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Selected Research Results by Date

Research spotlights of selected studies are shown below. For a full list of published NCCIH Research to-date, see PubMed.

Spotlights for 2021

Patient looking at computer

Health Care Providers’ Facial Appearances Shape Patient Expectations About Pain and Pain Treatment
First impressions of medical providers’ online images can impact people’s decisions and expectations about pain and health outcomes even before in-person clinic visits, according to a new study funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). Led by researchers at NCCIH, the study was recently published in Social Science & Medicine.

June 2021


Woman with physician

Differences in Pain Among U.S. Subpopulations Based on Race and Hispanic Ancestry

A new analysis of data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) found that pain in U.S. adult Hispanics varies across Hispanic subpopulations. Although many Hispanic subpopulations exhibited lower prevalence of pain than White Non-Hispanics, the pain prevalence for other Hispanic subpopulations were equivalent to or greater than that for White Non-Hispanics. This analysis was conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) and was recently published in The Journal of Pain.

February 2021


Child being examined by doctor

Data Shows Underuse of Nonpharmacologic Treatments for Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain in Youth, and Overuse of Pharmacological Approaches

Young people receiving care for chronic musculoskeletal pain in the United States are prescribed medicine more often than nondrug treatments such as physical therapy or health education, according to a new study. Published in The Journal of Pediatrics, the study also found that opioid prescriptions in the 18- to 24-year age group are close to the level previously reported in adults with musculoskeletal pain. The analysis was conducted by researchers from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health and the Université de Montréal.

February 2021


Overweight woman doing a yoga pose

Study Sees Beneficial Role of Yoga in Weight-Loss Program for Adults With Obesity or Overweight
According to a new study, participating in yoga as part of a 6-month weight-loss program is doable for adults with obesity or overweight and may also be helpful for weight loss, with no differences seen between people practicing two distinct styles of yoga.

February 2021


Illustration of a doctor taking a blood pressure reading of a patient

New Insight Into the Neural and Molecular Pathways for Pressure Sensation in Humans

Findings from a new study reveal a critical role for Aβ sensory neurons in pressure sensation and also suggest the involvement of an unknown molecular pathway. Recently published in Nature Communications, the study was conducted by researchers from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the University of California, San Diego, and universities in Sweden and the United Kingdom.

January 2021


3D reconstruction of nerve cells in the brain’s central amygdala

Study Provides New Insights on the Central Amygdala, a Brain Region That Regulates Pain Responses

Nerve cells in the brain’s central amygdala that play opposite roles in modulating pain show striking differences in structure and electrophysiological function, according to a new study from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health’s intramural research program. The study was recently published in the journal eNeuro.

January 2021


Woman looking at watch

A Disposition Toward Mindfulness Provides Pain-Relieving Benefits When Pain Is Rated in Hindsight

The pain-relieving benefits of a disposition toward mindfulness are most pronounced when people assess pain in hindsight and not immediately after it occurs, according to the findings of a new study led by researchers from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) Division of Intramural Research. The study, which was funded by NCCIH, was recently published in Psychosomatic Medicine.

January 2021