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Yoshio Nakamura, PhD

Languages spoken: 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
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

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

  1. Parisi A, Zgierska AE, Burzinski CA, Lennon RP, Jamison RN, Nakamura Y, Barrett B, Edwards RR, Garland EL (in press). To Be Aware or To Accept, That Is The Question: Differential Roles of Awareness of Automaticity and Pain Acceptance in Opioid Misuse. (Epub ahead of print) Drug Alcohol Depend.
  2. Jamison RN, Edward RR, Brown R, Burzinski CA, Lennon RP, Barrett BP, Nakamura Y, Schiefelbein T, Garland EL, Zgierska AE (under review). Risk Factors for Self Harm Among Persons on Prescription Opioids for Chronic Back Pain: Hierarchical Odds-Ratio Analyses. (Epub ahead of print) Clin J Pain.
  3. Djebbara Z, King J, Ebadi A, Nakamura Y, Bermudez J (under review). Contempative Neuroaesthetics and Architecture: A Sensorimotor-Embodied Account. (Epub ahead of print) Sci Rep.
  4. Bermudes J, Nakamura Y, Chang LC, Trudeau E, Djebbara Z, Ebadi A, Keagle J, Morre M, Kobeissi M (under review). Applying Neurophenomenology to Investigate Responses to Sacred vs. Secular Architecture: An Exploratory Study [Abstract]. (Epub ahead of print)
  5. Nakamura Y (in press). How Does Suffering Emerge from Pain? - A Relational Framework for Making Sense of Pain-Related Suffering: A Network Perspective. In Bustan, Smadar (Eds.), Pain and Suffering: Interdisciplinary Explorations. New York: Springer Publishing.
  6. Garland EL, Hanley AW, Hudak J, Nakamura Y, Froeliger B (2022). Mindfulness-induced endogenous theta stimulation occasions self-transcendence and inhibits addictive behavior. Sci Adv, 8(41), eabo4455.
  7. Ho SS, Nakamura Y, Gopang M, Swain JE (2022). Intersubjectivity as an antidote to stress: Using dyadic active inference model of intersubjectivity to predict the efficacy of parenting interventions in reducing stress-through the lens of dependent origination in Buddhist Madhyamaka philosophy. Front Psychol, 13, 806755.
  8. Garland EL, Hanley AW, Nakamura Y, Barrett JW, Baker AK, Reese SE, Riquino MR, Froeliger B, Donaldson GW (2022). Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement vs Supportive Group Therapy for Co-occurring Opioid Misuse and Chronic Pain in Primary Care: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Intern Med, 182(4), 407-417.
  9. Bedford CE, Nakamura Y, Marchand WR, Garland EL (2022). Heightened autonomic reactivity to negative affective stimuli among active duty soldiers with PTSD and opioid-treated chronic pain. Psychiatry Res, 309, 114394.
  10. Zgierska AE, Burzinski CA, Garland EL, Lennon RP, Jamison R, Nakamura Y, Barrett B, Sehgal N, Mirgain SA, Singles JM, Cowan P, Woods D, Edwards RR (2021). Mindfulness-based therapy compared to cognitive behavioral therapy for opioid-treated chronic low back pain: Protocol for a pragmatic randomized controlled trial. Contemp Clin Trials, 110, 106548.
  11. Garland EL, Fix ST, Hudak JP, Bernat EM, Nakamura Y, Hanley AW, Donaldson GW, Marchand WR, Froeliger B (2021). Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhacement remediates anhedonia in chronic opoid use by enhancing neurophysiological responses during savoring of natural rewards. Psychol Med, 1-10.
  12. Hudak J, Hanley AW, Marchand WR, Nakamura Y, Yabko B, Garland EL (2020). Correction: Endogenous theta stimulation during meditation predicts reduced opioid dosing following treatment with Mindfulness Oriented Recovery Enhancement. Neuropsychopharmacology (46(8), p. 1544). England.
  13. Hudak J, Hanley AW, Marchand WR, Nakamura Y, Yabko B, Garland EL (2020). Endogenous theta stimulation during meditation predicts reduced opioid dosing following treatment with Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement. Neuropsychopharmacology, 46(4), 836-843.
  14. Ho SS, Nakamura Y, Swain JE (2021). Compassion As an Intervention to Attune to Universal Suffering of Self and Others in Conflicts: A Translational Framework. Front Psychol, 11, 603385.
