Joel Katz, PhD

Understanding and Preventing Pain
My research program has two major objectives:  
1. To assess the contribution of peripheral injury to the development of pathological pain states in which the central nervous system plays a prominent role.
2. To design and systematically evaluate means of preventing the state of central neural sensitization that develops after injury and that often marks the transition from time-limited pain to chronic pathological pain.

Together, this research forms the basis of a model I have developed to evaluate the contribution of central nervous system plasticity to acute postoperative pain and hyperalgesia by altering the timing and route of administration of various analgesic agents relative to incision.

Surgery provides a context in which the central neural and primary/visceral afferent contributions of noxious intra-operative stimuli to subsequent pain can be studied in a controlled manner. We are conducting randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials to evaluate a preventive approach to postoperative pain (called pre-emptive analgesia) that involves administering a variety of analgesic agents by different routes before incision. We are evaluating the effects of pre-emptive analgesia on intra-operative stress and immune status, postoperative pain, analgesic requirements and psychosocial functioning.

One series of studies assesses the mechanisms underlying the efficacy of pre-emptive analgesia by evaluating the role of specific agents that act at sites on the N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) receptor (e.g., non-competitive NMDA channel blockers such as ketamine and amantadine).

A second related area of research is directed at understanding the mechanisms responsible the transition of acute pain to chronic, pathological pain.

I have approached this issue from two perspectives. One involves evaluating the role of pre-amputation pain in contributing to the central neuroplastic changes that underlie phantom limb pain 'memories'.The second involves following up patients after other major surgical procedures in an attempt to identify early predictors of long-term pain.

Other research interests include gender differences in pain and analgesic use, phantom limb pain and pain measurement.
Pain. 2018 May 23;:
Hussain N, Shastri U, McCartney CJ, Gilron I, Fillingim RB, Clarke H, Katz J, Juni P, Laupacis A, Wijeysundera D, Abdallah FW
Nat Rev Neurosci. 2018 May 15;:
Price TJ, Basbaum AI, Bresnahan J, Chambers JF, De Koninck Y, Edwards RR, Ji RR, Katz J, Kavelaars A, Levine JD, Porter L, Schechter N, Sluka KA, Terman GW, Wager TD, Yaksh TL, Dworkin RH
Am J Health Promot. 2018 Jan 01;:890117118758234
Pirbaglou M, Katz J, Motamed M, Pludwinski S, Walker K, Ritvo P
J Spinal Cord Med. 2017 May;40(3):258-267
Hitzig SL, Hunter JP, Ballantyne EC, Katz J, Rapson L, Craven BC, Boschen KA
Patient Relat Outcome Meas. 2018;9:49-64
Nicholls JL, Azam MA, Burns LC, Englesakis M, Sutherland AM, Weinrib AZ, Katz J, Clarke H
J Infect Dis. 2018 Jan 12;:
Rolfes MA, Gross FL, Flannery B, Meyers AFA, Luo M, Bastien N, Fowler RA, Katz JM, Levine MZ, Kumar A, Uyeki TM, Canadian Severe Influenza Study (CSIS) and the Randomized, Double-Blinded Controlled Trial Comparing High vs Standard Dose Oseltamivir in...
Ann Surg. 2018 Jan 03;:
Karanicolas PJ, Cleary S, McHardy P, Kiss A, Sawyer J, Behman R, Ladak S, McCluskey SA, Srinivas C, Katz J, Coburn N, Law C, Wei AC, Greig P, Hallet J, Clarke H
RMD Open. 2017;3(2):e000507
Bottai M, Tjärnlund A, Santoni G, Werth VP, Pilkington C, de Visser M, Alfredsson L, Amato AA, Barohn RJ, Liang MH, Singh JA, Aggarwal R, Arnardottir S, Chinoy H, Cooper RG, Danko K, Dimachkie MM, Feldman BM, García-De La Torre I, Gordon P, Hayashi T,...
Acad Med. 2017 Nov 14;:
Rice K, Ryu JE, Whitehead C, Katz J, Webster F
Br J Pain. 2017 Nov;11(4):169-177
Weinrib AZ, Azam MA, Birnie KA, Burns LC, Clarke H, Katz J

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Adjunct Scientist, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute
Professor, Department of Anesthesia, University of Toronto
Associate Member, Department of Psychology, Hospital for Sick Children
Professor and Canada Research Chair in Health Psychology, York University