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Papers of the Week

Papers: 13 Jan 2024 - 19 Jan 2024

2024 Jan 12

JMIR Mhealth Uhealth



SOMAScience: A Novel Platform for Multidimensional, Longitudinal Pain Assessment.


Gunsilius CZ, Heffner J, Bruinsma S, Corinha M, Cortinez M, Dalton H, Duong E, Lu J, Omar A, Owen LLW, Roarr BN, Tang K, Petzschner FH


Chronic pain is one of the most significant health issues in the United States, affecting more than 20% of the population. Despite its contribution to the increasing health crisis, reliable predictors of disease development, progression, or treatment outcomes are lacking. Self-report remains the most effective way to assess pain, but measures are often acquired in sparse settings over short time windows, limiting their predictive ability. In this paper, we present a new mobile health platform called SOMAScience. SOMAScience serves as an easy-to-use research tool for scientists and clinicians, enabling the collection of large-scale pain datasets in single- and multicenter studies by facilitating the acquisition, transfer, and analysis of longitudinal, multidimensional, self-report pain data. Data acquisition for SOMAScience is done through a user-friendly smartphone app, SOMA, that uses experience sampling methodology to capture momentary and daily assessments of pain intensity, unpleasantness, interference, location, mood, activities, and predictions about the next day that provide personal insights into daily pain dynamics. The visualization of data and its trends over time is meant to empower individual users’ self-management of their pain. This paper outlines the scientific, clinical, technological, and user considerations involved in the development of SOMAScience and how it can be used in clinical studies or for pain self-management purposes. Our goal is for SOMAScience to provide a much-needed platform for individual users to gain insight into the multidimensional features of their pain while lowering the barrier for researchers and clinicians to obtain the type of pain data that will ultimately lead to improved prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of chronic pain.