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2009 SapsBy: Miguel Saps, MD

University of Miami Hospital, Miami, FL

Dr. Saps is the recipient of the 2009 IFFGD Research Award for Junior Investigator, Pediatrics. Dr. Saps is an innovative researcher who has done much to increase understanding of the prevalence and impact of functional GI disorders among children, as well as how to help children with functional abdominal pain. He is instrumental in establishing clinical care models for children with complex pain predominant conditions.

At A Glance

  • Functional abdominal pain may occur alone or along with other gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms.
  • It is common in children and adolescents.
  • Emotional distress may result from and/or influence the pain.
  • There are a number of treatments and management approaches.
  • The outlook for kids with functional abdominal pain is generally good.

What is functional abdominal pain?

Functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorders are a group of conditions. They are characterized by a combination of GI symptoms. These arise from the interaction of multiple biological, psychological, and social factors. A common characteristic of all these disorders is the absence of an identifiable anomaly in the usually sought medical workup.

Among, these various disorders there are some in which pain is the predominant symptom. They are frequent in children and are commonly grouped under the generic term functional abdominal pain. Functional abdominal pain may be associated with other GI symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, or constipation. Sometimes the pain occurs alone.

Pain may be frequent or constant and very bothersome, greatly impairing the quality of life. Pain may also be intense and occur at any time of the day or even at night. A number of factors may trigger the pain. For example, it may be brought on by emotional stressors or following a gastrointestinal infection. But, other times there are no clear triggers to the onset of abdominal pain. A relation between food and onset of pain is frequently observed. However, in scientific studies there is no clinical evidence that specific foods are related to the onset of functional abdominal pain symptoms.

How common is functional abdominal pain?

Children may miss school, sport or social activities and parents frequently miss work to care for a child with chronic abdominal pain. Almost 1 in 4 children misses an average of 2 days during the school year due to abdominal pain. One in 10 parents miss work to care for their children with abdominal pain. Abdominal pain is not only a common and chronic condition but also an important factor that can potentially disrupt family life.

Research Awards
2020 Award Recipients
Kyle Staller, MD
Christopher V. Almario, MD
Maria Raffaella Barbaro, PhD
2019 Award Recipients
Arpana Gupta, PhD
David Levinthal, MD, PhD
Ilan Koppen, MD, PhD
2018 Award Recipients
Amaranath Karunanayake, PhD
Katja Kovacic, MD
Cristina Martinez, PhD
Ans Pauwels, PhD
2013 Award Recipients
Enrico Corazziari, MD
Jan Tack, MD, PhD
Report from Gary Mawe, PhD: The Roles of Intestinal Nerves and Serotonin in Gut Function and Dysfunction
Ashley Blackshaw, PhD
Carlo Di Lorenzo, MD
Niranga Manjuri Devanarayana, MD
Report from Lukas Van Oudenhove, PhD: Solving the Biopsychosocial Puzzle in Functional Dyspepsia
Muriel Larauche, PhD
2011 Award Recipients
Report from Ronnie Fass, MD: Sleep and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Million Mulugeta, PhD
Adrian Miranda, MD
Samuel Nurko, MD
Sudarshan Jadcherla, MD
Shaman Rajindrajith, MD
2009 Award Recipients
Satish Rao, MD
Emeran Mayer, MD
Javier Santos, MD
Report from Martin Storr, MD, PhD: Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: New Insights in Enteric Regulation
Report From Miguel Saps, MD: Functional Abdominal Pain in Children and Adolescents
2007 Award Recipients
Report from Bruce D. Naliboff, PhD: Symptom Based Psychology for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders
Report from Magnus Simrén, MD, PhD: Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Searching for Underlying Causes
Report from Brennan M. R. Spiegel, MD, MSHS: Diagnostic Testing in Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Theory vs. Reality
Report from Sylvie Bradesi, PhD: Role of the Central Immune System in Functional Disorders
Paul E. Hyman, MD
Report from Miranda A. L. van Tilburg, PhD: Home Based Guided Imagery to Treat Pediatric Functional Abdominal Pain
Report from Fernando Azpiroz, MD, PhD: Understanding Intestinal Gas
2005 Award Recipients
Report from Yvette Tache, PhD: Stress and Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Unraveling the Code
Report from Shaheen Hamdy, MRCP, PhD: Adult Neurogenic Dysphagia -- Disorders and Conditions that Disrupt Swallowing
Report from Michael A. Pezzone, MD, PhD: Chronic Pelvic Pain and the Overlap of Pelvic Pain Disorders
Report from Bridget R. Southwell, PhD: Research into Treatment-Resistant Constipation in Children
Report from Rachel Rosen, MD, MPH: Symptoms Arising from Non-Acid Reflux in Children
2003 Award Recipients
Report from William E. Whitehead, PhD: Summary of Clinical Research Activities
Jyoti N. Sengupta, PhD
Report from Caroline Elder Danda, PhD: Biopsychosocial Perspectives on Assessment and Treatment
Report from Terry Buchmiller-Crair, MD: Using the Fetal Gastrointestinal Tract to Overcome Neonatal Disease
Report from Dan L. Dumitrascu, MD, PhD: The Psychosocial Adjustment to Illness in Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Report from Klaus Bielefeldt, MD, PhD: Understanding Pain and Discomfort in Functional GI Disorders
Research Grants
IFFGD Competitive Grants
2014 IFFGD Idiopathic Gastroparesis Research Grants
Leo Cheng, PhD
Braden Kuo, MD, MSc
Richard McCallum, MD
2008 IFFGD Competitive Research Grants
IFFGD Noncompetitive Grants
Other Research Grant Opportunities
Funding Research
Need for Funding Research
How to Make a Difference
The State of Research at NIH & NIDDK
Clinical Trials & Studies
Guide to Randomized Clinical Trials
Clinical Trials and Studies

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