Breaking down the barriers: fMRI applications in pain, analgesia and analgesics

David Borsook, Lino R Becerra

This review summarizes functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) findings that have informed our current understanding of pain, analgesia and related phenomena, and discusses the potential role of fMRI in improved therapeutic approaches to pain. It is divided into 3 main sections: (1) fMRI studies of acute and chronic pain. (2) fMRI studies of endogenous pain processing including placebo, empathy, attention or cognitive modulation of pain. (3) The use of fMRI to evaluate the effects of analgesics on brain function in acute and chronic pain. fMRI has already provided novel insights into the neurobiology of pain. These insights should significantly advance therapeutic approaches to chronic pain.

Molecular Pain 2006, 2:30, online.

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