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Behavioral/Systems/Cognitive The Cortical Rhythms of Chronic Back Pain

Summary: Behavioral/Systems/Cognitive
The Cortical Rhythms of Chronic Back Pain
Marwan N. Baliki,1 Alex T. Baria,1 and A. Vania Apkarian1,2,3,4
Departments of 1Physiology, 2Anesthesia, and 3Surgery, and 4Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University,
Chicago, Illinois 60610
Chronic pain is maladaptive and influences brain function and behavior by altering the flow and integration of information across brain
regions. Here we use a power spectral analysis to investigate impact of presence of chronic pain on brain oscillatory activity in humans.
We examine changes in BOLD fluctuations, across different frequencies, in chronic back pain (CBP) patients (n 15) as compared to
healthy controls (n 15) during resting-state fMRI. While healthy subjects exhibited a specific, frequency band-dependent, large-scale
neural organization, patients showed increased high-frequency BOLD oscillations (0.120.20 Hz) circumscribed mainly to medial pre-
frontal cortex (mPFC) and parts of the default mode network. In the patients a correlation analysis related the mPFC aberrant BOLD
high-frequency dynamics to altered functional connectivity to pain signaling/modulating brain regions, thus linking BOLD frequency
changes to function. We also found that increased frequency fluctuations within the mPFC were temporally synchronous with sponta-
neous pain changes in patients during a pain-rating task. These observations provide novel insights about the nature of CBP, identifying
how it disturbs the resting brain, and link high-frequency BOLD oscillations to perception.
Chronic pain is complex in nature and cannot be localized to a
unitary set of regions in the brain; rather, it emerges from the flow
and integration of information between multiple brain regions
(Cauda et al., 2009b; Apkarian et al., 2011). In addition to the


Source: Apkarian, A. Vania - Department of Physiology, Northwestern University


Collections: Biology and Medicine