Current Studies


Corticostriatal plasticity in the transition to chronic pain

Previous studies performed in Apkarian's laboratory have shown that specific brain networks, known to be implicated in emotion and motivation, are altered during the development of chronic pain. Furthermore, by analyzing this specific circuitry, we showed that a certain proportion of patients suffering from subacute back pain (SBP) present a predisposition to establishing chronic pain. The principal aim of this study is first to detect which patients of those suffering from recent onset low back pain (less than 12 weeks) are in a recovery mode (SBPr) and which are in a persisting state (SBPp). After this initial screening, we will try to block the development of chronic pain in SBPp patients with drugs targeting the functionality of emotional/motivational components. This study is thus a 6 month, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled three-arm, parallel-group trial of a pharmacological treatment for subacute back pain (SBP). This study also holds enormous potential to provide acute pain patients with a true cure. If you or a relative/family/friend might be interested in participating in this study, we encourage you to contact us for more information or to register.

Tel.: 312-503-2886
E-Mail: painstudies@northwestern.edu