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Jarred W. Younger, PhD

Jarred W. Younger, PhD
Associate Professor
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Director of the Neuroinflammation Pain and Fatigue Lab at UAB
Department of Psychology
1300 University Blvd
Campbell Hall, Suite 233
Birmingham, AL 35294
Phone: (205) 975-5821
Fax: (205) 975-6110

Dr. Younger completed his PhD in Experimental Psychophysiology and Health Psychology from the University of Tennessee in 2003. His area of focus was identifying endogenous opioids and other peptides that drive emotional states. He then received postdoctoral training in immunology and chronic pain at Arizona State University, where he researched fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis. In 2006, he transitioned to Stanford University as a postdoctoral fellow to train in neuroimaging methods and clinical trials. In 2010, he accepted an Assistant Professor position at Stanford University’s School of Medicine, and stayed there until moving to the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2014.


  • 2006 - 2008
    Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Stanford University School of Medicine.
    Concentration: Psychoneuropharmacology of Chronic Pain.
  • 2003 - 2006
    Postdoctoral Research Assistant at Arizona State University.
    Concentration: Psychophysiology and Pharmacology of Chronic Pain.
  • 1998 - 2003
    Ph.D., Experimental Psychology at University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
    Concentration: Health Psychology.
  • 1994 -1998
    B.A., Psychology, Maryville College.

Research Interests

Neuroinflammation, pain, anesthesiology, rheumatology

The Neuroinflammation, Pain and Fatigue Laboratory uses neuroimaging, pharmaceutical, and immunological techniques to understand and treat chronic diseases. We study how low-level inflammation of the brain drives pain, fatigue, depression, and cognitive decline in millions of people. We have found that hormones upregulated with obesity, such as leptin, can drive not only inflammation in the body, but also in the brain. Obesity-related neuroinflammation may reduce quality of life by affecting motivation, mood, energy, and cognition – and may even interfere with attempts to lower body weight. We are therefore interested in techniques to lower brain inflammation so that individuals are in a better position to manage obesity and improve their lives.



