Welcome To The PainGen Study!
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Thank you for participating!

We need your help for a study that is important for understanding and improving health in America. Millions of people suffer from chronic pain, and people respond very differently to drugs. These differences are in part genetic in origin, and are expressed in how the brain responds to pain.

This landmark study is the first to look at how the brain responds to a safe, effective pain-relieving cream in a twin sample. This study will help us understand why people respond differently to pain-relieving drugs, and how we can develop more personalized treatments for pain.

You will be compensated for participating in this study with a cash payment as well as a picture of your brain from the MRI scan and a custom 3D print of your own brain.

What you will do:

The study involves two parts. In the first part, you will answer questions and do easy tasks related to perception and memory
on your computer at home.

In the second part, we will scan your brain using fMRI, or functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, while you experience safe, tolerable heat and pressure stimuli. These stimuli will be painful—like holding a hot cup of coffee for a few seconds—but they are non-damaging and we will never exceed what you can handle comfortably. You will experience these stimuli with and without a safe, effective pain-relieving cream.

fMRI is a safe, non-invasive technique for imaging living human brains. It is widely used in hospitals to image the body and brain.
It is safe for both adults and children.

Pain, Genetics, and the Brain

The effects of pain relieving creams on reducing pain intensity has never been studied in a twin population before. This study will allow us to understand the influence of genetics and the brain when experiencing pain relief from the cream being tested. As a member of the Colorado Community Twin Study, you can help us gain a unique window into understanding pain and pain relief – that’s why we need your help! By understanding pain and drug treatment, we can help personalize treatments and find alternative treatments for opioids and other risky drugs.


Our Team

We are a group of neuroscientists and geneticists committed to understanding how individuals vary in their brain function
and responses topain-relieving drugs.

The study is led by Prof. Tor Wager of the University of Colorado Boulder. By better understanding pain processing in the brain, we can develop new therapies that work for each individual patient.