Shifting Brain Circuits in Pain Chronicity
The evaluation of brain changes to a specific pain condition in pediatric and adult patients allows for insights into potential mechanisms of pain chronicity and possibly long-term brain changes. Here we focused on the primary somatosensory system (SS) involved in pain processing, namely the ventroposterolateral thalamus (VPL) and the primary somatosensory cortex (SI). We evaluated, using MRI, three specific processes: (a) somatotopy of changes in the SS for different pain origins (viz., foot vs. arm); (b) differences in acute (ankle sprain versus complex regional pain syndrome-CRPS); and (c) differences of the effects of CRPS on SS in pediatric versus adult patients. Read the abstract.