Neural correlates of chronic pain in chronic pancreatitis
Project Leader: Dr Sarah Waldman, Academic Clinical Fellow
Sarah is working on a project entitled ‘A case-controlled arterial spin labelling study to investigate the neural correlates of chronic pain in patients with chronic pancreatitis’.
People with chronic pancreatitis often suffer from severe and intractable pain which responds poorly to traditional analgesia. The severity of the pain does not correlate with the severity of the disease, and some patients even report continued pain after the pancreas is removed. It is likely that central neurological mechanisms are involved in the altered perception and maintenance of this pain.
Sarah is recruiting patients with chronic pancreatitis, some of whom have severe pain and some of whom have very little. These participants are undergoing structural and functional brain imaging using MRI to determine the areas of the brain that are activated at rest and during painful stimulation, as well as any structural differences that may exist when compared to healthy control subjects. Participants are also providing information about their pain, and about physical, social and psychological features that may influence it.
By gaining a better understanding of the mechanisms involved in chronic pain in this group, Sarah hopes that it will be possible to provide more effective treatment to patients at the optimum time, in order to decrease the impact of their disease on everyday life.