Nov 20, 2011
Rewiring the Brain to Ease Pain (Wall Street Journal):-
“How you think about pain can have a major impact on how it feels. That’s the intriguing conclusion neuroscientists are reaching as scanning technologies let them see how the brain processes pain. That’s also the principle behind many mind-body approaches to chronic pain that are proving surprisingly effective in clinical trials. Some are as old as meditation, hypnosis and tai chi, while others are far more high tech.”
Link to Study Towards a physiology-based measure of pain (PloS One):
Abstract: Pain often exists in the absence of observable injury; therefore, the gold standard for pain assessment has long been self-report. Because the inability to verbally communicate can prevent effective pain management, research efforts have focused on the development of a tool that accurately assesses pain without depending on self-report. Those previous efforts have not proven successful at substituting self-report with a clinically valid, physiology-based measure of pain.
Recent neuroimaging data suggest that functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and support vector machine (SVM) learning can be jointly used to accurately assess cognitive states. Therefore, we hypothesized that an SVM trained on fMRI data can assess pain in the absence of self-report. In fMRI experiments, 24 individuals were presented painful and nonpainful thermal stimuli.
Region of interest (ROI) analyses revealed that whole-brain patterns of activity led to more accurate classification than localized activity from individual brain regions. Our findings demonstrate that fMRI with SVM learning can assess pain without requiring any communication from the person being tested. We outline tasks that should be completed to advance this approach toward use in clinical settings.
Source of pic: BigStockPhoto.