Deep brain stimulation for chronic pain investigated with magnetoencephalography

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Abstract

Deep brain stimulation has shown remarkable potential in alleviating otherwise treatment-resistant chronic pain, but little is currently known about the underlying neural mechanisms. Here for the first time, we used noninvasive neuroimaging by magnetoencephalography to map changes in neural activity induced by deep brain stimulation in a patient with severe phantom limb pain. When the stimulator was turned off, the patient reported significant increases in subjective pain. Corresponding significant changes in neural activity were found in a network including the mid-anterior orbitofrontal and subgenual cingulate cortices; these areas are known to be involved in pain relief. Hence, they could potentially serve as future surgical targets to relieve chronic pain.

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