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Papers of the Week

Papers: 28 Nov 2020 - 4 Dec 2020


2020 Nov 25



Neuropathic pain in children: Steps towards improved recognition and management.



Neuropathic pain in children can be severe and persistent, difficult to recognise and manage, and associated with significant pain-related disability. Recognition based on clinical history and sensory descriptors is challenging in young children, and screening tools require further validation at older ages. Confirmatory tests can identify the disease or lesion of the somatosensory nervous system resulting in neuropathic pain, but feasibility and interpretation may be influenced by age- and sex-dependent changes throughout development. Quantitative sensory testing identifies specific mechanism-related sensory profiles; brain imaging is a potential biomarker of alterations in central processing and modulation of both sensory and affective components of pain; and genetic analysis can reveal known and new causes of neuropathic pain. Alongside existing patient- and parent-reported outcome measures, somatosensory system research methodologies and validation of mechanism-based standardised end-points may inform individualised therapy and stratification for clinical trials that will improve evidence-based management of neuropathic pain in children.