Tarleton neuroscience lab gets new equipment to study chronic pain

Thursday, July 13, 2017

STEPHENVILLE, Texas— Researchers at Tarleton State University’s neuroscience lab have a new tool in their quest to unravel mysteries about chronic pain and how it affects brain activity.

A 24-lead electroencephalogram (EEG) machine was delivered Wednesday, and the lab’s principal investigator, Dr. Amber Harris-Bozer, is ready to put it to use.

“Since the lab opened in 2016, we’ve used the nine-lead EEG machine,” said Harris-Bozer. “Now with the new equipment, we will be able to do even more to reach our goal of understanding what goes on in the brain during chronic pain.”

The neuroscience lab uses electrophysiological, behavioral and cognitive measurements to tackle the mysteries of pain—a complex sensory, emotional and motivational phenomenon.

To help with the research, local volunteers answer questions about their chronic pain levels and sit through an EEG.

“We record information from big populations of cells,” Harris-Bozer said. “A major long-term goal for the lab is to make a positive impact on the people participating in the studies.”

According to Harris-Bozer, the denser placement of electrodes on the machine allows recording from more groups of cells, leaving less brain activity undetected. Additionally, having the two machines gives the lab the versatility to add research projects.

The lab currently hosts two major projects. One involves understanding brain activity that drives behaviors in chronic pain sufferers. The other explores marijuana use for chronic pain.

The lab also is part of several collaborative research projects on faculty stress, diabetic retinopathy, spontaneous pain and ways to enhance teaching methods.

Tarleton’s College of Education, with support of the university’s Division of Academic Affairs, funded the machine.

Tarleton, a member of The Texas A&M University System, provides a student-focused, value-driven educational experience marked by academic innovation and exemplary service, and dedicated to transforming students into tomorrow’s professional leaders. With campuses in Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Midlothian and online, Tarleton engages with its communities to provide real-world learning experiences and to address societal needs while maintaining its core values of integrity, leadership, tradition, civility, excellence and service.

Contact: Dr. Amber Harris-Bozer
[email protected]

A founding member of The Texas A&M System, Tarleton State is breaking records — in enrollment, research, scholarship, athletics, philanthropy and engagement — while transforming the lives of nearly 17,000 students in Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Bryan and online. True to Tarleton’s values of excellence, integrity and respect, academic programs emphasize real world learning and address regional, state and national needs.