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Papers of the Week

Papers: 29 May 2021 - 4 Jun 2021

Human Studies

2021 May 05




Optimizing Chronic Pain Treatment with Enhanced Neuroplastic Responsiveness: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial.


Pratscher S, Mickle AM, Marks JG, Rocha H, Bartsch F, Schmidt J, Tejera L, Garcia S, Custodero C, Jean F, Garvan C, Johnson AJ, Pop R, Greene A, Woods AJ, Staud R, Fillingim RB, Keil A, Sibille KT
Nutrients. 2021 May 05; 13(5).
PMID: 34063083.


Chronic pain affects mental and physical health and alters brain structure and function. Interventions that reduce chronic pain are also associated with changes in the brain. A number of non-invasive strategies can promote improved learning and memory and increase neuroplasticity in older adults. Intermittent fasting and glucose administration represent two such strategies with the potential to optimize the neurobiological environment to increase responsiveness to recognized pain treatments. The purpose of the pilot study was to test the feasibility and acceptability of intermittent fasting and glucose administration paired with a recognized pain treatment activity, relaxation and guided imagery. A total of 32 adults (44% W, 56% M), 50 to 85 years of age, with chronic knee pain for three months or greater participated in the study. Four sessions were completed over an approximate two-week period. Findings indicate the ability to recruit, randomize, and retain participants in the protocol. The procedures and measures were reasonable and completed without incident. Participant adherence was high and exit interview feedback positive. In summary, the pilot study was feasible and acceptable, providing the evidence necessary to move forward with a larger clinical trial.