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Dr. Yoni Ashar - Advancing Pain Reprocessing Therapy: A Collaboration Across Roybal Centers


We are pleased to recognize collaborative efforts of the Columbia Roybal Center for Fearless and Behavior Change and the Cornell Roybal Center: Translational Research Center on Pain in Later Life to fund the work of Dr. Yoni Ashar and his team. Dr. Ashar's original investigation, "Reattribution to Mind-Brain Processes and Recovery From Chronic Back Pain: A Secondary Analysis of a Randomized Clinical Trial" published in JAMA Network Open marks a significant milestone in the development of Pain Reprocessing Therapy (PRT), an innovative intervention targeting chronic back pain.


PRT challenges the conventional belief that chronic pain solely comes from physical damage, encouraging patients to reconsider pain in the context of mind-brain attributions. Dr. Ashar's team use natural language processing techniques to reveal that PRT not only resulted in reduced mind-brain pain attributions but also triggered a chain reaction—reducing fear of physical activity and simultaneously reducing pain intensity.



The success of PRT underscores the collaborative approach between the Columbia and Cornell Roybal Centers. Dr. Ashar's work seamlessly merges the mechanistic focus of the Columbia Roybal Center, exploring interoceptive bias and fear of exercise, with the outcome-oriented expertise of the Cornell Roybal Center in interventions for chronic pain in older adults.

The Columbia and Cornell Roybal Centers are actively supporting the next phase of Dr. Ashar's intervention development. Funding is allocated for the transition from efficacy testing (Stage 2) to effectiveness testing (Stage 3), involving more diverse patient populations and a scalable video-delivered mode of delivery. If successful, PRT stands poised to revolutionize the treatment landscape for chronic pain in mid-life and older adults.

Dr. Ashar's team is actively recruiting participants for their ongoing Roybal study. Click here for more information.






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