Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chronic Pain Can Impair Memory

Date:
May 18, 2007
Source:
University of Alberta
Summary:
Researchers have confirmed that chronic pain doesn't just cause physical discomfort; it can impair your memory and your concentration. In a recent study two-thirds of participants with chronic pain showed significant disruption of attention and memory when tested.

Anyone who has experienced chronic pain knows that it affects the ability to work, sleep and perform other activities essential to leading a full life. Now researchers at the University of Alberta have confirmed that chronic pain doesn't just cause physical discomfort; it can impair your memory and your concentration.

In a study recently conducted at the university's Multidisciplinary Pain Centre in Edmonton, Canada, two-thirds of participants with chronic pain showed significant disruption of attention and memory when tested.

After studying 24 patients, Drs. Bruce D. Dick and Saifudin Rashiq seem to have zeroed in on one of the cognitive mechanisms affected by chronic pain. Their findings, published in the latest issue of Anesthesia and Analgesia, suggest that pain may disrupt the maintenance of the memory trace that is required to hold information for processing and retain it for storage in longer-term memory stores. In other words, chronic pain can, quite literally, drive people to distraction.

Participants in the study--all of whom had pain lasting six months or longer--were given computerized tests of working memory and a neuropsychological test of attention on separate "pain" and "less pain" days.

On the "less pain" day, participants were tested after receiving a pain-reducing procedure as part of their ongoing treatment at the Centre. On the "pain" day, participants were tested without having received a pain-reducing procedure, when their pain was reported to be at a high level. Sixteen participants--a startling 67 per cent--showed clinical impairment due to pain on their pain testing day. The remaining eight participants, or 33 per cent, showed no clinical impairment due to pain.

The sample of individuals included in the study may be small, but the statistically significant findings are "robust", Dick and Rashiq said.

"Prevalence studies indicate that as much as 44 per cent of the population--in Canada as well as in the U.S. and Europe--experience pain on a regular basis, and that in approximately one-quarter of this group the pain is severe", said Dick. The cost of chronic pain to society is great, and Dick and Rashiq argue that the matter needs to be recognized as a public health priority.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alberta. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Alberta. "Chronic Pain Can Impair Memory." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 May 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070517142536.htm>.
University of Alberta. (2007, May 18). Chronic Pain Can Impair Memory. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070517142536.htm
University of Alberta. "Chronic Pain Can Impair Memory." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070517142536.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Apple has delayed the launch of the HealthKit app platform, citing a bug. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Food Makers Surpass Calorie-Cutting Pledge

U.S. Food Makers Surpass Calorie-Cutting Pledge

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Sixteen large food and beverage companies in the United States that committed to cut calories in their products far surpassed their target. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

AFP (Sep. 18, 2014) Haitians receive the second dose of the vaccine against cholera as part of the UN's vaccination campaign. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
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