Publications

2013
Loggia ML, Kim J, Gollub RL, Vangel MG, Kirsch I, Kong J, Wasan AD, Napadow V. Default mode network connectivity encodes clinical pain: an arterial spin labeling study. Pain 2013;154(1):24-33.Abstract
Neuroimaging studies have suggested the presence of alterations in the anatomo-functional properties of the brain of patients with chronic pain. However, investigation of the brain circuitry supporting the perception of clinical pain presents significant challenges, particularly when using traditional neuroimaging approaches. While potential neuroimaging markers for clinical pain have included resting brain connectivity, these cross-sectional studies have not examined sensitivity to within-subject exacerbation of pain. We used the dual regression probabilistic Independent Component Analysis approach to investigate resting-state connectivity on arterial spin labeling data. Brain connectivity was compared between patients with chronic low back pain (cLBP) and healthy controls, before and after the performance of maneuvers aimed at exacerbating clinical pain levels in the patients. Our analyses identified multiple resting state networks, including the default mode network (DMN). At baseline, patients demonstrated stronger DMN connectivity to the pregenual anterior cingulate cortex (pgACC), left inferior parietal lobule, and right insula (rINS). Patients' baseline clinical pain correlated positively with connectivity strength between the DMN and right insula (DMN-rINS). The performance of calibrated physical maneuvers induced changes in pain, which were paralleled by changes in DMN-rINS connectivity. Maneuvers also disrupted the DMN-pgACC connectivity, which at baseline was anticorrelated with pain. Finally, baseline DMN connectivity predicted maneuver-induced changes in both pain and DMN-rINS connectivity. Our results support the use of arterial spin labeling to evaluate clinical pain, and the use of resting DMN connectivity as a potential neuroimaging biomarker for chronic pain perception.
loggia_pain_2013.pdf
Hadjikhani N, Ward N, Boshyan J, Napadow V, Maeda Y, Truini A, Caramia F, Tinelli E, Mainero C. The missing link: enhanced functional connectivity between amygdala and visceroceptive cortex in migraine. Cephalalgia 2013;33(15):1264-8.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Migraine is a neurovascular disorder in which altered functional connectivity between pain-modulating circuits and the limbic system may play a role. Cortical spreading depression (CSD), which underlies migraine aura (MWA), induces C-fos expression in the amygdala. The role of CSD and amygdala connectivity in migraine without aura (MwoA) is less clear and may differentiate migraine from other chronic pain disorders. METHODS: Using resting-state functional MRI, we compared functional connectivity between the amygdala and the cortex in MWA and MWoA patients as well as in healthy subjects and in two other chronic pain conditions not associated with CSD: trigeminal neuralgia (TGN) and carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). RESULTS: Amygdala connectivity in both MWA and MWoA was increased to the visceroceptive insula relative to all other groups examined. CONCLUSION: The observed increased connectivity within the limbic/viscerosensory network, present only in migraineurs, adds to the evidence of a neurolimbic pain network dysfunction and may reflect repetitive episodes of CSD leading to the development of migraine pain.
hadjikhani_cephalagia_2013.pdf
Bai L, Harris RE, Kong J, Lao L, Napadow V, Zhao B. Neurobiological mechanisms of acupuncture. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2013;2013:652457. bai_ebcam_2014.pdf
Harris RE, Napadow V, Huggins JP, Pauer L, Kim J, Hampson J, Sundgren PC, Foerster B, Petrou M, Schmidt-Wilcke T, Clauw DJ. Pregabalin rectifies aberrant brain chemistry, connectivity, and functional response in chronic pain patients. Anesthesiology 2013;119(6):1453-64.Abstract

