Frequency shifts in the anterior default mode network and the salience network in chronic pain disorder

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Background: Recent functional imaging studies on chronic pain of various organic etiologies have shown significant alterations in both the spatial and the temporal dimensions of the functional connectivity of the human brain in its resting state. However, it remains unclear whether similar changes in intrinsic connectivity networks (ICNs) also occur in patients with chronic pain disorder, defined as persistent, medically unexplained pain. Methods: We compared 21 patients who suffered from chronic pain disorder with 19 age- and gender-matched controls using 3T-fMRI. All neuroimaging data were analyzed using both independent component analysis (ICA) and power spectra analysis. Results: In patients suffering from chronic pain disorder, the fronto-insular 'salience' network (FIN) and the anterior default mode network (aDMN) predominantly oscillated at higher frequencies (0.20 - 0.24 Hz), whereas no significant differences were observed in the posterior DMN (pDMN) and the sensorimotor network (SMN). Conclusions: Our results indicate that chronic pain disorder may be a self-sustaining and endogenous mental process that affects temporal organization in terms of a frequency shift in the rhythmical dynamics of cortical networks associated with emotional homeostasis and introspection. © 2013 Otti et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.




Otti, A., Guendel, H., Wohlschläger, A., Zimmer, C., & Noll-Hussong, M. (2013). Frequency shifts in the anterior default mode network and the salience network in chronic pain disorder. BMC Psychiatry, 13.

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