Some people are born with a brain structure which predisposes them to chronic pain
Date: 18th December 2021 | By: Dr Lourdes Gaspar
Brain, awab334, https://doi.org/10.1093/brain/awab334
This is an important study looking into the genetic makeup of people who go on to develop chronic pain.
We know from certain a type of MRI scan called a Functional MRI (FMRI) that when patients develop chronic pain, their brain anatomy changes.
The main difference in this study is that it identified that patients with a certain type of brain structure are more predisposed to developing chronic pain and it is not hat it changed after they developed their pain condition.
The looked at the genetic data of hundred of thousands of people and also looked at brain scans in a control group. They were able to correlate that people with chronic pain had an area of their brain called the insular cortex that was thickened compared to people who didn’t have a chronic pain condition. The insular cortex is also known to be involved in a range of functions including pain perception, sensation, taste, emotional processing and individuals’ internal perceptions of their body especially of their abdominal organ function.
The research took place at the University of Queensland, Australia. One of the key researchers said,
“Differences in brain structure have previously been reported in people with chronic pain.
“Our research shows for the first time that this association is partly due to individual differences in people’s DNA.”
It is hoped that this type of research by identifying the underlying biological causes of chronic pain, we hope to improve the diagnosis, treatment of and health outcomes for sufferers of this highly debilitating condition,”