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Chronic Pain Harms Brain's Wiring
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FRIDAY, Feb. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Chronic pain can disrupt brain function and cause problems such Related
SOURCE: Northwestern University, news release, TV Specials
as disturbed sleep, depression, anxiety and difficulty Encyclopedia
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making simple decisions, a U.S. study finds. Effective
Researchers at Northwestern University's Feinberg • Bell's Palsy Bipolar Education
School of Medicine in Chicago used functional MRI to Health Center
scan brain activity in people with chronic low back Heart Valve
pain while they tracked a moving bar on a computer Disease Health
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In those with no pain, the brain regions displayed a Depression
state of equilibrium. When one region was active, Schizophrenia
the other regions calmed down. But in people with Breast Cancer
chronic pain, the front region of the cortex mostly associated with emotion "never shuts up," study Related Drug
author Dante Chialvo, an associate research Information
professor of physiology, said in a prepared Healthscout
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This region remains highly active, which wears out • Depakote neurons and alters their connections to each other. Health Videos
This constant firing of neurons could cause Quizzes &
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"We know when neurons fire too much they may Encyclopedia
change their connections with other neurons or even Deadly In-Depth
die, because they can't sustain high activity for so Library &
"If you are a chronic pain patient, you have pain 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every minute of News Archive
your life. That permanent perception of pain in your For Males, Video brain makes these areas in your brain continuously • Game Rewards Are Drug Library
active. This continuous dysfunction in the equilibrium of the brain can change the wiring Find a Therapist
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forever and could hurt the brain," Chialvo explained. These changes "may make it harder for you to make a decision or be in a good mood to get up in the morning. It could be that pain produces depression and the other reported abnormalities, because it PR Newswire
disturbs the balance of the brain as a whole," he said. Read latest
The study was published in the Feb. 6 issue of The Journal of Chialvo said the findings show that, along with finding new ways to treat pain, it's also important to develop methods to evaluate and prevent disruption of brain function caused by chronic pain. More information
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about chronic pain. Copyright 2008 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved. Related Links HealthScout-Consumer Health News, Information and Resources Updated Daily-Mental-.
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