News and Commentary Archive

Explore recent scientific discoveries and news as well as CLBB events, commentary, and press.


The Center for Law, Brain & Behavior puts the most accurate and actionable neuroscience in the hands of judges, lawyers, policymakers and journalists—people who shape the standards and practices of our legal system and affect its impact on people’s lives. We work to make the legal system more effective and more just for all those affected by the law.

The Brain in Pain: A Tipping Point?

At the 2014 Keystone Symposium on the Brain, a talk by CLBB Faculty David Borsook, MD, PhD, member of the CLBB Pain Working Group addressed the neurobiology of chronic pain. View the original posting and more coverage of the event at Pain Research Forum

Meeting co-organizer David Borsook, Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, US, led off a session on the question of what happens to the brain in chronic pain.

The brain is a state, and that state changes with pain, Borsook said. “Like epoxy—it is gooey when you first mix it, but then it solidifies. Likewise, pain transforms the brain, and we need to understand this transition better—from the premix to the solid state.” Continue reading »

A Nation in Pain: Healing our Biggest Health Problem

By Howard Fields, MD | Pain Research Forum | May 1, 2014

By Boston Globe health columnist Judy Foreman, 2014. Foreman is winner of the Foley Journalist Award from the American Pain Society.

A Nation in Pain, by Boston Globe health columnist Judy Foreman,2014. Foreman is winner of the Foley Journalist Award from the American Pain Society.

Judy Foreman has written a remarkable book about pain. Although aimed at an educated and curious non-professional readership it contains information and perspective that will be of great value to patients, scientists and clinicians as well as those interested in policy. It is a broad based survey of the ‘problem’ covering its prevalence, psychosocial and economic dimensions and perhaps more impressively, a broad survey of current animal, human and clinical research. Despite the breadth and scholarly analysis reflected in the material, the author’s journalistic style and efficient prose make for easy reading. By artful interview and through her own suffering she has captured the predicament and frustration of patients facing both their own pain and the ignorance and rejection of health care professionals. In contrast, she conveys the scientists’ excitement and enthusiasm about their discoveries, all the while remaining objective and open about the limits of their findings. Her chapter on gender and pain is particularly informative. As with most of her chapters it is amply but not exhaustively referenced, providing a guide to deeper inquiry for the reader. In fact, this is one of the reasons the book is so good; Foreman has mastered the skill of providing sufficient information to give the reader a reasonable level of understanding without the burden of detail typical of a scientific paper. Best of all, the text is spiced with direct quotes from leading experts in the field. This was not only enjoyable for me because I know most the individuals personally but, in addition, it gives the reader confidence that the author’s conclusions have been scrutinized and informed by those in the know. The acknowledgements section reads like a who’s who of pain research. Continue reading »