New Model Yields Fuller Picture of the Brain in Pain
Using data from six independent studies, a multicenter team of researchers has created a functional MRI-based (fMRI) model that provides new ways of understanding and evaluating the neurobiological components of pain. The study, supported in part by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, was led by scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder. It was published in the journal Nature Communications.
It’s well established that the brain drives what people experience as pain. In the brain’s response to pain, the best-known process is “nociception,” in which the brain encodes and processes “noxious stimuli” (i.e., stimuli that injure or threaten to injure the body’s tissues, such as a heat stimulus in an experiment). In this new study, the investigators developed and tested a new, multi-level “signature,” using multivariate pattern analysis (which analyzes patterns in fMRI data) to quantitatively map brain activity and associated regions in pain, including those apart from nociception. They named it SIIPS1 (stimulus intensity independent pain signature-1).