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Approved Research

Medical imaging biomarkers of pain, physical function, and mental health for acute and chronic pain conditions

Principal Investigator: Dr Sean Mackey
Approved Research ID: 67450
Approval date: January 11th 2021

Lay summary

Chronic pain is a leading cause of disability globally and major public health concern. Despite being so common, chronic pain remains poorly understood, and the current treatments are minimally effective. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has revealed changes in the brain in many chronic pain conditions, which may be important factors in the continuation of pain. Decreased physical function and mental health issues also frequently accompany pain conditions and are deeply connected to the pain experienced by patients. Here we seek to use MRI brain measures to develop new clinical tools to better understand the brain's role in acute and chronic pain conditions and their relationship to physical function and mental health. Finally, as many genes have been associated with the processing of pain, we will explore the genes related to these brain changes and their connection to physical function and mental health.

We anticipate that the project will require 36 months to complete. The information gained from this study will increase our understanding of the brain and the genetic factors that are important in multiple pain conditions, and we will develop tools that may improve the treatment of chronic pain conditions.