Studies in my laboratory have been employing multiple non-invasive brain imaging techniques to study the characteristics of patients with chronic pain. Some of these results are briefly outlined in this communication. Our studies regarding brain activity in chronic pain are summarized, emphasizing the unique role of the prefrontal cortex in chronic, especially neuropathic pain states. I also review our work examining brain chemistry abnormalities in chronic pain. Given these results, we have examined chronic pain patients in a cognitive task, designed to probe brain regions that we think are specifically abnormal in chronic pain, these results are also summarized. An overview of the mechanisms that may be pertinent to the observed results is included.
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