Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chronic Back Pain Linked To Changes In The Brain

Date:
November 30, 2006
Source:
Radiological Society of North America
Summary:
A German research team using a specialized imaging technique revealed that individuals suffering from chronic low back pain also had microstructural changes in their brains. The findings were presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.

A German research team using a specialized imaging technique revealed that individuals suffering from chronic low back pain also had microstructural changes in their brains. The findings were presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

The researchers, led by Jόrgen Lutz, M.D., a radiology resident at University Hospital, Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany, used a technique called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to track the movement of water molecules in the brain's gray and white matter.

"A major problem for patients with chronic pain is making their condition believable to doctors, relatives and insurance carriers. DTI could play an important role in this regard," Dr. Lutz said. "With these objective and reproducible correlates in brain imaging, chronic pain may no longer be a subjective experience. For pain diagnosis and treatment, the consequences could be enormous."

Individual water molecules are constantly in motion, colliding with each other and other nearby molecules, causing them to spread out, or diffuse. DTI allows scientists to analyze water diffusion in the tissues of the brain that indicate changes in brain cell organization.

"In normal white matter, water diffuses in one main direction," Dr. Lutz explained. "But when fiber pathways are developing during childhood or are extensively used, their microstructural organization becomes more organized and complex with measurable changes in diffusion."

Dr. Lutz and colleagues studied 20 patients experiencing chronic back pain with no precisely identifiable cause and 20 age- and gender-matched healthy control patients. DTI was performed to measure the diffusion in several areas of each patient's brain.

Compared to the healthy volunteers, the patients with chronic low back pain had a significantly more directed diffusion in the three pain-processing regions of the brain, including the cingulate gyrus, postcentral gyrus and superior frontal gyrus.

"Our results reveal that in chronic pain sufferers, the organization of cerebral microstructure is much more complex and active in the areas of the brain involved in pain processing, emotion and the stress response," said co-author Gustav Schelling, M.D., Ph.D. from the Department of Anaesthesiology at Munich University.

The researchers said the findings may help explain the extreme resistance to treatment for chronic low back pain and provide much-needed evidence for individual sufferers. However, it is unclear which occurs first, the chronic back pain or the microstructural changes in the brain.

"It's difficult to know whether these are pre-existing changes in the brain that predispose an individual to developing chronic pain, whether ongoing pain creates the hyperactivity that actually changes the brain organization, or if it is some mixture of both," Dr. Schelling said. "DTI may help explain what's happening for some of these patients, and direct therapeutic attention from the spine to the brain," he added.

Co-authors are Maximilian F. Reiser, M.D., Olaf Dietrich, Ph.D., Lorenz Jaeger, M.D. and Robert Stahl, M.D.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Radiological Society of North America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Radiological Society of North America. "Chronic Back Pain Linked To Changes In The Brain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 November 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061128140715.htm>.
Radiological Society of North America. (2006, November 30). Chronic Back Pain Linked To Changes In The Brain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061128140715.htm
Radiological Society of North America. "Chronic Back Pain Linked To Changes In The Brain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061128140715.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) — Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) — A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) — The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) — A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins