Author Archives: karim miran-khan

8-year anniversary of the famous “Research Waste” series. Have we progressed?

In January 2014, Professor Ian Chalmers and colleagues including Jonathan Grant, Ben Djulbegovic, and John Ioannidis launched a landmark Lancet series relating to research waste? Why ‘landmark’–isn’t that an overused trope? Not in this case because these preeminent scientists were looking in the mirror. Instead of ‘more research is needed’ and ‘more funding is needed’ these global leaders examined avoidable waste. Also in 2014, the METRICS (Meta-Research Innovation Centre at Stanford) launched.

They were heady days indeed. During that year the Centre for Open Science, in collaboration with Science Exchange of Palo Alto were trying to replicate findings from key cancer biology trials. You can guess how that worked out. Or read about it here.

If this isn’t too depressing you can get up to speed quickly via Rigor Mortis by NPR journalist Richard Harris. Who is not to be confused with the other Richard Harris (both great, of course). It’s a four-hour read that will change your life if some of what you are hearing here is news. Thanks to David Moher @dmoher for pointing me to that one.

Kudos international award-winning science graphist Vicky Earle @EarleArt for the graphic above and more to come on this blog … k2

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Time of day and chronic pain – how they are connected and why we should care

A cross-Canada research team has launched the CircaPain project to learn why chronic pain might fluctuate throughout the day

Everyone feels pain differently, and most research studies have worked to understand where, why, and how it happens. However, there is little data available on when pain happens. The new CircaPain study is seeking help from Canadians living with chronic pain to better understand changes in their pain throughout the course of each day. Pain fluctuations, or lack thereof, could be related to the type of pain condition, sleep habits, or even where people live.

Regardless of pain severity, some people experience constant pain all day while others experience pain that changes throughout the day. This could mean fluctuations from day to day or fluctuations within the day. For example, some people may feel more pain in the morning than in the evening, while others have more pain in the winter than in summer.

It has been proposed that these fluctuations are linked to our 24-hour circadian rhythms (our sleep-wake cycles). These circadian rhythms influence a lot of what happens in our bodies, especially when it comes to the function of nervous tissue and immune cells. The nervous and immune systems are vital to our experience of pain, which is why understanding how these pain fluctuations occur is so important.

A team made up of researchers from Queen’s University, Kingston Health Sciences Centre, and the Université de Montréal is working together to dive a bit deeper into the relationship between the circadian system and chronic pain and find out why rhythmic pain fluctuations occur. For this project to be successful, the team needs as many people as possible to take part in the study.

The study is now recruiting participants and can be accessed at It consists of two parts: the first is an online survey to understand study participants’ pain experience and daily habits (e.g., sleep/wake, coffee intake, etc.). Travel history and geographic location will also help the team learn whether daylight hours might play a role in pain. In the second part of the study, participants complete a 7-day electronic diary that collects data on their pain, mood, and other factors at three time points per day (8am, 2pm, and 8pm).

The CircaPain team hopes that the data collected in this study will provide individuals with a better understanding of their own pain, and in the process shed new light on how day/night changes might contribute to chronic pain. “We have the potential here to change how we think about pain, and spur the development of new personalized treatments across pain conditions,” said study lead investigator Dr. Nader Ghasemlou, an associate professor at Queen’s University.

Do you have questions about the study or want to learn more about the circadian control of chronic pain? Check out or email us at


Support for this research is provided by the Canadian Chronic Pain Network, part of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research-Strategy for Patient Oriented Research program.


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Canadian Arthritis Research Conference: Jan 31 & Feb 7-8 2022.

“CARC” is not a household name. It’s not going to top Coke, Pfizer or Netflix for brand recognition. But if you are part of the broad (inclusive) arthritis research community CARC might be valuable for you. It’s the Canadian Arthritis Research Conference and 2022 marks the 3rd annual event.

February 7 and 8, 2022 [Keynotes & symposia]: Join us for 2 keynotes, 12 invited symposia, and 12 ‘Best of the Best’ research presentations by emerging scientists (clinicians can be scientists as you know). Those 12 research presentations will come from the call of abstracts competition, see below.

Monday, January 31, 2022 [aka “Training/Lifelong Learner Day”]: All conference research oral presentations and research posters will be presented on the “Research Presentation Day” Monday, January 31, 2022. The conference organisers are separating the research presentations from the February keynotes and symposia so that speakers are not competing against each other. January 31 will have laser-like focus on research abstracts (including systematic reviews, all types of original research, and evidence synthesis). There will be expert tips for younger scientists (which includes clinicians) and opportunities for break out groups. A true “training day”– and everyone is a life-long learner, correct?

Why attend CARC? Three reasons: 1) Networking opportunities! The conference provides all levels of trainees (clinical fellows and MSc/PhD/Postdoc) to present and engage with researchers, clinicians and other experts. 2) We will award a series of prizes for research abstracts relating to posters and presentations made for CARC. 3) We plan to provide keynotes and symposia presenters with honoraria to reflect their preparation and contribution to the conference.

Who should consider attending? The world of arthritis researchers, clinicians and trainees. This conference (and its predecessor, the CAN Network Meetings of the early 2000s) have traditionally been well attended by rehabilitation researchers, other clinicians, basic scientists and health systems researchers. Abstracts are welcome from the broad church of arthritis. Email us if you are not sure you fit (but you will!).

Call to action! Please! Three of them! 

  1. Hold the 2022 dates: CARC Keynotes & symposia: February 7 & 8, 2022.
  2. Keep January 31, 2022 free to present your research abstract!
  3. Keep an eye on the CIHR-IMHA twitter account @CIHR_IMHA or this blog for how and when to submit abstracts, register for the conference and schedule details.

Final (somewhat innovative) point: Democracy strikes! 

We are inviting CARC keynote (individuals) and symposia (3-speaker panel) presentation suggestions from anyone. Literally anyone. The CARC Scientific Committee will evaluate the symposia submissions based on criteria such as importance of the research question, rigour of the methods, and research impact. This isn’t rare but many conference keynotes and symposia are appointed by the Scientific Committee. We are embracing a more communal approach via a crowdsourcing survey.

We (the Scientific Committee) are still working on the details of the criteria and we welcome your input! More to come on how to submit your suggestions!  For now, please note the dates, alert your colleagues, and look forward to 2022 with excitement.

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