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Papers: 24 Dec 2022 - 30 Dec 2022

2022 Dec 19

Int J Environ Res Public Health



A Forehead Wearable Sensor for the Objective Measurement of Chronic Pain.


Orzabal M, Naidu R, Amirdelfan K, Akhbardeh A
Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Dec 19; 19(24).
PMID: 36554922.


Chronic pain impacts one in five Americans and is difficult to manage, costing ~USD 600 billion annually. The subjective experience of pain is a complex processing of central nervous system input. Recent advances in magnetic resonance imaging revealed the prefrontal cortex as vital to the perception of pain and that changes in the cerebral hemodynamics can be used to detect painful sensations. Current pain monitoring is dependent on the subjective rating provided by patients and is limited to a single time point. We have developed a biomarker for the objective, real-time and continuous chronic pain assessment using proprietary algorithms termed ROPA and cerebral optical spectrometry. Using a forehead sensor, the cerebral optical spectrometry data were collected in two clinical sites from 41 patients (19 and 22, respectively, from sites 1 and 2), who elected to receive an epidural steroid injection for the treatment of chronic pain. Patients rated their pain on a numeric rating scale, ranging from 0-10, which were used to validate the ROPA objective pain scoring. Multiple time points, including pre- and post-procedure were recorded. The steroid injection was performed per standard medical practice. There was a significant correlation between the patient's reported numeric rating scale and ROPA, for both clinical sites (Overall ~0.81). Holding the subjective pain ratings on a numeric rating scale as ground truth, we determined that the area under the receiver operator curves for both sites revealed at least good (AUC: 64%) to excellent (AUC > 98%) distinctions between clinically meaningful pain severity differentiations (no/mild/moderate/severe). The objective measure of chronic pain (ROPA) determined using cerebral optical spectrometry significantly correlated with the subjective pain scores reported by the subjects. This technology may provide a useful method of detection for the objective and continuous monitoring and treatment of patients with chronic pain, particularly in clinical circumstances where direct assessment is not available, or to complement the patient-reported pain scores.