Chronic Pain and Brain Abnormalities

1st Edition

Authors: Carl Saab
Print ISBN: 9780123983893
eBook ISBN: 9780124058965
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 28th August 2013
Page Count: 176
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It is only natural for someone in pain to attend to the body part that hurts. Yet this book tells the story of persistent pain having negative effects on brain function. The contributors, all leading experts in their respective fields of pain electrophysiology, brain imaging, and animal models of pain, strive to synthesize compelling and, in some ways, connected hypotheses with regard to pain-related changes in the brain. Together, they contribute their clinical, academic, and theoretical expertise in a comprehensive overview that attempts to define the broader philosophical context of pain (disentangling sensical from nonsensical claims), list the changes known to take place in the brains of individuals with chronic pain and animal models of pain, address the possible causes and mechanisms underlying these changes, and detail the techniques and analytical methods at our disposal to "visualize" and study these changes.

Key Features

  • Philosophical and social concepts of pain; testimonials of chronic-pain patients
  • Clinical data from pain patients’ brains
  • Advances in noninvasive brain imaging for pain patients
  • Combining theoretical and empirical approaches to the analysis of pain-related brain function
  • Manipulation of brain function in animal models
  • Emerging neurotechnology principles for pain diagnostics and therapeutics


Researchers and graduate students in pain neuroscience, neurology, neurosurgery, pain management and anesthesiology

Table of Contents

  • Dedication
  • Preface
  • Reference
  • List of Contributors
  • List of Figures
  • Chapter 1. Introduction
    • Rationale and Scope of this Book
    • What is Pain?
    • Pain in Animals
    • Pain We Need
    • Pain We Don’t Need
    • Real Faces of Pain: Case Illustrations
    • Pain; more than a Numbers Game
    • Why Focus on the Brain? A Philosophical Perspective
    • References

  • Chapter 2. Morphological Brain Changes in Chronic Pain: Mystery and Meaning
    • Introduction
    • Methodological Approaches to Measures of Morphometric Changes in the CNS
    • The Brain and Plasticity
    • Alterations in Gray and White Matter—Pathophysiological Processes
    • Brain Changes and Chronic Pain
    • Brain Targets for Treatment
    • Biomarker in Chronic Pain: Structural-Functional Relationships
    • Conclusions
    • References

  • Chapter 3. Thalamic Burst Firing in Response to Experimental Pain Stimuli and in Patients with Chronic Neuropathic Pain may be a Carrier for Pain-Related Signals
    • Introduction
    • Pain-Related Activity in SI Cortex
    • Cortical Pain Network
    • Pain Processing in the Region of Vc
    • Thalamic Burst Firing Patterns
    • Thalamic Firing Patterns in Relation-Directed Attention and Distraction
    • Thalamic Firing Patterns in Relation to Painful Stimuli
    • Thalamic Firing Patterns in Chronic Pain
    • Acknowledgements
    • References

  • Chapter 4. Central Pain: A Thalamic Deafferentation Generating Thalamocortical Dysrhythmia
    • Introduction
    • Deafferentation Pain Syndromes
    • Peripheral Pain Syndromes
    • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
    • Intraoperative Recordings and Thalamic Lesions
    • High Frequency Firing and the Edge Effect
    • Discussion
    • Referen


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About the Author

Carl Saab

Affiliations and Expertise

Department of Neuroscience and Department of Neurosurgery, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA


"For pain practitioners, clinicians, scientists, therapists, and biomedical engineers, Saab…compiles five chapters that examine chronic pain-related brain abnormalities, their neurophysiological mechanisms, and neurotechnological and theoretical tools used to study them."--Reference & Research Book News, December 2013