Dr Luke Henderson, Anatomy & Histology, School of Medical Sciences, University of Sydney.
Despite many advances, drug treatment regimes aimed at relieving chronic pain remain relatively ineffective, particularly those used to treat pain resulting from nervous system damage, i.e., neuropathic pain. This ineffectiveness may result from the relatively widespread and non-specific action of these medications combined with the possibility that neuropathic pain is maintained by a discrete central activity generator. We have evidence which points to the thalamus as the locus of a central generator contributing to the maintenance of neuropathic pain conditions. Using multiple MRI techniques we have shown that chronic pain is associated with altered thalamic chemical changes and connectivity changes that support the idea that chronic pain is associated with altered thalamocortical rhythm.