Chronic Pain — 28 November 2013

By Pat Anson, Editor

Brain imaging could someday be used to help develop new pain medicines and to personalize the treatment of chronic pain patients, according to a small study at the University of Michigan.

MRI scans allow researchers to “see” how a pain medicine works in the brain. Image courtesy of University of Michigan Health System.

Researchers there were the first to use MRI brain imaging to track the clinical action of pregabalin, a drug widely prescribed to treat fibromyalgia and neuropathic pain. Pregabalin is the generic name for Lyrica, which is sold by Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE).

Three different types of brain imaging were used – proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy, functional magnetic resonance imaging, and functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging – on 17 female patients with fibromyalgia.

The National Institutes of Health estimates that 5 million Americans suffer from fibromyalgia, a poorly understood disorder characterized by chronic deep tissue pain, fatigue, headaches, depression and lack of sleep.

Previous research has shown that fibromyalgia patients may have heightened neural activity in the insula, a region of the brain involved in processing pain and emotion. This excess activity may be related to elevated levels of the neurotransmitter glutamate.

Read more at National Pain Report.

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About Author

Pat Anson, Editor

Pat is Editor in Chief of American News Report. He is a veteran journalist and a former correspondent and producer for HealthWeek (PBS), Nightly Business Report (PBS) and other nationally syndicated shows. Pat has won numerous journalism awards, including a Golden Mike award for investigative reporting.

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