BACKGROUND: Chronic pain remains a significant challenge for modern health care as its pathologic mechanisms are largely unknown and preclinical animal models suffer from limitations in assessing this complex subjective experience. However, human brain neuroimaging techniques enable the assessment of functional and neurochemical alterations in patients experiencing chronic pain and how these factors may dynamically change with pharmacologic treatment. METHODS: To identify the clinical action of pregabalin, a proven analgesic, the authors performed three complementary brain neuroimaging procedures: (proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy, functional magnetic resonance imaging, and functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging) in 17 chronic pain patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia. RESULTS: The authors found that pregabalin but not placebo reduces combined glutamate + glutamine levels within the posterior insula (pregabalin P = 0.016; placebo P = 0.71). Interestingly, reductions in clinical pain were associated with reductions in brain connectivity of this structure to brain regions within the default mode network during pregabalin (r = 0.82; P = 0.001) but not placebo (r = -0.13; P = 0.63). Response of default mode network regions to experimental pain was also reduced with pregabalin (P = 0.018) but not placebo (P = 0.182). Perhaps most importantly, baseline values for all three neuroimaging markers predicted subsequent analgesic response to pregabalin but not placebo. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study suggest that pregabalin works in part by reducing insular glutamatergic activity, leading to a reduction of the increased functional connectivity seen between brain regions in chronic pain states. The study also supports a role for human brain imaging in the development, assessment, and personalized use of central-acting analgesics.

harris_anesthesiology_2013.pdf
Harte SE, Clauw DJ, Napadow V, Harris RE. Pressure Pain Sensitivity and Insular Combined Glutamate and Glutamine (Glx) Are Associated with Subsequent Clinical Response to Sham But Not Traditional Acupuncture in Patients Who Have Chronic Pain. Med Acupunct 2013;25(2):154-160.Abstract

BACKGROUND: Clinical trials of acupuncture in chronic pain have largely failed to demonstrate efficacy of traditional over sham acupuncture. However, it should be noted that sham acupuncture is not inert. OBJECTIVE: To determine if experimental-pressure pain assessment and chemical neuroimaging can identify differential responsiveness to sham as opposed to traditional acupuncture. PATIENTS AND INTERVENTION: Fifty patients with fibromyalgia were randomized to either 9 traditional (TA) or sham (SA) acupuncture treatments over a period of 4 weeks. Both participants and assessors were blinded. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The main outcome measures were pressure-pain sensitivity at the thumbnail, insular glutamate+glutamine (Glx), and clinical pain. RESULTS: PATIENTS WITH LOW PAIN SENSITIVITY (LPS), BUT NOT WITH HIGH PAIN SENSITIVITY (HPS), HAD A SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCED CLINICAL PAIN RESPONSE TO SA (CHANGE IN MEAN [STANDARD DEVIATION (SD)]: HPS -8.65 [7.91]; LPS -2.14 [6.68]; p=0.03). This relationship was not the case for TA (HPS -6.90 [4.51]; LPS -6.41 [9.25]; p=0.88). SA-treated patients who were more sensitive also had greater baseline levels of insular Glx than patients who were less sensitive (Glx mean [SD]: HPS 11.3 [1.18]; LPS 10.2 [0.54]; p=0.04). CONCLUSIONS: Pressure-pain testing may identify patients who are less likely to respond to SA. This effect may relate to the levels of brain excitatory neurotransmitters.

