High Impact Chronic Pain and UK Biobank: presentation, transitions, and targets for intervention (Chronic High Impact Pain Project, CHIPP)

High Impact Chronic Pain and UK Biobank: presentation, transitions, and targets for intervention (Chronic High Impact Pain Project, CHIPP)

Duration: 01 March 2022 – 28 February 2025
Funder: Medical Research Council and Versus Arthritis as part of the APDP initiative. 
Chief investigators: Professor Gary Macfarlane, Dr Elaine Wainwright
Post-doctoral research assistant: Dr Marcus Beasley

Chronic pain affects up to half of adults in the UK, severely disrupting the lives of about a quarter of these individuals. This severe disruption is known as high impact chronic pain. Our project, CHIPP, aims to understand the causes and impacts of this type of pain better, studying how it develops and how recovery occurs. Our research will inform the development of population level interventions to reduce the impact of chronic pain.

The project involves three key stages:

  1. Identification of distinct groups of individuals with varying patterns of high impact chronic pain.
  2. Understanding why high impact chronic pain affects some individuals more than others and how this varies over time. Our investigation will focus on psychological factors like mood, attention, and problem-solving ability, as well as considering the role of traumatic events that can occur throughout a person's life, such as sudden illness or bereavement.
  3. Identification of population level interventions, including self-care or treatment options, that can help reduce the impact of chronic pain. We aim to estimate the potential benefits if such interventions are successfully implemented.

For this research, we will utilise data from the UK Biobank, a large-scale national study, combined with the expertise of our patient partners, who contribute their lived experiences to refine our research focus. We also incorporate state-of-the-art statistical and artificial intelligence methods to reveal patterns and relationships within the data.

The third part of this project, led by the University of Aberdeen, adopts a public health perspective, aiming to identify and quantify targets for prevention and treatment at the population level.

CHIPP is an integral part of the Advanced Pain Discovery Platform (APDP). We work closely with patient partners to ensure our research remains patient-centric and focus on real-life impact. We also collaborate with clinical advisors to translate our findings into actionable strategies. Findings from our research will be shared in various forms including scientific journals, international conferences, webinars, visual animations, and YouTube videos, ensuring that they reach both the scientific community and the wider public.

For any queries about the study, please contact the study team at epidemiology@abdn.ac.uk