Target Audience: MSc, MD, PhD; open to other programs
                               Minimum number of participants: 5

Date and Time: January - March (weekly)

ECTS Credit Points: 3
                                3 x 60 min (incl. 15 min break) - Hours of teaching
                                Ca. 30 hrs - Hours of self study

Prof. Dr. Halina Machelska

Lab LeaderCharitéUniversitätsmedizin Berlin
Hindenburgdamm 30
12203 Berlin

Postal address:Hindenburgdamm 30 12203 Berlin

Campus / internal address:Hauptgebäude, Haus V

Learning Outcome

The seminar addresses basic and unconventional aspects of pain and its treatment. It covers multiple pain aspects such as anatomy, physiology and pharmacology of sensory nervous system, physiology and pathology of acute and chronic pain (inflammatory, cancer, neuropathic i.e. phantom pain and other types resulting from nerve injuries), intrinsic pain inhibition, "pain genes", sex/gender differences in pain and its inhibition, catastrophizing and empathy in pain perception, classical and novel pain therapies, and ethical guidelines of studies in animals and humans. The course is based on lectures, article analyses, and includes practical demonstration of devices for pain testing in animals. The seminar involves active student participation.

The major goals are:

1) To understand physiological and pathological aspects of pain
2) To recognize pain as a disease and not only as a symptom
3) To be able to present articles in a concise way to other students/teachers and gain skills in giving talks
4) To objectively analyze manuscripts as to the methods, statistics, relevance of the data, the quality of the introduction and discussion
5) To be constructive in your criticism by suggesting options for improvement


1) Introductory presentation by professor; this is interactive with questions asked by students
2) One to two presentations (15-20 min each) of the manuscript or a topic (prepared at home) by students
3) Discussion of the manuscript with participation of all students: This includes critical analysis of the suitability of the information provided in the Introduction and analyzed in the Discussion, validity of the methods (ARRIVE guidelines), and assessment of the results (statistical significance versus functional/biological/clinical relevance).
4) For interested and (at least) understanding German, participation in pain patient conferences can be arranged (extra time).

Assignments/ Exams:
No exam, but short tests (1-3 questions) might be included

Mandatory: Topic-related papers (1-2 weekly, announced a week in advance); must be read by all students (not only presenter).
Further: None