harte_medacu_2013.pdf
Kong J, Spaeth RB, Wey H-Y, Cheetham A, Cook AH, Jensen K, Tan Y, Liu H, Wang D, Loggia ML, Napadow V, Smoller JW, Wasan AD, Gollub RL. S1 is associated with chronic low back pain: a functional and structural MRI study. Mol Pain 2013;9:43.Abstract
A fundamental characteristic of neural circuits is the capacity for plasticity in response to experience. Neural plasticity is associated with the development of chronic pain disorders. In this study, we investigated 1) brain resting state functional connectivity (FC) differences between patients with chronic low back pain (cLBP) and matched healthy controls (HC); 2) FC differences within the cLBP patients as they experienced different levels of endogenous low back pain evoked by exercise maneuvers, and 3) morphometric differences between cLBP patients and matched HC. We found the dynamic character of FC in the primary somatosensory cortex (S1) in cLBP patients, i.e., S1 FC decreased when the patients experienced low intensity LBP as compared with matched healthy controls, and FC at S1 increased when cLBP patients experienced high intensity LBP as compared with the low intensity condition. In addition, we also found increased cortical thickness in the bilateral S1 somatotopically associated with the lower back in cLBP patients as compared to healthy controls. Our results provide evidence of structural plasticity co-localized with areas exhibiting FC changes in S1 in cLBP patients.
kong_molpain_2013.pdf
Kim J, Loggia ML, Edwards RR, Wasan AD, Gollub RL, Napadow V. Sustained deep-tissue pain alters functional brain connectivity. Pain 2013;154(8):1343-51.Abstract
Recent functional brain connectivity studies have contributed to our understanding of the neurocircuitry supporting pain perception. However, evoked-pain connectivity studies have employed cutaneous and/or brief stimuli, which induce sensations that differ appreciably from the clinical pain experience. Sustained myofascial pain evoked by pressure cuff affords an excellent opportunity to evaluate functional connectivity change to more clinically relevant sustained deep-tissue pain. Connectivity in specific networks known to be modulated by evoked pain (sensorimotor, salience, dorsal attention, frontoparietal control, and default mode networks: SMN, SLN, DAN, FCN, and DMN) was evaluated with functional-connectivity magnetic resonance imaging, both at rest and during a sustained (6-minute) pain state in healthy adults. We found that pain was stable, with no significant changes of subjects' pain ratings over the stimulation period. Sustained pain reduced connectivity between the SMN and the contralateral leg primary sensorimotor (S1/M1) representation. Such SMN-S1/M1 connectivity decreases were also accompanied by and correlated with increased SLN-S1/M1 connectivity, suggesting recruitment of activated S1/M1 from SMN to SLN. Sustained pain also increased DAN connectivity to pain processing regions such as mid-cingulate cortex, posterior insula, and putamen. Moreover, greater connectivity during pain between contralateral S1/M1 and posterior insula, thalamus, putamen, and amygdala was associated with lower cuff pressures needed to reach the targeted pain sensation. These results demonstrate that sustained pain disrupts resting S1/M1 connectivity by shifting it to a network known to process stimulus salience. Furthermore, increased connectivity between S1/M1 and both sensory and affective processing areas may be an important contribution to interindividual differences in pain sensitivity.
kim_pain_2013.pdf
2012
Pfab F, Kirchner M-T, Huss-Marp J, Schuster T, Schalock PC, Fuqin J, Athanasiadis GI, Behrendt H, Ring J, Darsow U, Napadow V. Acupuncture compared with oral antihistamine for type I hypersensitivity itch and skin response in adults with atopic dermatitis: a patient- and examiner-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover trial. Allergy 2012;67(4):566-73.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Itch is the major symptom of atopic dermatitis (AD). Acupuncture has been shown to exhibit a significant effect on experimental itch in AD. Our study evaluated acupuncture and antihistamine itch therapy (cetirizine) on type I hypersensitivity itch and skin reaction in AD using a patient and examiner-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover trial. METHODS: Allergen-induced itch was evaluated in 20 patients with AD after several interventions in separate sessions: preventive (preceding) and abortive (concurrent) verum acupuncture (VAp and VAa), cetirizine (10 mg, VC), corresponding placebo interventions (preventive, PAp, and abortive, PAa, placebo acupuncture; placebo cetirizine pill, PC) and a no-intervention control (NI). Itch was induced on the forearm and temperature modulated over 20 min, using our validated model. Outcome parameters included itch intensity, wheal and flare size and the D2 attention test. RESULTS: Mean itch intensity (SE: 0.31 each) was significantly lower following VAa (31.9) compared with all other groups (PAa: 36.5; VC: 36.8; VAp: 37.6; PC: 39.8; PAp: 39.9; NI: 45.7; P < 0.05). There was no significant difference between VAp and VC (P > 0.1), although both therapies were significantly superior to their respective placebo interventions (P < 0.05). Flare size following VAp was significantly smaller (P = 0.034) than that following PAp. D2 attention test score was significantly lower following VC compared with all other groups (P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Both VA and cetirizine significantly reduced type I hypersensitivity itch in patients with AD, compared with both placebo and NI. Timing of acupuncture application was important, as VAa had the most significant effect on itch, potentially because of counter-irritation and/or distraction. Itch reduction following cetirizine coincided with reduced attention.
pfab_allergy_2012.pdf
Pfab F, Nowak-Machen M, Napadow V, Fleckenstein J. Alternatives to prokinetics to move the pylorus and colon. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 2012;15(2):166-73.Abstract

