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Papers of the Week

Papers: 20 Feb 2021 - 26 Feb 2021


Human Studies

2021 Feb 19

J Neurosci Res

Resilience, pain, and the brain: Relationships differ by sociodemographics.


Tanner JJ, Johnson AJ, Terry EL, Cardoso J, Garvan C, Staud R, Deutsch G, Deshpande H, Lai S, Addison A, Redden D, Goodin BR, Price CC, Fillingim RB, Sibille KT
J Neurosci Res. 2021 Feb 19.
PMID: 33606287.


Chronic musculoskeletal (MSK) pain is disabling to individuals and burdensome to society. A relationship between telomere length and resilience was reported in individuals with consideration for chronic pain intensity. While chronic pain associates with brain changes, little is known regarding the neurobiological interface of resilience. In a group of individuals with chronic MSK pain, we examined the relationships between a previously investigated resilience index, clinical pain and functioning measures, and pain-related brain structures, with consideration for sex and ethnicity/race. A cross-sectional analysis of 166 non-Hispanic Black and non-Hispanic White adults, 45-85 years of age with pain ≥ 1 body site (s) over the past 3 months was completed. Measures of clinical pain and functioning, biobehavioral and psychosocial resilience, and structural MRI were completed. Our findings indicate higher levels of resilience associate with lower levels of clinical pain and functional limitations. Significant associations between resilience, ethnicity/race, and/or sex, and pain-related brain gray matter structure were demonstrated in the right amygdaloid complex, bilateral thalamus, and postcentral gyrus. Our findings provide compelling evidence that in order to decipher the neurobiological code of chronic pain and related protective factors, it will be important to improve how chronic pain is phenotyped; to include an equal representation of females in studies including analyses stratifying by sex, and to consider other sociodemographic factors.