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Pain Manag. 2011 Nov 1;1(6):577-586.

The brain in chronic pain: clinical implications.

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Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Department of Physiology, 303 E Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60610, USA.


This article examines the present, and potential future, impact of brain imaging on chronic pain. It is argued that novel theories of chronic pain are coming to the fore, specifically through brain imaging of the human brain in chronic pain. Such studies show that the brain reorganizes in relation to chronic pain, in a pattern specific to the type of clinical pain, and that brain networks and receptor targets are being identified and reverse translated to animal studies of their efficacy and mechanisms. Future studies need to integrate across human brain imaging techniques, as well as more intensive reverse translational methods.

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