Tag Archives: brain

Shape shifting pain: chronification of back pain

Shape shifting pain: chronification of back pain shifts brain representation from nociceptive to emotional circuits | Brain

Chronic pain conditions are associated with abnormalities in brain structure and function.

Moreover, some studies indicate that brain activity related to the subjective perception of chronic pain may be distinct from activity for acute pain.

We report results in relation to meta-analytic probabilistic maps related to the terms pain, emotion, and reward  Continue reading

A Natural Fix for A.D.H.D.

A Natural Fix for A.D.H.D. – The New York Times

ATTENTION deficit hyperactivity disorder is now the most prevalent psychiatric illness of young people in America, affecting 11 percent of them at some point between the ages of 4 and 17

Recent neuroscience research shows that people with A.D.H.D. are actually hard-wired for novelty-seeking — a trait that had, until relatively recently, a distinct evolutionary advantage.

Compared with the rest of us, they have sluggish and underfed brain reward circuits, so much of everyday life feels routine and understimulating.

To compensate, they are drawn to new and exciting experiences and get famously impatient and restless with the regimented structure that characterizes our modern world. In short, people with A.D.H.D. may not have a disease, so much as a set of behavioral traits that don’t match the expectations of our contemporary culture.  Continue reading

Infant Pain Permanently Alters Brain

Infant and Adult Pain Response | Dr. Anne Murphy, Georgia State University | WAMC

Anne Murphy, associate professor of neuroscience at George State University, is observing the relationship between pain felt as an infant and the related long-term effects.

Unalleviated pain during the perinatal period is associated with permanent decreases in pain sensitivity, blunted cortisol responses and higher rates of neuropsychiatric disorders.

To date, the mechanism(s) by which these long-term changes in stress and pain behavior occur, and whether such alterations can be prevented by appropriate analgesia at the time of injury, remains unclear.   Continue reading

Study shows dopamine may play role in chronic pain

Study shows dopamine may play role in chronic pain – Medical News Today | 11 May 2015

Researchers from the University of Texas (UT) at Dallas and others traced the path of pain signals between the brain and spinal cord in mice and found removing a group of dopamine-containing cells selectively reduced chronic pain.

Ted Price, associate professor in behavioral and brain sciences at UT Dallas, says the study reveals a new role for dopamine in helping maintain chronic pain states, and suggests:

“This may open up new opportunities to target medicines that could reverse chronic pain.”

In people with chronic pain, their nerve cells continue to send pain signals to the brain – even in the absence of injury – but the causes of this are not known.   Continue reading

Chronic pain isn’t all in the brain

Chronic pain isn’t all in the brain, which is good news for sufferers

So here we are, in the 21st century and every fifth person is suffering from this health problem, which we don’t understand. A health problem, which can be so debilitating that those experiencing it often stop working, stop socialising and stop doing things they like doing, or should be doing.

Science has almost adopted the idea that pain ought to be all in the brain. There is sophisticated research showing that some brain areas light up more when we are in pain. When we recover, these areas stop lighting up.

So scientists have developed the following concept: after injury or operation our tissues will heal, and normally all goes well – unless we are “vulnerable”.  The idea is that the vulnerable brain retains memory of the trauma with its associated pain: it develops “abnormal neuroplasticity”.

Continue reading

Sensory Distress: The Other Side of Fibromyalgia

Sensory Distress: The Other Side of Fibromyalgia – Health Rising

Researchers have used heat, electricity, chemicals, and pressure to evoke pain in FM patients and controls, and in every study people with FM have felt pain at lower levels of stimulation than healthy controls.

People with Fibromyalgia report they have problems with sensitivity to stimuli in general. This suggests FM is not just a pain condition, but that the FM patient’s entire sensory apparatus is a bit out of kilter

One study finding reduced electrical responses in the sensory cortices of the brain to sounds in FM suggested that this part of the brain was, oddly enough, under-responding to stimuli, not over-responding.

This is a different pattern than has normally been seen with pain

Continue reading

Central Pain Syndrome Foundation: Information for Medical Providers

Information for Medical Providers « Central Pain Syndrome Foundation

Central pain syndrome (CPS) is a neurological disorder consisting of agonizing pain signals of many differing types at once: burning, freezing, shocking, aching, crushing, tearing, and spasticity. It has been characterized as the worst pain known to man.

It is caused by damage to or injury of the Central Nervous System (CNS), which includes the brain, brainstem and spinal cord.

It is aggressive, never ending and disabling, making normal life immensely painful and incredibly difficult. The medications and treatments used to fight it are very limited and highly ineffective. There is presently no cure.

Continue reading

Fibromyalgia linked to decreased brain connectivity

Fibromyalgia linked to decreased brain connectivity – Medical News Today

new study from Sweden finds fibromyalgia is linked to abnormal activity in parts of the brain that process pain signals and link them to other regions… they found decreased connectivity between brain areas that process pain and sensorimotor signals.

The results showed that the fibromyalgia participants had significantly increased pain sensitivity compared with the control group.

The team found differences in brain patterns between the healthy participants and those with fibromyalgia. The fibromyalgia participants showed “functional decoupling” between areas of the brain that process pain signals and other parts, including those that control sensorimotor activity.

The authors suggest this reduction in brain connectivity could impair pain perception.

This may help explain the previous post,  Hypersensitivity in Fibromyalgia Patients

Brain Stimulation in the Treatment of Pain

Brain Stimulation in the Treatment of Chronic Neuropathic and Non-Cancerous Pain

This is a very long and detailed free full-text article from the NIH:

Here, we discuss common clinical and investigational methods of neuromodulation.

Compared to clinical spinal cord stimulation (SCS), investigational techniques of cerebral neuromodulation, both invasive [deep brain stimulation (DBS) and motor cortical stimulation (MCS)] and noninvasive [repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)], may be more advantageous.

Continue reading

Brain mechanism behind chronic pain’s sapping of motivation

Here are two articles about this recent discovery:

Study reveals brain mechanism behind chronic pain’s sapping of motivation | News Center | Stanford Medicine

Chronic Pain is a nightmare: “There’s no escape from it. You want it to end, but it doesn’t

“Within a week after the onset of chronic pain, the animals grew increasingly less likely to work hard for food than pain-free control animals were. … Moreover, the difference didn’t disappear even when the scientists relieved the mice’s pain with analgesics. ”

“The Stanford scientists then focused on the nucleus accumbens, a brain structure known to be involved in computing the behavioral strategies that prompt us to seek or avoid things that can affect our survival. They found that chronic pain permanently changed certain connections to the nucleus accumbens, causing an enduring downshift in the excitation transmitted by them.

Continue reading