  15. Hudak J, Prince KC, Marchand WR, Nakamura Y, Hanley AW, Bryan CJ, Froeliger B, Garland EL (2020). The temporal dynamics of emotion dysregulation in prescription opioid misuse. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry, 104, 110024.
  16. Ho SS, Muzik M, Rosenblum KL, Morelen D, Nakamura Y, Swain JE (2020). Potential Neural Mediators of Mom Power Parenting Intervention Effects on Maternal Intersubjectivity and Stress Resilience. Front Psychiatry, 11, 568824.
  17. Hanley AW, Bernstein A, Nakamura Y, Hadash Y, Rojas J, Tennant KE, Jensen RL, Garland EL (2020). The Metacognitive Processes of Decentering Scale: Development and initial validation of trait and state versions. Psychol Assess, 32(10), 956-971.
  18. Garland EL, Hudak J, Hanley AW, Nakamura Y (2021). Mindfulness-oriented recovery enhancement reduces opioid dose in primary care by strengthening autonomic regulation during meditation. Am Psychol, 75(6), 840-852.
  19. 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 (2019). 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.
  20. Hanley AW, Nakamura Y, Garland EL (2018). The Nondual Awareness Dimensional Assessment (NADA): New tools to assess nondual traits and states of consciousness occurring within and beyond the context of meditation. Psychol Assess, 30(12), 1625-1639.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. Bermudez J, Krizaj D, Lipschitz DL, Bueler CE, Rogowska J, Yurgelun-Todd D, Nakamura Y (2017). Externally-induced meditative states: an exploratory fMRI study of architects’ responses to contemplative architecture. 6(2), 123-136.
  25. Garland EL, Bryan CJ, Nakamura Y, Froeliger B, Howard MO (2017). Deficits in autonomic indices of emotion regulation and reward processing associated with prescription opioid use and misuse. Psychopharmacology (Berl), 234(4), 621-629.
  26. Ho SS, Nakamura Y (2017). Healing Dysfunctional Identity: Bridging Mind-Body Intervention to Brain Systems. J Behav Brain Sci, 7(3), 137-164.
  27. Nakamura Y, Lipschitz DL, Donaldson GW, Kida Y, Williams SL, Landward R, Glover DW, West G, Tuteja AK (2017). Investigating Clinical Benefits of a Novel Sleep-Focused Mind-Body Program on Gulf War Illness Symptoms: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Psychosom Med, 79(6), 706-718.
  28. Cheek J, Abrams EM, Lipschitz DL, Vago DR, Nakamura Y (2017). Creating Novel School-Based Education Programs to Cultivate Mindfulness in Youth: What The Letters Told Us. J Child Fam Stud, 26(9), 2564–2578.
  29. 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.
  30. Nakamura Y (2015). A body-mind-spirit intervention helps treat depression in India. Evid Based Nurs, 19(1), 10.
  31. Nakamura Y, Ho SS (2015). A Causal Versus Enabling Impact of Mindfulness on the Genesis of Meaning. Psychol Inq, 26(4), 358-364.
  32. 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. Integr Cancer Ther, 14(4), 366-80.
  33. Garland EL, Beck AC, Lipschitz DL, Nakamura Y (2015). Dispositional mindfulness predicts attenuated waking salivary cortisol levels in cancer survivors: a latent growth curve analysis. J Cancer Surviv, 9(2), 215-22.
  34. Cheek J, Lipschitz DL, Abrams EM, Vago DR, Nakamura Y (2015). Dynamic reflexivity in action: an armchair walkthrough of a qualitatively driven mixed-method and multiple methods study of mindfulness training in schoolchildren. Qual Health Res, 25(6), 751-62.
  35. Campo RA, Light KC, OConnor K, Nakamura Y, Lipschitz D, LaStayo PC, Pappas LM, Boucher KM, Irwin MR, Hill HR, Martins TB, Agarwal N, Kinney AY (2015). Blood pressure, salivary cortisol, and inflammatory cytokine outcomes in senior female cancer survivors enrolled in a tai chi chih randomized controlled trial. J Cancer Surviv, 9(1), 115-25.
  36. Nakamura Y, Lipschitz DL, Kanarowski E, McCormick T, Sutherland DA, and Melow-Murchie M (2015). Investigating impacts of incorporating an adjuvant mind-body intervention method into treatment as usual at a community-based substance abuse treatment facility: A pilot randomized controlled study. Sage Open, (JM-2015), 1-18.
  37. Chapman CR, Bradshaw DH, Donaldson GW, Jacobson RC, Nakamura Y (2014). Central noradrenergic mechanisms and the acute stress response during painful stimulation. J Psychopharmacol, 28(12), 1135-42.
