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Brain changes in chronic pain 'could be reversed'

Brain changes in chronic pain 'could be reversed'
18th May 2011

The brain changes caused by chronic lower back pain can be reversed with the pain itself, report researchers, which could be welcome news to chronic pain patients who may use home care.

If surgery or spinal injections are carried out to alleviate chronic lower back pain, the neural changes it has also caused are reversed, according to research published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Individuals experiencing chronic pain also have cognitive impairments and less gray matter in parts of the brain linked to pain processing and associated emotion such as depression and anxiety.

Researchers from McGill University and the McGill University Health Centre conducted cognitive tests and MRI scans on chronic lower back pain patients before and after their treatment.

Lead author Laura S Stone said: "If you can make the pain go away with effective treatment, you can reverse these abnormal changes in the brain."

In other news, a study published online in journal Neurobiology of Aging found that the pathological forms of two proteins - amyloid beta and tau - in Alzheimer's disease, worked together the damage the survival of brain cells.

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