Long-Term Pain Weighing You Down? Want to Drop Those Opioid Meds? Join the Sparrow Therapy Study!


Next Steps

  1. Complete the study questionnaire
  2. Understand if you’re eligible to participate
Click Here

Research Center: University of Texas Medical Branch
Location: 301 University Blvd., Galveston, TX 77555, United States
Lead Researcher: Dr. Denise Wilkes and Dr. David Houghton
IRB: This study has been reviewed and approved by the University of Texas Medical Branch IRB

About the Study

Living with chronic pain and seeking a reduction in your medication? There’s a new idea on the block: the Sparrow Therapy System. This wearable device, which fits comfortably in your ear, modifies brain signals to potentially relieve withdrawal symptoms while you are reducing your medication. What makes the Sparrow Therapy System particularly exciting is its potential to revolutionize chronic pain management without invasive procedures.

Imagine: a non-intrusive solution that might reshape how we perceive and address persistent pain. The beauty of this system lies in its ability to tap into nerve stimulation around the ear, offering a fresh perspective on managing long-term pain conditions. This is why researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch are seeking individuals who manage chronic pain with opioid medication for a 3-night inpatient hospital stay, hoping to shed light on this groundbreaking therapy’s true potential.

If you’re interested in being part of this pioneering journey towards a pain-free future, see if you qualify and make a difference today!

Why Participate?

  • Participants may receive the Sparrow Therapy System for chronic pain at no cost for the duration of the study. They will be given an equal chance to receive either the Sparrow Therapy System or a placebo brain stimulation.
  • Participants will be compensated up to $2000 for participating in this study. They will be reimbursed at a rate of $25 per hour for each hour that they complete, even if they do not complete the overall study. In addition, each participant will receive two travel vouchers to travel to and from the Clinical Research Center ($50 for each travel voucher).
  • Participants may experience improvements in their chronic pain symptoms.
  • Participants will be contributing valuable information that may benefit those with chronic pain in the future.
    Participants will be helping to advance medical research.

Your Rights

  • If you decide to participate in the study and later feel that you no longer wish to be part of it, you can withdraw at any time.
  • Any information that you provide will be kept strictly confidential, except as required by law.
  • Qualified health professionals will monitor your health as it relates to the study.

Who Can Participate?

  • Men and women aged 18 – 75 who struggle with chronic pain and would like to reduce their pain medication
  • Must be on long-term opioid therapy (pain medication)
  • Must not be receiving treatment for cancer
  • Must not have a history of epileptic seizures
  • Must not have a history of neurological (related to the brain, spinal cord, or nerves) diseases or traumatic brain injury
  • Must not have an abnormal ear anatomy or a current ear infection
  • Must not currently have any problems with drugs or alcohol (except nicotine use)
  • Must not be pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Must be able to attend study visits at the research site over approximately 4 days and 3 nights

More Study Details

The study team will explain the research in its entirety but some details are:

  • Participants will undergo a 76-hour stay at UTMB’s Clinical Research Center in Galveston. This will include the confirmation of a negative urine pregnancy test for women of childbearing age and a urine drug test. Participants will complete questionnaires, undergo sensory testing, and be scanned by an MRI machine at the beginning and end of the study.
  • Throughout the study, participants will complete various questionnaires assessing pain, demographics, opioid withdrawal severity, depression, anxiety, physical functioning, sleep, and substance use.

About the Research Center:

University of Texas Medical Branch
For more than 130 years, the university has maintained a forward-thinking spirit that has enabled it to serve its students, its patients, and people in Texas and beyond in innovative ways. That pioneering spirit is alive today, enabling us to honor our legacy even as we expand our focus to improve health care worldwide. The members of the UTMB community share a deep commitment to service, an enduring dedication to excellence, a strong desire to blaze new trails, and a great willingness to leverage their extraordinary expertise.

Please note:
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the researchers would like to assure the participants that ensuring their and the study staff’s safety is of utmost importance.


What’s Next?

  1. Click the link to enter your contact details and take the study questionnaire.
  2. If eligible, a member of the research team will contact you to discuss the study and answer any questions you may have.
Click Here to Check Your Eligibility for this Study

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