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Gastrointestinal motility disorders (GMDs) are common in the ICU. When encountering these problems, one typically thinks of prokinetics. This review summarizes current evidence of treatments. RECENT FINDINGS: Prokinetics are not the first-line therapy for GMDs. In fact, the clinical implications of using prokinetic agents are rather controversial. Current evidence on alternative treatment modalities such as fluid and electrolyte management, laxatives, opioid antagonists, purgative enemas, acupuncture, physical therapies and probiotics is growing. SUMMARY: Current state of the art to treat GMDs is primarily focused at the elimination of underlying trigger factors. Fluid and electrolyte management as well as laxatives and peripherally acting μ-opioid receptor antagonists are the recommended first-line therapies that can be complemented with prokinetics. Acupuncture as well as physical modalities, such as massage or warming of the abdomen, is promising with few side-effects and should be considered as well.

pfab_curropinclinnutr_2012.pdf
As-Sanie S, Harris RE, Napadow V, Kim J, Neshewat G, Kairys A, Williams D, Clauw DJ, Schmidt-Wilcke T. Changes in regional gray matter volume in women with chronic pelvic pain: a voxel-based morphometry study. Pain 2012;153(5):1006-14.Abstract

Chronic pelvic pain (CPP) is a highly prevalent pain condition, estimated to affect 15%-20% of women in the United States. Endometriosis is often associated with CPP, however, other factors, such as preexisting or concomitant changes of the central pain system, might contribute to the development of chronic pain. We applied voxel-based morphometry to determine whether women with CPP with and without endometriosis display changes in brain morphology in regions known to be involved in pain processing. Four subgroups of women participated: 17 with endometriosis and CPP, 15 with endometriosis without CPP, 6 with CPP without endometriosis, and 23 healthy controls. All patients with endometriosis and/or CPP were surgically confirmed. Relative to controls, women with endometriosis-associated CPP displayed decreased gray matter volume in brain regions involved in pain perception, including the left thalamus, left cingulate gyrus, right putamen, and right insula. Women with CPP without endometriosis also showed decreases in gray matter volume in the left thalamus. Such decreases were not observed in patients with endometriosis who had no CPP. We conclude that CPP is associated with changes in regional gray matter volume within the central pain system. Although endometriosis may be an important risk factor for the development of CPP, acting as a cyclic source of peripheral nociceptive input, our data support the notion that changes in the central pain system also play an important role in the development of chronic pain, regardless of the presence of endometriosis.

as-sanie_pain_2012.pdf
Huang W, Pach D, Napadow V, Park K, Long X, Neumann J, Maeda Y, Nierhaus T, Liang F, Witt CM. Characterizing acupuncture stimuli using brain imaging with FMRI--a systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature. PLoS One 2012;7(4):e32960.Abstract

BACKGROUND: The mechanisms of action underlying acupuncture, including acupuncture point specificity, are not well understood. In the previous decade, an increasing number of studies have applied fMRI to investigate brain response to acupuncture stimulation. Our aim was to provide a systematic overview of acupuncture fMRI research considering the following aspects: 1) differences between verum and sham acupuncture, 2) differences due to various methods of acupuncture manipulation, 3) differences between patients and healthy volunteers, 4) differences between different acupuncture points. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We systematically searched English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese databases for literature published from the earliest available up until September 2009, without any language restrictions. We included all studies using fMRI to investigate the effect of acupuncture on the human brain (at least one group that received needle-based acupuncture). 779 papers were identified, 149 met the inclusion criteria for the descriptive analysis, and 34 were eligible for the meta-analyses. From a descriptive perspective, multiple studies reported that acupuncture modulates activity within specific brain areas, including somatosensory cortices, limbic system, basal ganglia, brain stem, and cerebellum. Meta-analyses for verum acupuncture stimuli confirmed brain activity within many of the regions mentioned above. Differences between verum and sham acupuncture were noted in brain response in middle cingulate, while some heterogeneity was noted for other regions depending on how such meta-analyses were performed, such as sensorimotor cortices, limbic regions, and cerebellum. CONCLUSIONS: Brain response to acupuncture stimuli encompasses a broad network of regions consistent with not just somatosensory, but also affective and cognitive processing. While the results were heterogeneous, from a descriptive perspective most studies suggest that acupuncture can modulate the activity within specific brain areas, and the evidence based on meta-analyses confirmed some of these results. More high quality studies with more transparent methodology are needed to improve the consistency amongst different studies.

