Machine learning finds brain activity differs in low and high pain states during chronic low back pain
In an early step toward finding a brain imaging biomarker for pain, researchers have detected brain activity patterns in individual patients with chronic low back pain (cLBP) that differ depending on the pain level that the patients experience.
The team from Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, US, used machine learning algorithms to analyze brain imaging data captured with arterial spin labeling (ASL). Continue reading
Brain imaging of pain: state of the art – J Pain Res. 2016 Sep – free full-text PMC article
Advances made in neuroimaging have bridged the gap between brain activity and the subjective experience of pain and allowed us to better understand the changes in the brain that are associated with both acute and chronic pain.
Additionally, cognitive influences on pain such as attention, anticipation, and fear can now be directly observed, allowing for the interpretation of the neural basis of the psychological modulation of pain.
The use of functional brain imaging to measure changes in endogenous neurochemistry has increased our understanding of how states of increased resilience and vulnerability to pain are maintained. Continue reading
By triggering its opioid receptors, the brain is naturally hardwired to shut down or dampen physical discomfort.
But for those with pain from chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, a continued reliance on that process can be overtaxing — and ultimately ineffective.
“It’s sort of like trying to run a marathon … for months and years,” says Daniel Harper, Ph.D.
This is an apt description of pain. A sensation easily tolerated for a few moments can become excruciating over months and years. Continue reading
I stumbled across this chart and found it interesting enough to share:
Neuroimaging: Applications in Chronic Pain Management – Helen Fosam, PhD – August 30, 2016
Pain is a complex emotion with a wide spectrum of sensations spanning from extreme acute physical pain to emotional psychological pain.
Any person suffering from pain feels it as a sensation, not an emotion, so this sentence already betrays unreasonable assumptions or prejudice.
Perhaps researchers are confused on this issue because they’ve been brainwashed to believe our pain is “in our heads” like any other emotion.
Several factors contribute to the challenges of optimal pain management, including poor understanding of pain pathology, and the adoption of a ‘one size fits all’ treatment strategy. Continue reading
In 2011, Annie, whose name has been changed at the request of her lawyer, slipped and fell on a wet floor in a restaurant, injuring her back and head. The pain has never eased, and forced her to leave her job in retail.
Annie sued the restaurant, which has denied liability, for several hundred thousand dollars to cover medical bills and lost income. To bolster her case that she is in pain and not just malingering, Annie’s lawyer suggested that she enlist the services of Millennium Magnetic Technologies (MMT).
MMT says that it can detect pain’s signature using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which measures and maps blood flow in the brain as a proxy for neural activity. Continue reading
Why do neuroscientists, including pain researchers, use brain imaging?
At the most fundamental level, neuroscientists use brain imaging as a tool to understand how the brain is organized and how it functions, and as basic science researchers, we want to understand its fundamental processes.
In the past, most of the great developments in science and medicine have come from that kind of unrestricted exploration, as opposed to directly trying to develop a treatment. Continue reading
The Battle over Pain in the Brain – Scientific American – By Diana Kwon on April 28, 2016
Despite recent advances in uncovering the underlying mechanisms of pain perception in the brain, scientists are still debating the questions of where and how pain is processed.
Over the years neuroscientists have identified the “pain matrix,” a set of brain areas including the anterior cingulate cortex, thalamus and insula that consistently respond to painful stimuli.
Some researchers have since applied this concept to conclude that that rejection hurts because social pain and physical pain share similar mechanisms in the brain. Continue reading
This is the faulty reasoning being used as scientists try to find a “brain activity measure” with imaging to determine the existence and amount of our pain.
At the recent EP3, Giando Iannetti provided a quick lesson in a logical fallacy known as ‘Affirming the consequent’ with the following example:
- When Lorimer does the laundry he uses more electricity
- Lorimer is using more electricity
- Therefore Lorimer is doing the laundry
The conclusion 3. is invalid because it can be false even if 1. and 2. are true. In other words, there are multiple reasons Lorimer might be using more electricity (he could be vacuuming or blow drying his hair…). Continue reading
Test-retest reliability, or reproducibility of results over time, is poorly established for functional brain connectivity (fcMRI) during painful stimulation.
As reliability informs the validity of research findings, it is imperative to examine, especially given recent emphasis on using functional neuroimaging as a tool for biomarker development.
Although proposed pain neural signatures have been derived using complex, multivariate algorithms, even the reliability of less complex fcMRI findings has yet to be reported. Continue reading