In Memoriam: Carlos Maurício de Castro Costa

Carlos Maurício de Castro Costa, MD, MSc, PhD
Fortaleza, Brazil

By João Batista S. Garcia, MD, PhD
Vice President, Sociedade Brasileira para o Estudo da Dor

In our country we often talk about the "March waters," referring to the heavy rain during this month. This year, March will be remembered by the storm that hit us with the passing away of our dear friend Carlos Maurício de Castro Costa.

Carlos was born in the northeastern region of Brazil and was educated in a Catholic seminary, where he also taught children catechism and religion, with orientation of Friars Minor Franciscan priests, from whom he acquired very early the pleasure of studying languages. He started with Latin and went on with Greek, Spanish, French, English, Italian, German, Dutch, Russian, Sweden, Arabic and Japanese, thus becoming one of the major polyglots of his region.

He graduated in Medicine from the Federal University of Ceará (UFC) in 1971 and all his post-graduate work was in the Université Catholique de Louvain/Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, namely: specialization in neurology (1978), Masters Degree (1979) and Doctorate (1986) in Medical Sciences, Post-Doctorate in Neurophysiology (1992) and Post-Doctorate in Neurology (1995). He was Head Professor of Neurology/ Neurophysiology at UFC, effectively working in an exclusive dedication regime, splitting his tasks between his post-graduate work (Doctorate and Masters Degree) in Pharmacology and the Neurology Department of the University Hospital Walter Cantídio. He was a pioneer in the study of pain in Ceará, and Ceará's medicine owes him a lot. He had wide experience in medicine, with emphasis in neurology, acting primarily in the following subjects: HTLV, behavior, and experimental and neuropathic pain.

He started his participation in SBED (Brazilian Society for the Study of Pain) as an active member (number 202) on July 21, 1997. His name was often mentioned during meetings, when he was called to be part of the Board of Directors as scientific director during Dr. Newton Barros' term of office. Then, he became vice-president under Dr. Onofre Alves' leadership (2007-2008) and, finally, was elected president for the biennial 2009-2010, heading the "Integration, Union and Teaching" group. His performance in the pain area was internationally acknowledged, not only by his numerous publications, but through his election as IASP Councilor for the period 2008 to 2014.

A sound enthusiast of the fight against pain and human suffering, Carlos was present since the first moment when he answered the call-invitation in 2004 to be Director of SBED until his last days, when on the eve of leaving us, he still would answer the telephone giving his last advice to the Board of Directors. He was always willing to help any of our members, personally answering questions asked to him.

A man with an unblemished heart, he was able to see the good things of human beings, had a pacifying and serene character, and would gather everyone around him. His early passing away, at the pinnacle of his intellectual capacity, leaves a gap difficult to be closed for the Brazilian and Latin American community dealing with pain, and an immeasurable yearning for those who loved him so.

An IASP member since 1989, Dr. de Castro Costa served as IASP Councilor as well as on various IASP and chapter committees, including research, nominations, fellowships, grants and awards, and scientific programs. IASP will remember him for his invaluable contributions to the study of pain in Brazil and the rest of the world.