huang_plosone_2012.pdf
Napadow V, Kim J, Clauw DJ, Harris RE. Decreased intrinsic brain connectivity is associated with reduced clinical pain in fibromyalgia. Arthritis Rheum 2012;64(7):2398-403.Abstract
OBJECTIVE: A major impediment to the development of novel treatment strategies for fibromyalgia (FM) is the lack of an objective marker that reflects spontaneously reported clinical pain in patients with FM. Studies of resting-state intrinsic brain connectivity in FM have demonstrated increased insular connectivity to the default mode network (DMN), a network whose activity is increased during nontask states. Moreover, increased insular connectivity to the DMN was associated with increased spontaneous pain levels. However, as these analyses were cross-sectional in nature, they provided no insight into dynamic changes in connectivity or their relationship to variations in self-reported clinical pain. The purpose of this study was to evaluate longitudinal changes in the intrinsic brain connectivity of FM patients treated with nonpharmacologic interventions known to modulate pain levels in this patient population, and to test the hypothesis that the reduction of DMN-insula connectivity following therapy would correlate with diminished pain. METHODS: Seventeen FM patients underwent resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging at baseline and following 4 weeks of a nonpharmacologic intervention to diminish pain. Intrinsic DMN connectivity was evaluated using probabilistic independent components analysis. Longitudinal changes in intrinsic DMN connectivity were evaluated by paired analysis, and correlations between longitudinal changes in clinical pain and changes in intrinsic DMN connectivity were investigated by multiple linear regression analysis. Changes in clinical pain were assessed with the short form of the McGill Pain Questionnaire (SF-MPQ). RESULTS: Clinical pain as assessed using the sensory scale of the SF-MPQ was reduced following therapy (P=0.02). Intrinsic DMN connectivity to the insula was reduced, and this reduction correlated with reductions in pain (corrected P<0.05). CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that intrinsic brain connectivity can be used as a candidate objective marker that reflects changes in spontaneous chronic pain within individual FM patients. We propose that intrinsic connectivity measures could potentially be used in either research or clinical settings as a complementary, more objective outcome measure for use in FM.
napadow_ar_2012.pdf
Loggia ML, Edwards RR, Kim J, Vangel MG, Wasan AD, Gollub RL, Harris RE, Park K, Napadow V. Disentangling linear and nonlinear brain responses to evoked deep tissue pain. Pain 2012;153(10):2140-51.Abstract
Pain stimuli evoke widespread responses in the brain. However, our understanding of the physiological significance underlying heterogeneous response within different pain-activated and -deactivated regions is still limited. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we evaluated brain responses to a wide range of stimulus intensity levels (1 innocuous, 7 painful) in order to estimate region-specific stimulus-response functions, which we hypothesized could illuminate that region's functional relationship to pain. Linear and nonlinear brain responses to pain were estimated through independent Legendre polynomial transformations of pain ratings within a general linear model. This approach identified at least 5 different, regionally specific activity profiles in the brain. Linearly increasing (eg, primary somatosensory/motor cortex, insulae) and intensity-independent (eg, secondary somatosensory cortex) activation was noted in traditional pain-processing areas, potentially reflecting sensory encoding and all-or-none salience responses, respectively. Multiple activity profiles were seen in areas of the default mode network (DMN): intensity-independent deactivation (eg, posterior cingulate cortex), linearly decreasing (eg, contralateral inferior parietal lobule), and quadratic (U-shaped; eg, medial prefrontal cortex). The latter observation suggests that: (1) different DMN subregions exhibit functional heterogeneity and (2) some DMN subregions respond in a percept-related manner to pain, suggesting closer linkage between the DMN and pain processing than previously thought. Future studies should apply a similar approach using innocuous stimuli of multiple intensities to evaluate whether the response profiles reported here can also be generalized to nonpainful somatosensory processing.
loggia_pain_2012.pdf
Napadow V, Edwards RR, Cahalan CM, Mensing G, Greenbaum S, Valovska A, Li A, Kim J, Maeda Y, Park K, Wasan AD. Evoked pain analgesia in chronic pelvic pain patients using respiratory-gated auricular vagal afferent nerve stimulation. Pain Med 2012;13(6):777-89.Abstract
OBJECTIVE: Previous vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) studies have demonstrated antinociceptive effects, and recent noninvasive approaches, termed transcutaneous-vagus nerve stimulation (t-VNS), have utilized stimulation of the auricular branch of the vagus nerve in the ear. The dorsal medullary vagal system operates in tune with respiration, and we propose that supplying vagal afferent stimulation gated to the exhalation phase of respiration can optimize t-VNS. DESIGN: Counterbalanced, crossover study. PATIENTS: Patients with chronic pelvic pain (CPP) due to endometriosis in a specialty pain clinic. INTERVENTIONS/OUTCOMES: We evaluated evoked pain analgesia for respiratory-gated auricular vagal afferent nerve stimulation (RAVANS) compared with nonvagal auricular stimulation (NVAS). RAVANS and NVAS were evaluated in separate sessions spaced at least 1 week apart. Outcome measures included deep-tissue pain intensity, temporal summation of pain, and anxiety ratings, which were assessed at baseline, during active stimulation, immediately following stimulation, and 15 minutes after stimulus cessation. RESULTS: RAVANS demonstrated a trend for reduced evoked pain intensity and temporal summation of mechanical pain, and significantly reduced anxiety in N = 15 CPP patients, compared with NVAS, with moderate to large effect sizes (η(2) > 0.2). CONCLUSION: Chronic pain disorders such as CPP are in great need of effective, nonpharmacological options for treatment. RAVANS produced promising antinociceptive effects for quantitative sensory testing (QST) outcomes reflective of the noted hyperalgesia and central sensitization in this patient population. Future studies should evaluate longer-term application of RAVANS to examine its effects on both QST outcomes and clinical pain.
napadow_painmed_2012.pdf
Pfab F, Valet M, Napadow V, Tölle T-R, Behrendt H, Ring J, Darsow U. Itch and the brain. Chem Immunol Allergy 2012;98:253-65.Abstract