  1. Parkitny L, Middleton S, Baker K, Younger J. Evidence for abnormal cytokine expression in Gulf War Illness: A preliminary analysis of daily immune monitoring data. BMC Immunol (in press).
  2. Younger J, Kapphan K, Brennan K, Sulliva S, Stefanick M. Association of leptin with body pain in women. J Women’s Health (in press).
  3. Chu L, Lin J, Clemenson A, Encisco E, Sun J, Hoang D, Alva H, Erlendson M, Clark J, Younger J. Acute opioid withdrawal is associated with increase neural activity in reward-processing centers in healthy men: A functional magnetic resonance imaging study. Drug Alcohol Depend (in press).
  4. Lin J, Chu L, Stringer EA, Baker K, Sayyid Z, Sun J, Campbell K, Younger J. One month of morphine decreases gray matter volume in the right amygdala of individuals with low back pain: Confirmation of previously reported magnetic resonance imaging results. Pain Med, in press
  5. Carroll I, Hah J, Barelka P, Wang C, Wang B, Gillepsie M, McCue R, Younger J, Trafton J, Humphreys K, Goodman S, Dirbas F, Mackey S. Pain duration and resolution following surgery: An inception cohort study. Pain Med (in press).
  6. Younger J. Being female is a risk factor for chronic pain. Are inflammatory processes to blame? (invited commentary, in press). Brain Behavior Immunity.
  7. Deshpande S, Nandola N, Rivera D, Younger J. Optimized treatment of fibromyalgia using system identification and hybrid model predictive control. Control Engineering Practice, 1: 161-173.
  8. Deshpande S, Rivera D, Younger J, Nandola N. A control systems engineering approach for adaptive behavioral interventions: illustrations with a fibromyalgia intervention. Translational Behavioral Medicine 4: 275-89.
  9. Younger J, Parkitny L, McLain D. The use of low dose naltrexone (LDN) as a novel anti-inflammatory treatment for chronic pain. (in press). Clinical Rheumatology.
  10. Hah J, Mackey S, Barelka P, Wang C, Wang B, Gillespie M, McCue R, Younger J, Trafton J, Humphreys K, Goodman S, Dirbas F, Schmidt P, Carroll I. (in press). Self-loathing aspects of depression reduce postoperative opioid cessation rate. Pain Medicine.
  11. Nilakantan A, Younger J, Arthur A, Mackey S (in press). Preoccupation in an early-romantic relationship predicts experimental pain relief. Pain Medicine.
  12. Stringer E, Baker K, Carroll I, Montoya J, Maecker H, Younger J (2013). Daily cytokine fluctuations, driven by leptin, are associated with fatigue severity in chronic fatigue syndrome: Evidence of inflammatory pathology. Journal of Translational Medicine, 11: 93.
  13. Barad M, Ueno T, Younger J, Chatterjee N, Mackey S. Complex regional pain syndrome is associated with structural abnormalities in pain-related regions of the human brain. Journal of Pain (in press).
  14. Martin L, Borckardt J, Reeves S, Frohman H, Beam W, Nahas Z, Johnson K, Younger J, et al. (2013). A pilot functional MRI study of the effects of prefrontal rTMS on pain perception. Pain Medicine.
  15. Younger J, Noor N, McCue R, Mackey S (2013). Low-dose naltrexone for the treatment of fibromyalgia: A small, randomized trial on daily pain. Arthritis & Rheumatism, 65, 529-38.
  16. Carroll I, Hah J, Mackey S, Ottestad E, Kong J, Lahidji S, Tawfik V, Younger J, Curtin C. (2013). Perioperative interventions to reduce chronic postsurgical pain. Journal of Reconstructive Microsurgery. Epub ahead of print.
  17. Younger J, Gandhi V, Hubbard E, Mackey S (2012). Development of the Stanford Expectations of Treatment Scale (SETS): A tool for measuring patient outcome expectancy in clinical trials. Clinical Trials, 9, 767-76.
  18. Ung H, Brown J, Johnson K, Younger J, Hush K, Mackey S (2012). Multivariate classification of structural MRI data detects chronic low back pain. Cerebral Cortex. Epub ahead of print.
  19. Carroll I, Barelka P, Wang C, Wang B, Gillespie M, McCue R, Younger J, et al (2012). A pilot cohort study of the determinants of longitudinal opioid use following surgery. Anesthesia and Analgesia, 115, 694-702.
  20. Brown J, Chatterjee N, Younger J, Mackey S (2011). Towards a physiology-based measure of pain: Patterns of human brain activity distinguish painful from non-painful thermal stimulation. PLoS ONE; 6:e24124.
  21. Shimo K, Ueno T, Younger J, Nishihara M, Inoue S, Ikemoto T, Taniguchi S, Ushida T (2011). Visualization of painful experiences believed to trigger the activation of affective and emotional brain regions in subjects with low back pain. PLoS ONE;6: e26681.
  22. Younger J, Chu L, D’Arby N, Trott K, Jastrzab L, Mackey S (2011). Prescription opioid analgesics rapidly change the human brain. Pain. 152:1803-10.
  23. Deshpande, S., N. Nandola, D.E. Rivera, and J. Younger (2011). A control engineering approach to designing an optimized treatment plan for fibromyalgia. Proceedings of the 2011 American Control Conference. 29, 4798-4803.
