Behind the Heel Lance
A common misconception is that neonates don’t feel or remember pain; therefore, pain management can often be neglected when administering painful procedures in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). However, neonates actually have functionally active nociceptive systems, which means that repeated painful stimuli may have both immediate consequences and long-term detrimental effects on the developing somatosensory system. Poor pain management of NICU patients is partly due to lack of understanding of mechanisms of pain in the neonatal somatosensory systems amongst nurses and other front-line health care practitioners.
My master’s research project for the biomedical communications program at University of Toronto was to develop an educational 3D animation targeted towards NICU nurses and other front-line healthcare professionals. The animation aims to educate the target audience about the physiological effects of painful stimuli in neonatal somatosensory systems and to inspire development of better pain management methods for NICU patients
Dancing with Pain
Dr. Leora Kuttner
“Dancing with Pain” (20 min) explores four teenagers’ journey as they struggle for relief from chronic pain. Conceptually based on Melzack’s (1999) ‘Neuromatrix’, this short film features animation of the neuromatrix and a dancer whose movement provides additional expression of the teen’s thoughts and feelings. Diagnosed with CPRS, sickle cell disease, a facial injury and a shoulder trauma, the teens candidly discuss the uneven path to diagnosis, treatment therapies, social, familial and school issues, and the roles of pain professionals.
Directed and produced by Dr. Leora Kuttner, in collaboration with choreographer Judith Marcuse with original score by Hal Beckett and animation by Kim Palmer, 2013.