  38. Lipschitz DL, Landward R, Nakamura Y (2014). An exploratory study of an online mind–body program for poor sleepers in a community sample. Eur J Integr Med, 6(1), 48-55.
  39. Nakamura Y, Donaldson GW, Okufuji A (2014). Personality, Anxiety, and Individual Variation in Psychophysiological Habituation and Sensitization to Painful Stimuli. J Pain Relief, 3(4), 156.
  40. Campo RA, OConnor K, Light KC, Nakamura Y, Lipschitz DL, LaStayo PC, Pappas L, Boucher K, Irwin MR, Agarwal N, Kinney AY (2013). Feasibility and acceptability of a Tai Chi Chih randomized controlled trial in senior female cancer survivors. Integr Cancer Ther, 12(6), 464-74.
  41. Lipschitz DL, Kuhn R, Kinney AY, Donaldson GW, Nakamura Y (2013). Reduction in salivary alpha-amylase levels following a mind-body intervention in cancer survivors--an exploratory study. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 38(9), 1521-31.
  42. Nakamura Y, Lipschitz DL, Kuhn R, Kinney AY, Donaldson GW (2013). Investigating efficacy of two brief mind-body intervention programs for managing sleep disturbance in cancer survivors: a pilot randomized controlled trial. J Cancer Surviv, 7(2), 165-82.
  43. Abrams L, Lipschitz DL, Cheek J, Nakamura Y (2013). What the letters told us: school children’s understandings and experiences of mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) training. Ninth International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, May 15-18, 2013.
  44. Chapman CR, Nakamura Y (2013). Consciousness and Pain. In Schmidt, Robert F. and Gebhart, Gerald F. (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Pain (2nd). Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.
  45. Nakamura Y, Donaldson GW, Kuhn R, Bradshaw DH, Jacobson RC, Chapman RC (2012). Investigating dose-dependent effects of placebo analgesia: a psychophysiological approach. Pain, 153(1), 227-237.
  46. Vago DR, Nakamura Y (2011). Selective Attentional Bias Towards Pain-related Threat in Fibromyalgia: Preliminary Evidence for Effects of Mindfulness Meditation Training. Cognit Ther Res, 35(6), 581–594.
  47. Bradshaw DH, Donaldson GW, Jacobson RC, Nakamura Y, Chapman CR (2011). Individual differences in the effects of music engagement on responses to painful stimulation. J Pain, 12(12), 1262-73.
  48. Nakamura Y, Lipschitz DL, Landward R, Kuhn R, West G (2011). Two sessions of sleep-focused mind-body bridging improve self-reported symptoms of sleep and PTSD in veterans: A pilot randomized controlled trial. J Psychosom Res, 70(4), 335-45.
  49. Donaldson GW, Nakamura Y, Moinpour C (2009). Mediators, moderators, and modulators of causal effects in clinical trials--Dynamically Modified Outcomes (DYNAMO) in health-related quality of life. Qual Life Res, 18(2), 137-45.
  50. Moinpour CM, Donaldson GW, Nakamura Y (2009). Chemotherapeutic impact on pain and global health-related quality of life in hormone-refractory prostate cancer: Dynamically Modified Outcomes (DYNAMO) analysis of a randomized controlled trial. Qual Life Res, 18(2), 147-55.
  51. Tollefson DR, Webb K, Shumway D, Block SH, Nakamura Y (2009). A mind-body approach to domestic violence perpetrator treatment: Program overview and preliminary outcomes. J Aggress Maltreat Trauma, 18, 17-45.
  52. Bradshaw DH, Empy C, Davis P, Lipschitz D, Dalton P, Nakamura Y, Chapman CR (2008). Trends in funding for research on pain: a report on the National Institutes Of Health grant awards over the years 2003 to 2007. J Pain, 9(12), 1077-87, 1087.e1-8.
  53. Chapman CR, Nakamura Y (2007). Consciousness and Pain. In Robert F. Schmidt and William D. Willis (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Pain (p. 3). Berlin: Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
  54. Nakamura Y (2006). Placebo effects and meaning response: Perspectives from consciousness studies. In Jianren Mao (Ed.), Translational Pain Research Volume 1 (1, pp. 315-334). Nova Science Publishers, Inc.
  55. 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.
  56. 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 (Phila Pa 1976), 30(6), 697-704.
  57. Bradshaw DH, Nakamura Y, Chapman CR (2005). National institutes of health grant awards for pain, nausea, and dyspnea research: An assessment of funding patterns in 2003. J Pain, 6(5), 277-293.
