OpenPain Data Sharing Initiative

We are spearheading the joint NIH, NIDA and NINDS flagship initiative in pain research for brain imaging data sharing. We have already deployed a preliminary web based sharing platform, begun making some of our own datasets available, and reached out to like minded investigators about incorporating additional data sets. Aside from deidentification, all data in unmodified form, all relevant behavioral vectors and human subject information, and scanner information will be available along with a link to published studies. Access will be open for non-profit use, and studies will be available to for-profit entities for a nominal fee which will contribute to upkeep and help groups to allay costs for organizing and uploading their data.

We believe publicly funded brain imaging studies, which are already analyzed and published, should be available and openly accessible. By reducing barriers to entry and risk exposure for new investigators, open access provides an environment that facilitates education and entry of new investigators into the field, encourages innovative thinking, geographically unrestricted collaboration, and the spontaneous emergence of communities self-organized around common goals. Moreover, by providing investigators with the ability to collect and combine datasets from multiple different sites across multiple studies we will create possibilities for new investigations with greater statistical power than anything currently available in pain research. We are thus excited to announce the initiation of OpenPain, and will continue to post progress updates as this initiative matures.


October 24, 2016 - Longitudinal subacute back pain dataset published to OpenPain. T1, DTI, BOLD, genetics and questionaire data across 1-2 years are now available in 122 subjects (70 subacute, 26 healthy, 26 chronic).

October 22, 2014 - Four new papers published by the Apkarian research group in the last two months have all had free versions (open access or pre-peer-review submitted verions) posted to our publications page. These papers address brain network structures in chronic pain, limbic brain network structure in animal models of chronic pain, and addiction and reward in chronic back pain.

March 10, 2014 - "Role of nucleus accumbens in neuropathic pain: linked multi-scale evidence in the rat transitioning to neurpathic pain" published in Pain. Abstract available online.

March 9, 2014 - US Patent awarded for use of D-cycloserine in management of chronic pain. US patent number 8653120: "Method for treatment of chronic neuropathic pain."

February 6, 2014 - The pain research forum covers the Open Pain Project in "The Collective Good: Pooling Data to Boost Brain Imaging Research"", and our first data set is made publically available for download through

December 7th, 2013 - Reorganization of Hippocampal Functional Connectivity with Transition to Chronic Back Pain published in Journal of Neurophysiology.

October 13, 2013 - First parcellation of accumbens core and shell in humans published in Journal of Neuroscience. Parceling Human Accumbens into Putative Core and Shell Dissociates Encoding of Values for Reward and Pain.. ROIs are available for download as nifti files in supplemental materials section of site for academic use. Please cite Baliki, Mansour, et al. 2013 in any work using these ROIs.

September 23, 2013 - "Brain white matter structural properties predict transition to chronic pain" published in Pain on September 18th. Media coverage by sources such as The LA Times, PBS and Fox News commences with NINDS press release.

August 13, 2013 - NIH Director's Blog features our research in a post addressing pain chronification.

May 15, 2013 - OpenPain flagship initiative publically announced

May 15, 2013 - Invitation for genetic collaboration in subacute pain and the transition to chronicity

February 8, 2013 - New paper published in neuroimage by Alex Baria, Ali Mansour et al. "Linking human brain local activity fluctations to structural and functional network architectures." Abstract at pubmed.

October 25, 2012 - "Reproducibility of Structural, Resting-State BOLD and DTI Data between Identical Scanners" published in PLoS One (Free PMC copy) and "Predictive dynamics of human pain perception" published in PLoS Computational Biology (Free PMC copy).

September 15, 2012 - "Brain networks predicting placebo analgesia in a clinical trial for chronic back pain" published in Pain. View abstract in Pain or read a summary from the american pain society

July 1 2012 - First longitudinal investigation of the brain of subacute back pain patients published in Nature Neuroscience. "Corticostriatal functional connectivity predicts transition to chronic back pain." Available from Nature Publishing Group

May 8, 2012 - A review article "A dynamic network perspective of chronic pain" published in Neuroscience Letters. Available through ScienceDirect

April 25, 2012 - New study of neuropathic pain in rats published in Journal of Neuroscience as "Abnormalities in hippocampal functioning with persistent pain". Free PMC copy

April 24, 2012 - Molecular Pain published our new paper showing "Lidocaine patch (5%) is no more potent than placebo in treating chronic back pain when tested in a randomised double blind placebo controlled brain imaging study". Free PMC copy

November 1, 2011 - New review of clinical implications of chronic pain brain research published in Pain Management. Free PMC copy

October 26, 2011 - "Chronic neuropathic pain-like behavior correlates with IL-1ß expression and disrupts cytokine interactions in the hippocampus" published in Pain. Free PMC copy

September 28, 2011 - Investigation of brain activity of chronic back pain patients in Fourier space published as "Cortical rhythms of chronic back pain" in Journal of Neuroscience. Free PMC copy

May 25, 2011 - Investigation of BOLD signal in Fourier space published in Journal of Neuroscience as "Anatomical and functional assemblies of brain BOLD oscillations." Free PMC copy

May 14, 2011 - "Brain functional and anatomical changes in chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome" published for inclusion in July issue of Journal of Urology. Figure from paper selected to be featured on front cover of the journal. View article abstract

April 15, 2011 - First data from subacute back pain study published in Journal of Pain as "Pain characteristic differences between subacute and chronic back pain." Free PMC copy

February 10, 2011 - "Brain activity for chronic knee osteoarthritis: dissociating evoked pain from spontaneous pain" published in European Journal of Pain. Free PMC copy

December 13, 2010 - Review of chronic pain published in Pain as "Pain and the brain: specificity and plasticity of the brain in clinical chronic pain". Free PMC copy

October 13, 2010 - Brain gray matter profile in chronic back pain, OA, CRPS and health published in PLoS as "Brain morphological signatures for chronic pain". Free PMC copy

April 15, 2010 - "Predicting value of pain and analgesia: Nucleus accumbens response to noxious stimuli changes in the presence of chronic pain" published in Neuron. Free PMC copy with video abstract available Free on YouTube

July 3, 2009 - "Prefrontal cortex and spinal cord mediated anti-neuropathy and analgesia induced by sarcosine, a glycine-T1 transporter inhibitor" published in Pain. Free PMC copy

February 17, 2009 - "Morphological and functional reorganization of rat medial prefrontal cortex in neuropathic pain" published in the Proceeds of the National Acadamy of Sciences. Free PMC copy

January 28th, 2009 - A new article has been recently published in Science regarding pain, brain imaging and the law. This discussion can be found here.

December, 2008 - We have two recently published papers, one in the the November 26th (2008) issue of Neuron on gray and white matter interactions in the Brain of patients with Chronic CRPS and another published on December 10th in the Journal of Neurophysiology on pain perception and magnitude estimation.