Yoshio Nakamura, PhD


  • English
  • Japanese

Academic Information

  • Departments: Anesthesiology - Research Associate Professor

Academic Office Information

  • 801-585-0419
  • Pain Research Center
    Department of Anesthesiology
    615 Arapeen Drive, Ste. 200, Room: 200
    Salt Lake City, UT 84108

Academic Bio

Yoshio Nakamura, PhD, Associate Professor in the Dept. of Anesthesiology Pain Research Center

I am an Associate professor of Anesthesiology at the University of Utah. As a research psychologist, my research has centered on the intersection of consciousness, emotion and pain, an area critical for understanding mind-body interactions. I studied placebo analgesia (PA) to investigate dynamically unfolding processes in the generation of PA response (R01-NS046230). From 2004 to 2010, I served as Director of the Utah Center for Exploring Mind-Body Interactions (UCEMBI), collaborating with 15 other investigators in various departments at our university. An exploratory NIH grant (R21-AT002209) supported UCEMBI, allowing us to explore: 1) methods that enhance (somatic) awareness for the purpose of human change, and 2) chronic multi-symptom illness in which awareness of somatic symptoms is a salient feature. More recently, I have been working to develop and refine an overarching methodological framework useful for investigating underlying theoretical mechanisms by which mindful awareness training works to alleviate symptoms and suffering in patients with wide-ranging medical conditions. I have conducted studies of mindfulness meditation as well as several pilot projects investigating the efficacy of Mind-Body Bridging (MBB). MBB, a mind training program that appears to foster mindfulness, promises to be a novel effective intervention for many different medical and mental health conditions. The pilot work with MBB led to my two DoD-funded research projects investigating the usefulness of a MBB-based intervention program (that is designed to cultivate the quality of awareness) in producing therapeutic benefits for: 1) Gulf War Veterans suffering from chronic illness (e.g., insomnia complains and other co-morbid symptoms) and 2) Veterans with mind traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and sleep disturbance together with other co-morbid symptoms (such as PTSD and chronic pain). I have been involved in directing research studies testing mind-body intervention protocols for treating people with chronic illness, such as chronic pain, fibromyalgia, chronic insomnia, Gulf War Illness, and mTBI. I have been a part of an interdisciplinary and translational research team with diverse expertise in research and clinical areas at the Pain Research Center. My long-term goals are to: 1) facilitate use of awareness training for clinical benefits for patients suffering from multiple chronic conditions and 2) contribute to scientific understanding of consciousness in health and illness.

Key words: mind-body, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, chronic insomnia, Gulf War illness, veterans, quality of life

Education History

Type School Degree
Postdoctoral Fellowship University of Wisconsin
Emotion Research, NIMH supported Training Program
Postdoctoral Fellow
Postdoctoral Fellowship Stanford University
Postdoctoral Fellow
Postdoctoral Fellowship University of California
Emotion Research, NIMH supported Training Program
Postdoctoral Fellow
Doctoral Training University of California
Cognitive Psychology
Undergraduate University of California

Selected Publications

Journal Article

  1. Garland EL, Hanley AW, Riquino MR, Reese SE, Baker AK, Salas K, Yack BP, Bedford CE, Bryan MA, Atchley R, Nakamura Y, Froeliger B, Howard MO (2020). Mindfulness-oriented recovery enhancement reduces opioid misuse risk via analgesic and positive psychological mechanisms: A randomized controlled trial. J Consult Clin Psychol, 87(10), 927-940.
  2. Garland EL, Bryan CJ, Kreighbaum L, Nakamura Y, Howard MO, Froeliger B (2018). Prescription opioid misusing chronic pain patients exhibit dysregulated context-dependent associations: Investigating associative learning in addiction with the cue-primed reactivity task. Drug Alcohol Depend, 187, 13-21.
  3. Garland EL, Hanley AW, Bedford CE, Zubieta JK, Howard MO, Nakamura Y, Donaldson GW, Froeliger B (2018). Reappraisal deficits promote craving and emotional distress among chronic pain patients at risk for prescription opioid misuse. J Addict Dis, 37(1-2), 14-22.
  4. Garland EL, Baker AK, Larsen P, Riquino MR, Priddy SE, Thomas E, Hanley AW, Galbraith P, Wanner N, Nakamura Y (2017). Randomized Controlled Trial of Brief Mindfulness Training and Hypnotic Suggestion for Acute Pain Relief in the Hospital Setting. J Gen Intern Med, 32(10), 1106-1113.
  5. Garland EL, Bryan CJ, Nakamura Y, Froeliger B, Howard MO (2016). Deficits in autonomic indices of emotion regulation and reward processing associated with prescription opioid use and misuse. Psychopharmacology (Berl), 234(4), 621-629.
  6. Nakamura Y (2015). A body-mind-spirit intervention helps treat depression in India. Evid Based Nurs, 19(1), 10.
  7. Lipschitz DL, Kuhn R, Kinney AY, Grewen K, Donaldson GW, Nakamura Y (2015). An Exploratory Study of the Effects of Mind-Body Interventions Targeting Sleep on Salivary Oxytocin Levels in Cancer Survivors. Integrative Cancer Therapies, 14(4), 366-80.
  8. Bradshaw DH, Nakamura Y, Chapman CR (2004). National Institutes of Health grant awards for pain, nausea, and dyspnea research: an assessment of funding patterns in 2003. J Pain, 6(5), 277-93.
  9. Volinn E, Nishikitani M, Volinn W, Nakamura Y, Yano E (2005). Back pain claim rates in Japan and the United States: framing the puzzle. Spine, 30(6), 697-704.
  10. Chapman CR, Donaldson GW, Nakamura Y, Jacobson RC, Bradshaw DH, Gavrin J (2003). A psychophysiological causal model of pain report validity. J Pain, 3(2), 143-55.
  11. Chapman CR, Nakamura Y, Donaldson GW, Jacobson RC, Bradshaw DH, Flores L, Chapman CN (2003). Sensory and affective dimensions of phasic pain are indistinguishable in the self-report and psychophysiology of normal laboratory subjects. J Pain, 2(5), 279-94.