Whether a person's injury will lead to chronic pain may depend on the level of communication between 2 parts of his or her brain, says a HealthDay article based on a study published in the current issue of Nature Neuroscience.
For the study, the researchers used brain scans to examine the interaction between 2 parts of the brain—the frontal cortex and the nucleus accumbens—in 40 patients who had recent onset of back pain for the first time. The patients were followed for 1 year.
By analyzing the scans, the investigators were able to predict whether the patients would develop chronic pain with an 85% level of accuracy. Brain regions related to emotional and motivational behavior seem to communicate more in those who develop chronic pain.
Although the study showed an association between levels of communication in the brain and chronic pain, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship, the article says.
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