A team led by Dr Bhavna Kulkarni has captured the first images of how the brain processes arthritis pain, using positron emission tomography (PET) scanners based at the Christie Hospital.
In a study funded by the Arthritis Research Campaign and published in 'Arthritis and Rheumatism' this week, they compare the brain areas involved in processing arthritic and experimental pain in a group of patients with osteoarthritis.
Dr Kulkarni said: “We knew from our previous neuro-imaging studies that experimentally-induced pain is processed in at least two brain networks, collectively known as the ‘pain matrix.’ The ‘medial pain system’ processes the emotional aspects such as pain’s unpleasantness, while the ‘lateral pain system’ processes the pain’s intensity, location and duration.
“We wanted to see whether the same applied to the clinical pain suffered by people with conditions like arthritis, as no direct comparisons of experimental and clinical pain had been undertaken in the same group of patients.”
Six female and six male patients with osteoarthritis of the knee underwent PET brain-scanning during three different pain states: arthritic knee pain, experimental knee pain (when no arthritic pain was present) and a pain-free state. Each patient also rated their perceived pain intensity and unpleasantness on 0 – 100 rating scales at 10 minute intervals.
“We thought that arthritic and acute experimental pain would be processed within the same areas of the pain matrix,” Dr Kulkarni continued. “But, although both activated both the medial and lateral pain systems, arthritic pain prompted increased activity in the cingulate cortex, thalamus and amygdale within the medial system - the areas concerned with processing fear, emotions and aversive conditioning.
“This suggests that arthritic pain has more emotional salience than experimental pain for these patients, which is consistent with the unpleasantness scores they themselves gave. The increased activity in the areas associated with aversive conditioning, reward and fear, which are less commonly activated during experimental pain, suggests they might be processing fear of further injury and disability associated with the arthritic pain.”
Project supervisor Professor Anthony Jones, whose Human Pain Research Group is based at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The finding that both experimental and arthritic pain activate the medial and lateral pain systems suggests that there isn’t a unique brain network for processing arthritic pain, and we are therefore justified in using experimental pain to investigate the generalised mechanisms of pain perception. However, it seems that studying experimental pain alone does not provide the complete picture, and that PET scanning patients experiencing different types of clinical pain can reveal subtle changes in brain activity.
“Importantly, the study has demonstrated the importance of the medial pain system during the experience of arthritic pain, suggesting it would be a good target for both new analgesics and non-pharmacological interventions. The body’s own pain-killing chemicals - the endogenous opioid system – could even be a possible candidate for modulation to target pain in the areas we have identified.”
Jon Keighren | alfa
Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg
New potential cancer treatment using microwaves to target deep tumors
12.10.2016 | University of Texas at Arlington
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences