Nevin Manimala Statistics

Resting-state brain activity as a biomarker of chronic pain impairment and a mediator of its association with pain resilience

Hum Brain Mapp. 2024 Jul 15;45(10):e26780. doi: 10.1002/hbm.26780.


Past cross-sectional chronic pain studies have revealed aberrant resting-state brain activity in regions involved in pain processing and affect regulation. However, there is a paucity of longitudinal research examining links of resting-state activity and pain resilience with changes in chronic pain outcomes over time. In this prospective study, we assessed the status of baseline (T1) resting-state brain activity as a biomarker of later impairment from chronic pain and a mediator of the relation between pain resilience and impairment at follow-up. One hundred forty-two adults with chronic musculoskeletal pain completed a T1 assessment comprising a resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging scan based on regional homogeneity (ReHo) and self-report measures of demographics, pain characteristics, psychological status, pain resilience, pain severity, and pain impairment. Subsequently, pain impairment was reassessed at a 6-month follow-up (T2). Hierarchical multiple regression and mediation analyses assessed relations of T1 ReHo and pain resilience scores with changes in pain impairment. Higher T1 ReHo values in the right caudate nucleus were associated with increased pain impairment at T2, after controlling for all other statistically significant self-report measures. ReHo also partially mediated associations of T1 pain resilience dimensions with T2 pain impairment. T1 right caudate nucleus ReHo emerged as a possible biomarker of later impairment from chronic musculoskeletal pain and a neural mechanism that may help to explain why pain resilience is related to lower levels of later chronic pain impairment. Findings provide empirical foundations for prospective extensions that assess the status of ReHo activity and self-reported pain resilience as markers for later impairment from chronic pain and targets for interventions to reduce impairment. PRACTITIONER POINTS: Resting-state markers of impairment: Higher baseline (T1) regional homogeneity (ReHo) values, localized in the right caudate nucleus, were associated with exacerbations in impairment from chronic musculoskeletal pain at a 6-month follow-up, independent of T1 demographics, pain experiences, and psychological factors. Mediating role of ReHo values: ReHo values in the right caudate nucleus also mediated the relationship between baseline pain resilience levels and later pain impairment among participants. Therapeutic implications: Findings provide empirical foundations for research extensions that evaluate (1) the use of resting-state activity in assessment to identify people at risk for later impairment from pain and (2) changes in resting-state activity as biomarkers for the efficacy of treatments designed to improve resilience and reduce impairment among those in need.

PMID:38984446 | DOI:10.1002/hbm.26780

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