Pain is indelibly interwoven into the fabric of human experience. This supplement's cover image, a detail from Agnolo Bronzino's Venus, Cupide and the Time (Allegory of Lust) shows the unmistakable ravages of pain.*

We are now halfway through the Decade of Pain Control and Research designated by the US Congress, a fitting point at which to review how far we've come and how much remains to be done. This supplement provides that review.

There is not, nor should there be, any proposition that pain should be ended altogether, but the control of suffering remains a touchstone for everything that biomedical science is trying to achieve. How does it measure up?

If this was simply the "Decade of Pain Research" then the report card would be quite positive. As described in the series of articles beginning on page 18, progress has been truly spectacular. Cell and molecular biology, genetics, structural...

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