Tag Archives: imaging

Different Disorders, Same Pain

Brain Changes May Explain Chronic Pain Symptoms in Different Disorders – August 23, 2017 In Fibromyalgia, Newsby Patricia Inacio, PhD

Even though fibromyalgia and urological chronic pelvic pain syndrome (UCPPS) are different disorders, new research suggests that patients suffering from these conditions may actually share alterations to the brain, perhaps explaining why certain UCPPS patients exhibit fibromyalgia characteristics, such as widespread pain.

The study “Brain signature and functional impact of centralized pain: a multidisciplinary approach to the study of chronic pelvic pain (MAPP) network study” was published in the journal Pain.   Continue reading


FDA Safety alert for MRI Contrast Agents

Drug Safety Communication on Gadolinium Contrast Agents | Drug Topics – December 20, 2017

The FDA has issued a drug safety communication about gadolinium-based contrast agents used in MRIs. It is requiring a new class warning and other safety measures for these products.

This is not the first time this issue has arisen:

Continue reading

Neuroimaging for Chronic Pain: IASP Consensus Statement

Neuroimaging for Chronic Pain: IASP Consensus Statement – by 

health and disability insurance companies seek methods to confirm the pain status of beneficiaries to corroborate self-report, which is the current gold standard for pain assessment in clinical and research settings.

All parts of our health system (and its interface to the legal and financial systems) have difficulties with self-reported symptoms because they are all based on numerical values that are independently verifiable.

A blood test or x-ray taken by your doctor will not yield significant differences from the ones taken by your insurance company or lawyer, so these are seen as “factual evidence”.   Continue reading

Brain Imaging as a ‘Lie Detector’ for Chronic Pain

New Guidelines Discourage Use of Brain Imaging as a ‘Lie Detector’ for Chronic Pain Sep-2017

A task force consisting of researchers from around the world and led by a scientist at the Krembil Research Institute in Toronto has released a set of recommendations that advise against the use of brain imaging as a test for chronic pain.  

“It’s not possible at this point in time to say with any degree of certainty that a person does or does not have chronic pain based on brain imaging,” said Dr. Karen Davis, Head, Division of Brain, Imaging and Behaviour-Systems Neuroscience at the Krembil Research Institute at UHN . 

“The only way to truly know if someone is in pain is if they tell you because pain is subjective and it is a complex experience. No brain scan can do that.” Continue reading

Gadolinium for Scans Builds Up Even in Normal Brains

Gadolinium Builds Even in Normal Brains | Medpage Today – by Kristina Fiore Kristina Fiore, Deputy Managing Editor, MedPage Today June 29, 2017

Gadolinium from imaging contrast agents sticks to neural tissues even in patients who don’t have intracranial abnormalities, according to a small, single-center, retrospective study.

In a postmortem study comparing tissues from the brains of five patients who had several magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans using gadolinium with 10 patients who had MRIs without contrast, elemental gadolinium was detected in four neuroanatomic regions of all five patients, with concentrations ranging from 0.1 to 19.4 mcg per gram of tissue,

Robert McDonald, MD, PhD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues reported online in Radiology.   Continue reading

Neuroscience Conference: Imaging of Pain

Neuroscience Conference: Imaging of Pain by Stephani Sutherland on 13 Feb 2017

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

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

Are MRIs Leaving Toxic Traces in the Brain?

Are MRIs Leaving Toxic Traces in the Brain? – ProPublica – June 2015

With a family history of breast cancer, Marcie Jacobs decided in June 2001 that an MRI screening was her best preventive option.

As is common with MRIs, Jacobs was injected beforehand with a contrast agent, a drug that helps sharpen the resulting images.

But after a few of these treatments, she began noticing some strange cognitive effects.

Jacobs began missing meetings. Over the next several years she had additional MRIs. The math skills that were crucial to her job as finance manager started deteriorating, she said.  Continue reading

Brain Connectivity Predicts Placebo Response

Brain Connectivity Predicts Placebo Response across Chronic Pain Clinical Trials October 27, 2016 http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1002570

Placebo response in the clinical trial setting is poorly understood and alleged to be driven by statistical confounds, and its biological underpinnings are questioned.

Here we identified and validated that clinical placebo response is predictable from resting-state functional magnetic-resonance-imaging (fMRI) brain connectivity.

However, we cannot assume this will work for all patients because, just like with hypnosis, not all people are equally susceptible.  Continue reading

Why Fibromyalgia Patients Can’t Regulate Their Pain

Why Fibromyalgia Patients Can’t Regulate Their Pain | University of Michigan

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