Associate Professor James McAuley

TEAM LEADER PROFILE

Senior Research Scientist and Group Leader, NeuRA Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine, UNSW
Honorary Research Fellow, The George Institute for Global Health

+612 9399 1266


James McAuley is a psychologist, an Associate Professor in the School of Medical Sciences at UNSW and a Senior Research Scientist at NeuRA.

James completed his PhD at Brunel University, London (2002) investigating psychological influences on chronic low back pain. After immigrating to Australia in 2004 he took up a postdoc at the University of Sydney and then at the George Institute for Global Health. In 2010 he moved to NeuRA where he set up the Pain Research Education and Management (PREM) program. In 2017 James was appointed as Associate Professor to the Exercise Physiology department at UNSW.

James has published 135 articles in general medical journals such as the Lancet, the BMJ, Annals of Internal Medicine and PLoS Medicine. He has an H-index of 43 and is the third most productive researcher in his field. He holds over $3.5M in research funding and has given invited presentations at 10 national conferences and eight international scientific meetings in the past five years. James has supervised 18 PhD students and mentored four postdocs.

In 2015 James founded the NSW network for pain PhD students/ECRs (SPRiNG). He is the current chair of the back pain group of STREAM Health and is a member of the Scientific Advisory Group (SAG) for the Australian and New Zealand Musculoskeletal Clinical Trials Network (ANZMUSC).

Projects Associate Professor James McAuley is currently involved with

CURRENT PROJECTS

The STOPain Study: Using brain-computer-interface intervention for people with neuropathic pain

Chronic pain is a significant problem worldwide affecting nearly 8 million Australians. Unfortunately, despite the availability of analgesics and other pain therapies, no treatment has been found that benefits the majority of individuals, and most of the available treatments have significant side effects or risks for serious adverse events, e.g. kidney failure.

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The STOPain Study: Using brain-computer-interface intervention for people with neuropathic pain

RESOLVE – RECRUITING NOW

For people with long term back pain that is not getting better. We are testing two pain treatment programs that target the brain, for people with chronic low back pain.

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RESOLVE – RECRUITING NOW

UPWaRD: Understanding persistent pain where it resides – in the brain.

Persistent musculoskeletal pain is one of the most significant health issues in the developed world. Termed a ‘Western epidemic’, low back pain is the most common form of persistent musculoskeletal pain and a leading cause of suffering and disability. Despite the enormity of the problem, many current therapies target generic symptoms, not underlying mechanisms, with limited effect. In 2010, the Australian National Pain Summit concluded ‘the management of pain is shockingly inadequate’. This assessment is not surprising given that critical information on the biological changes that underpin persistent low back pain is lacking. The UPWaRD study is a 5-year NHMRC-funded trial that investigates the role of brain plasticity, along with biological changes in the spinal cord, hormonal changes, genetics and stress, in the development of persistent low back pain.

 

https://www.upwardbackpainstudy.com

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UPWaRD: Understanding persistent pain where it resides – in the brain.

Medicines for Back Pain

Medicines are a common treatment for back pain. The aim of this program of research is to improve our understanding of the clinical effects of medicines. Several studies constitute this program. 
 
Studies: 
1. A scoping review of analgesic medicines for chronic low back pain
The objective of this study is to identify the available clinical trials of medicines for chronic low back pain.  
This information will contribute to the methodology of Study 3. 
 
2. Evaluation of the impact of unpublished data from clinical trial registries on the effects of medicines for low back pain. 
The objective of this study is to evaluate whether there is a difference between clinical trial data that are published and those that are not published. 
This information will contribute to the methodology of Study 3. 
 
3. Paracetamol, NSAIDs and opioid analgesics for chronic low back pain: a network meta-analysis. 
The objective of this study is to produce information about the clinical effects of available analgesic medicines for chronic low back pain. This information will be available in a Cochrane review to assist clinical prescription of medicines.
Related Publications: 
Bagg MK et al. (2018). Paracetamol, NSAIDS and opioid analgesics for chronic low back pain: a network meta-analysis [Protocol]. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 6.doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD013045

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Medicines for Back Pain

AGReMA Project

Developing a Guideline for Reporting Mediation Analyses (AGReMA) in randomized trials and observational studies.

Investigating causal mechanisms using mediation analysis is becoming increasingly common in psychology, public health, and social science. Despite increasing popularity, the accuracy and completeness when reporting mediation analyses are inconsistent. Inadequate and inaccurate reporting of research stifles replication, limits assessment of potential bias, complicates meta-analyses, and wastes resources. There is a pressing need to develop a reporting standard for mediation analyses. Up to now, there have been no registered initiatives on the “Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency of health Research” (EQUATOR) network that guide the reporting of mediation analyses. Our proposed project aims to improve the reporting quality of future mediation analyses by developing a reporting guideline through a program of established methodologies (Systematic Review, Delphi Survey, Consensus Meetings, and Guideline Dissemination). The development and implementation of this guideline will improve the transparency of research findings on causal mechanisms across multiple disciplines.

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AGReMA Project

SLEEPAIN

For people with back pain who are having trouble with their sleep. We are testing whether a simple sleep tablet will help people reduce their pain and sleep better.

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SLEEPAIN

PREVENT

For people with a new low back pain episode. We are testing early intervention to reduce the risk of developing chronic low back pain.

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PREVENT

RESEARCH TEAM

THIAGO FOLLY Research Assistant

ANIKA HAIGH Research Assistant

PAULINE ZAHARA Research Assistant

IAN SKINNER Postdoctoral Fellow : 9399 1049
: i.skinner@neura.edu.au

ADRIAN TRAEGER PhD Candidate

HOPIN LEE PhD Candidate

Markus Hubscher

DR MARKUS HUEBSCHER Postdoctoral Fellow

PUBLICATIONS

Measuring two-point discrimination threshold with a caliper.

Cashin AG, McAuley JH

Persistent Pain After Wrist or Hand Fracture: Development and Validation of a Prognostic Model.

Cashin AG, Traeger AC, Hübscher M, Moseley GL, di Pietro F, Parkitny L, McAuley JH

To develop and validate a prognostic model from a comprehensive range of candidate prognostic factors that can identify patients who are at risk of developing persistent pain following wrist or hand fracture. We developed and externally validated a prognostic model to predict persistent pain 4 months after a wrist or hand fracture. Future studies are needed to assess whether the accuracy of this model can be improved by updating and validating it in local settings.

Correspondence: Living systematic reviews.

Bagg MK, McAuley JH
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