Last month, a team of researchers investigating infant pain published a description of their method for monitoring babies’ brain activity by electroencephalography (EEG). The PRF covered their work in an earlier news story, so we were interested to see the new method paper come out. But this was not a paper, exactly—instead, the group laid out their technique in a video, published in the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE).
The article, from Rebeccah Slater at University College London and the University of Oxford, U.K., and her colleagues, joins JoVE’s collection of over 1,500 video-articles. The videos offer researchers a non-traditional means to share experimental protocols, with the benefit that researchers can access them in the traditional way: JoVE videos are indexed in MEDLINE and PubMed. Written submissions are peer reviewed, then professional videographers and editors at JoVE work with the authors to produce the video.
A video can be a needed how-to for researchers hoping to try a new technique, but it may also bridge the divide among specialties. Slater said that in her case, the video helps clinicians who collect the data to understand the statistical methods used in subsequent analysis. “I think this is one of the best ways to convey that information,” she told PRF. Conversely, she said the video gives statisticians a glimpse of what happens in the clinic.
The show and tell also demystifies the procedure, and may reassure people whose only encounter with the technique is reading Slater’s papers. “Working on babies and doing pain research is quite an emotive area,” she said. With the video, “People could actually see that a mum was holding her baby while these things were being done, and that it was all being done in a very appropriate way.”
Other JoVE videos of interest to pain researchers include one on the spared nerve injury model of induced mechanical allodynia in mice (Richner et al., 2011) and a new tutorial on burrowing in mice (Deacon, 2012), an innate behavior that some researchers are using to assess ongoing pain in rodents (e.g., see Jirkof et al., 2010 and Andrews et al., 2011). There is also in-vivo imaging of regenerating axons in mice after dorsal root crush (Skuba et al., 2011), methods for electrophysiology and imaging on single neurons in rats during movement (Dessem, 2011), a technique for inducing spreading depression in hippocampal slice cultures to model migraine (Pusic et al., 2011), and the transplantation of uterine tissue in mice to model the painful disease endometriosis (Pelch et al., 2012). In more clinically related videos, you can watch a pain-testing protocol used to predict post-operative pain in people (Landau et al., 2010) and transcranial direct current stimulation (DaSilva et al., 2011). You can even sit in as surgeons perform microvascular decompression to treat trigeminal neuralgia (Forbes et al., 2011).
Did we miss a good one? If there is a video that you find useful, please share it by leaving a comment below. And if there is a protocol out there that you wish you could see in action, you can suggest it to JoVE at their website.