The sensation of itch - defined as unpleasant sensation inducing the urge to scratch - is processed by a network of different brain regions contributing to the encoding of sensory, emotional, attention-dependent, cognitive-evaluative and motivational patterns. Patients with atopic eczema show different activation patterns and kinetics compared to healthy volunteers. This review summarizes current studies investigating itch in the brain.

pfab_chemimmunall_2012.pdf
Loggia ML, Napadow V. Multi-parameter autonomic-based pain assessment: more is more?. Pain 2012;153(9):1779-80. loggia_pain_2012.pdf
Dhond RP, Ruzich E, Witzel T, Maeda Y, Malatesta C, Morse LR, Audette J, Hämäläinen M, Kettner N, Napadow V. Spatio-temporal mapping cortical neuroplasticity in carpal tunnel syndrome. Brain 2012;135(Pt 10):3062-73.Abstract
Neuroimaging data demonstrate that carpal tunnel syndrome, a peripheral neuropathy, is accompanied by maladaptive central neuroplasticity. To further investigate this phenomenon, we collected magnetoencephalography data from 12 patients with carpal tunnel syndrome and 12 healthy control subjects undergoing somatosensory stimulation of the median nerve-innervated Digits 2 and 3, as well as Digit 5, which is innervated by the ulnar nerve. Nerve conduction velocity and psychophysical data were acquired to determine whether standard clinical measures correlated with brain response. In subjects with carpal tunnel syndrome, but not healthy controls, sensory nerve conduction velocity for Digits 2 and 3 was slower than Digit 5. However, somatosensory M20 latencies for Digits 2 and 3 were significantly longer than those of Digit 5. The extent of the M20 delay for median nerve-innervated Digit 2 was positively correlated with decreasing nerve conduction velocity and increasing pain severity. Thus, slower peripheral nerve conduction in carpal tunnel syndrome corresponds to greater delays in the first somatosensory cortical response. Furthermore, spectral analysis demonstrated weaker post-stimulus beta event-related desynchronization and earlier and shorter event-related synchronization in subjects with carpal tunnel syndrome. The extent of the decreased event-related desynchronization for median nerve-innervated digits was positively correlated with paraesthesia severity. We propose that ongoing paraesthesias in median nerve-innervated digits render their corresponding sensorimotor cortical areas 'busy', thus reducing their capacity to process external stimulation. Finally, subjects with carpal tunnel syndrome demonstrated a smaller cortical source separation for Digits 2 and 3 compared with healthy controls. This supports our hypothesis that ongoing paraesthesias promote blurring of median nerve-innervated digit representations through Hebbian plasticity mechanisms. In summary, this study reveals significant correlation between the clinical severity of carpal tunnel syndrome and the latency of the early M20, as well as the strength of long latency beta oscillations. These temporal magnetoencephalography measures are novel markers of neuroplasticity in carpal tunnel syndrome and could be used to study central changes that may occur following clinical intervention.
dhond_brain_2012.pdf
2011
Kim J, Napadow V, Kuo B, Barbieri R. A combined HRV-fMRI approach to assess cortical control of cardiovagal modulation by motion sickness. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc 2011;2011:2825-8.Abstract
Nausea is a commonly occurring symptom typified by epigastric discomfort with the urge to vomit. To date, the brain circuitry underlying the autonomic nervous system response to nausea has not been fully understood. Functional MRI (fMRI), together with a point process adaptive recursive algorithm for computation of the high-frequency (HF) index of heart rate variability (HRV) was combined to evaluate the brain circuitry underlying autonomic nervous system response to nausea. Alone, the point process analysis revealed increasing sympathetic and decreasing parasympathetic response during nausea with significant increased heart rate (HR) and decreased HF. The combined HRV-fMRI analysis demonstrated that the fMRI signal in the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) and pregenual anterior cingulate cortex (pgACC), regions of higher cortical functions and emotion showed a negative correlation at the baseline and a positive correlation during nausea. Overall, our findings confirm a sympathovagal shift (toward sympathetic) during nausea, which was related to brain activity in regions associated with emotion and higher cognitive function.
Pfab F, Winhard M, Nowak-Machen M, Napadow V, Irnich D, Pawlik M, Bein T, Hansen E. Acupuncture in critically ill patients improves delayed gastric emptying: a randomized controlled trial. Anesth Analg 2011;112(1):150-5.Abstract

