Study the Somatosensory Circuitry through Brain Science and Linguistics(1/2)

Project: A - Government Institutionb - National Science and Technology Council

Project Details


In Chinese society, pain is often described as a compound word “sng-pain” (痠痛), in which sng (pronounced as sә-ng, 痠) is a Taiwanese word that represents the state of feeling sore. However, although chronic sng is a major complaint in many chronic pain diseases and largely affects the quality of life among patients, sng is notoriously ignored in current medicine and is always treated as a mild symptom of pain. We have thus proposed a new hypothesis that sng and pain are two segregated somatosensory functions with differential biological impacts. Our preliminary data have shown sng and pain are indeed two different symptoms in chronic low back pain, and ASIC3 is a candidate proton sensor to transduce sng in the somatosensory system. Nevertheless, the methodology and theory to investigate sng almost do not exist. Thus, the objective of this proposal is to form an interdisciplinary research joint force and to develop methods and models to probe how sng (痠) and pain (痛) are transmitted, processed, and decoded in the brain, as well as their linguistic presentation. Especially, we would like to reveal how culture, language and cognition can affect sng and pain expression amongst individuals, and vice versa. In a long run, we will promote this sng-pain research in other countries and establish international collaborations, so that we can decode the “sng” in people with different language and cultural backgrounds and develop an AI-based sng recognition system for medical uses. This will be a 10-years-long study. The long-range goal of the proposed application attempts to decode the sng matrix in the brain. Our ambition is to lead a new research direction and make Taiwan as a world center for sng research. Enlightened by the sng hypothesis, we are now in a new frontier of biology and kicking off the new era to re-examine the “pain” we have learned, understood, and/or mis-understood. To achieve our current objective, we will form 5 subprojects to pursue the following three specific aims: Specific aim #1: To determine the sng matrix in the human brain (subprojects 1,2) Specific aim #2: To define the neural circuitry of sng and pain in mice (subprojects 3,4) Specific aim #3: To develop novel technologies, methods, and models to dissect sng and pain (subprojects 1,2,3,4,5)
Effective start/end date6/1/195/31/20


  • ASIC3
  • sng
  • pain
  • linguistics
  • machine learning


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