  58. Donaldson GW, Chapman CR, Nakamura Y, Bradshaw DH, Jacobson RC, Chapman CN (2003). Pain and the defense response: structural equation modeling reveals a coordinated psychophysiological response to increasing painful stimulation. Pain, 102(1-2), 97-108.
  59. Chapman CR, Nakamura Y (2003). Feeling pain: a constructivist perspective. In Kalso E; Estlander A; Klockers M (Ed.), Psyche, Soma and Pain (pp. 115-123). Helsinki: The Signe and Ane Gyllenberg Foundation.
  60. Nakamura Y, Chapman CR (2002). Measuring pain: an introspective look at introspection. Conscious Cogn, 11(4), 582-92.
  61. Chapman CR, Nakamura Y (2002). What role does intersubjectivity play in the facial expression of pain? Behav Brain Sci, 25(04), 455-456.
  62. 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.
  63. Chapman CR, Donaldson GW, Nakamura Y, Jacobson RC, Bradshaw DH, Gavin JA (2002). A psychophysiological causal model of pain report validity. J Pain, 3(2), 143-155.
  64. Nakamura Y, Chapman CR (2002). Constructing pain: How pain hurts. In Yasue K; Jibu M; Della Senta T (Ed.), No Matter, Never Mind (pp. 193-205). Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
  65. 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.
  66. Chapman CR, Nakamura Y (2001). The affective dimension of pain: mechanisms and implications. In Kaszniak A (Ed.), Emotions, Qualia and Consciousness (pp. 181-210). New Jersey: World Scientific.
  67. Chapman CR, Nakamura Y, Chapman CN (2000). Pain and folk theory. 1(2), 209-222.
  68. Chapman CR, Nakamura Y, Flores LY (2000). How we hurt: a constructivist framework for understanding individual differences in pain. In Kuzendorf RG; Wallace B (Ed.), Individual Differences in Conscious Experience (pp. 17-44). Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Co.
  69. Chapman CR, Nakamura Y, Flores LY (1999). Chronic pain and consciousness: A constructivist perspective. In Gatchel RJ; Turk DC (Ed.), Psychosocial Factors in Pain: Evolutions and Revolutions (pp. 35-55). New York: The Guilford Press.
  70. Chapman CR, Nakamura Y (1999). Pain and consciousness: a constructivist approach. Pain Forum, 8(3), 113-123.
  71. Chapman CR, Nakamura Y (1999). Apassion of the soul: an introduction to pain for consciousness researchers. Conscious Cogn, 8, 391-422.
  72. Chapman CR, Nakamura Y (1998). Hypnotic analgesia: A constructivist framework. Int J Clin Exp Hypn, Part II, 6-27.
  73. Uki J, Mendoza T, Cleeland CS, Nakamura Y, Takeda F (1998). A brief cancer pain assessment tool in Japanese: The utility of the Japanese Brief Pain Inventory—BPI-J. J Pain Symptom Manage, 16(6), 364-73.
  74. Cleeland CS, Nakamura Y, Mendoza TR, Edwards KR, Douglas J, Serlin RC (1996). Dimensions of the impact of cancer pain in a four country sample: new information from multidimensional scaling. Pain, 67(2-3), 267-73.
  75. Cleeland CS, Nakamura Y, Howland EW, Morgan NR, Edwards KR, Backonja M (1996). Effects of oral morphine on cold pressor tolerance time and neuropsychological performance. Neuropsychopharmacology, 15(3), 252-62.
  76. Serlin RC, Mendoza TR, Nakamura Y, Edwards KR, Cleeland CS (1995). When is cancer pain mild, moderate or severe? Grading pain severity by its interference with function. Pain, 61(2), 277-84.
  77. Nakamura Y (1995). Pain, consciousness, and memory under anesthesia. Ameican Pain Society Bulletin, 5(3), 9-13 & 24.
  78. Howland EW, Nakamura Y, Cleeland CS, Suthers LS, Nichols SN, Zelman DC (1995). Effects of hypnosis on subjective pain ratings and evoked potential amplitudes. Analgesia (Elmsford N Y), 1(3), 171-184.
  79. Mandler G, Nakamura Y, Shebo-Van Zandt BJ (1987). Nonspecific effects of exposure on stimuli that cannot be recognized. J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn, 13, 646-648.
  80. Mandler G, Nakamura Y (1987). Aspects of consciousness. Pers Soc Psychol Bull, 13, 299-313.