Ultra-high field imaging reveals increased whole brain connectivity underpins cognitive strategies that attenuate pain
We investigated how the attenuation of pain with cognitive interventions affects brain connectivity using neuroimaging and a whole brain novel analysis approach. While receiving tonic cold pain, 20 healthy participants performed three different pain attenuation strategies during simultaneous collection of functional imaging data at 7 tesla. Participants were asked to rate their pain after each trial. We related the trial-by-trial variability of the attenuation performance to the trial-by-trial functional connectivity strength change of brain data. Across all conditions, we found that a higher performance of pain attenuation was predominantly associated with higher functional connectivity. Of note, we observed an association between low pain and high connectivity for regions that belong to brain regions long associated with pain processing, i.e. the insular and cingulate cortices. For one of the cognitive strategies (safe place), the performance of pain attenuation was explained by diffusion tensor imaging metrics of increased white matter integrity.
The dataset has been made available at Open Science Framework (https://osf.io/tbc2u/). The source data files to generate the figures are included in the submission (Source data 1 - 7).
Pain AttentuationOSF, doi:10.17605/OSF.IO/TBC2U.
Article and author information
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (2879/1-1)
- Enrico Schulz
- Irene Tracey
- Irene Tracey
Medical Research Council (G0700399)
- Irene Tracey
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Human subjects: Informed consent and consent to publish was obtained in accordance with ethical standards set out by the Declaration of Helsinki (1964) and with procedures approved by the Medical Sciences Interdivisional Research Ethics Committee of the University of Oxford (REC ref: MSD-IDREC- C1-2014-157).
- Rohini Kuner, Universität Heidelberg, Germany
- Received: January 9, 2020
- Accepted: August 28, 2020
- Accepted Manuscript published: September 2, 2020 (version 1)
- Version of Record published: September 17, 2020 (version 2)
This is an open-access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.
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