Health, demographic change and wellbeing - DOLORISK


“DOLORisk: Understanding risk factors and determinants for neuropathic pain” is an interdisciplinary EU funded project that will investigate risk factors and underlying mechanisms of Neuropathic  Pain (NP). The consortium consists of 12 partners and is coordinated by Prof. David Bennett (University of Oxford).

Neuropathic pain  (NP) is common pain problem (population prevalence of 7-8%), resulting in a significant morbidity and reduced quality of life. The reasons why some individuals develop neuropathic pain and others do not following the same injury, are not known. The exact nature of risk factors for NP and their interaction are poorly understood. The aim of the project is to understand pain pathophysiology in terms of risk and protective factors  ranging from molecular pathways to psychological and societal variables.   The understanding  of the mechanisms underlying NP will provide a firm platform to improve the diagnosis, to stratify patients according to risk profile, to employ preventive strategies and ultimately develop novel therapeutics.


These are the objectives of DOLORisk:

  • To identify the influence of demographic factors, environmental/societal and clinical factors on the risk of developing and maintenance of NP
  • To apply modern genomics to validate (using a targeted approach) and find novel (using genome wide association) genetic risk factors for NP.
  • To use tissue samples and patient derived cells from biobanks to validate of molecular pathways contributing to chronic pain in patients.
  • To determine if patient stratification using physiological (sensory profile, endogenous analgesic mechanisms and nerve excitability) and psychological factors can predict NP risk and progression.
  • To  develop a risk model/algorithm for (severe) NP, combining measurable genetic and environmental factors.

    Role of Ghent University

    The Ghent Health Psychology lab (lead: Prof Geert Crombez) will bring in its expertise relating to the role of cognitive, affective, motivational and lifestyle variables in the development and exacerbation of pain, distress and disability.  Additionally, research will focus upon the interaction between biological and psychological variables within a diathesis-stress model. Specific tasks are the identification of the psychosocial risk profile for the development of neuropathic pain, and the development of  a screening tool for psychosocial risk factors for neuropathic pain


    WEBSITE: dolorisk


    Prof. dr. Geert Crombez
    Department Experimental-Clinical and Health Psychology
    Phone number: +32 9 2646461