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Papers of the Week

Papers: 15 Jan 2022 - 21 Jan 2022


Front Neurol


Brain Imaging Biomarkers for Chronic Pain.


Zhang Z, Gewandter JS, Geha P
Front Neurol. 2021; 12:734821.
PMID: 35046881.


The prevalence of chronic pain has reached epidemic levels. In addition to personal suffering chronic pain is associated with psychiatric and medical co-morbidities, notably substance misuse, and a huge a societal cost amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars annually in medical cost, lost wages, and productivity. Chronic pain does not have a cure or quantitative diagnostic or prognostic tools. In this manuscript we provide evidence that this situation is about to change. We first start by summarizing our current understanding of the role of the brain in the pathogenesis of chronic pain. We particularly focus on the concept of learning in the emergence of chronic pain, and the implication of the limbic brain circuitry and dopaminergic signaling, which underly emotional learning and decision making, in this process. Next, we summarize data from our labs and from other groups on the latest brain imaging findings in different chronic pain conditions focusing on results with significant potential for translation into clinical applications. The gaps in the study of chronic pain and brain imaging are highlighted in throughout the overview. Finally, we conclude by discussing the costs and benefits of using brain biomarkers of chronic pain and compare to other potential markers.