What do migraine, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgiaand rheumatoid arthritis have in common? All involve chronic pain.
A new database featuring hundreds of brain scans and other key clinical information will help researchers tease out similarities and differences between these and many other chronic-pain conditions, helping to accelerate research and treatment development.
The Gail and Gerald Oppenheimer Family Center for Neurobiology of Stress at UCLA will serves as the main hub for this new Pain and Interoception Imaging Network (PAIN), the first-ever standardized database for brain imaging associated with chronic pain. So far, 14 institutions in North America and Europe are participating.
Building upon their experiences creating a similar but smaller network to study pelvic pain, the UCLA team is now developing this larger chronic-pain network with the help of a $300,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health.
"We are now recognizing that chronic pain is a brain disease, and if we want to treat it more effectively, we need to better understand and treat the mechanisms in the brain that are driving it," said Dr. Emeran Mayer, a professor of medicine in the divisions of digestive diseases, physiology and psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and executive director of the Gail and Gerald Oppenheimer Family Center for Neurobiology of Stress at UCLA.