  24. Younger J, Aron A, Parke S, Mackey S (2010). Viewing pictures of a romantic partner reduces experimental pain: Involvement of neural reward systems. PLoS ONE;13:e13390.
  25. Younger J, Shen Y, Goddard G, Mackey S (2010). Chronic myofascial temporomandibular pain is associated with gray matter abnormalities in the cerebral cortex, limbic system, and brainstem. Pain. 149, 222-228.
  26. Younger J, Mackey S (2009). Fibromyalgia symptoms are reduced by low-dose naltrexone: a pilot study. Pain Medicine. 10, 663-672.
    (Faculty of 1000 Medicine factor 3.0 (recommended): Kenneth Candido: Faculty of 1000 Medicine, 22 Oct 2009
  27. Carroll I, Younger J, Mackey S (2010). Pain quality predicts lidocaine analgesia among patients with suspected neuropathic pain. Pain Medicine. 11, 617-621.
  28. Shen, Y., Younger J, Goddard, G., Mackey, S (2009). Randomized clinical trial of acupuncture for myofascial pain of the jaw muscles. Journal of Orofacial Pain. 23, 353-359.
  29. Younger J, Zautra A, Cummins E (2009). Effects of naltrexone on pain, mood, and somatic complaints in Fibromyalgia: No evidence for mu-opioid pathophysiology. PLoS ONE, 4, e5180.
  30. Younger J, Barelka P, Carroll I, Kaplan K, Chu L, Prasad R, Gaeta R, Mackey S. (2008). Reduced cold pain tolerance in chronic pain patients following opioid detoxification. Pain Medicine, 9, 1158-1163.
  31. Younger J, Finan P, Zautra A, Reich J, Davis M (2008). Personal mastery predicts pain, stress, fatigue, and blood pressure in adults with rheumatoid arthritis. Psychology and Health, 23, 515-535.
  32. Davis M, Zautra A, Younger J, Motivala S, Attrep J, Irwin M. (2008). Chronic stress and regulation of cellular markers of inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis: Implications for fatigue. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 22, 24-32.
  33. Younger J, Rossetti G, Borckardt J, Smith A, Tasso A, Nash M (2007). Hypnotizability and somatic complaints: A gender-specific phenomenon. International Journal for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 55, 1, 1-13.
  34. Younger J, Lawler-Row K, Moe K, Kratz A, Keenum A (2006). Effects of naltrexone on repressive coping and disclosure of emotional material: A test of the opioid-peptide theory of repression and hypertension. Psychosomatic Medicine, 68, 5. 734-741.
  35. Lawler-Row K, Younger J, Piferi R, Jones W (2006). The role of adult attachment style in forgiveness following an interpersonal offense. Journal of Counseling and Development, 84, 493-502.
  36. Lawler K, Younger J, Piferi R, Jobe R, Edmondson K, Jones W (2005). The unique effects of forgiveness on health: An exploration of pathways. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 28, 157-167.
  37. Winkel J, Younger J, Tomcik N, Borckardt J, Nash R (2005). Anatomy of a hypnotic response: Self-report estimates, actual behavior, and physiological response to the hypnotic suggestion for arm rigidity. International Journal for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 54, 186-205.
  38. Younger J, Winkel J, Kemmerer D. Nash M (2005). The Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility: Accuracy of self-report and the memory for items. International Journal for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 53, 306-320.
  39. Edmondson K, Lawler K, Jobe R, Younger J, Piferi R, Jones W (2005). Spirituality predicts health and cardiovascular responses to stress in young adult women. Journal of Religion and Health, 44, 161-171.
  40. Younger J, Piferi R, Jobe R, Lawler K (2004). Dimensions of forgiveness: The views of laypersons. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 21, 837-855.
  41. Borckardt J, Younger J, Winkel J, Nash M, Shaw D (2004). The use of the computer-assisted cognitive imagery system in the management of pain. Pain Research and Management, 9, 157-162.
  42. Kreusi M, Borckardt J, Younger J, Shaw D, Nash M (2004). Perceived links between physical problems and stress may be clouded by dissociative processes. Journal of Trauma and Dissociation, 5, 4, 121-127.
  43. Lawler K, Younger J, Piferi R, Billington E, Jobe R, Edmondson K, Jones W (2003). A change of heart: Cardiovascular correlates of forgiveness in response to interpersonal conflict. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 26, 5, 373-393.
  44. Lawler K, Younger J (2002). Theobiology: An analysis of spirituality, cardiovascular responses, stress, mood, and physical health. Journal of Religion and Health, 41, 347-62.
  45. Piferi R, Kline K, Younger J, Lawler K (2000). An alternative approach for achieving cardiovascular baseline: Viewing an aquatic video. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 37, 207-217.