BACKGROUND: Malnutrition remains a severe problem in the recovery of critically ill patients and leads to increased in-hospital morbidity and in-hospital stay. Even though early enteral nutrition has been shown to improve overall patient outcomes in the intensive care unit (ICU), tubefeed administration is often complicated by delayed gastric emptying and gastroesophageal reflux. Acupuncture has been successfully used in the treatment and prevention of perioperative nausea and vomiting. In this study we evaluated whether acupuncture can improve gastric emptying in comparison with standard promotility drugs in critically ill patients receiving enteral feeding. METHODS: Thirty mechanically ventilated neurosurgical ICU patients with delayed gastric emptying, defined as a gastric residual volume (GRV) >500 mL for ≥ 2 days, were prospectively and randomly assigned to either the acupoint stimulation group (ASG; bilateral transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation at Neiguan, PC-6) or the conventional promotility drug treatment group (DTG) over a period of 6 days (metoclopramide, cisapride, erythromycin). Patients in the ASG group did not receive any conventional promotility drugs. Successful treatment (feeding tolerance) was defined as GRV <200 mL per 24 hours. RESULTS: Demographic and hemodynamic data were similar in both groups. After 5 days of treatment, 80% of patients in the ASG group successfully developed feeding tolerance versus 60% in the DTG group. On treatment day 1, GRV decreased from 970 ± 87 mL to 346 ± 71 mL with acupoint stimulation (P = 0.003), whereas patients in the DTG group showed a significant increase in GRV from 903 ± 60 mL to 1040 ± 211 mL (P = 0.015). In addition, GRV decreased and feeding balance (defined as enteral feeding volume minus GRV) increased in more patients in the ASG group (14 of 15) than in the DTG group (7 of 15; P = 0.014). On treatment day 1, the mean feeding balance was significantly higher in the ASG group (121 ± 128 mL) than in the DTG group (-727 ± 259 mL) (P = 0.005). Overall, the feeding balance improved significantly on all days of treatment in comparison with the DTG group. Patients in the DTG group did not show an increase in feeding balance until day 6. CONCLUSIONS: We introduce a new protocol for acupuncture administration in the critical care setting. We demonstrated that this protocol was more effective than standard promotility medication in the treatment of delayed gastric emptying in critically ill patients. Acupoint stimulation at Neiguan (PC-6) may be a convenient and inexpensive option (with few side effects) for the prevention and treatment of malnutrition in critically ill patients.

pfab_anan_2011.pdf
Witzel T, Napadow V, Kettner NW, Vangel MG, Hämäläinen MS, Dhond RP. Differences in cortical response to acupressure and electroacupuncture stimuli. BMC Neurosci 2011;12:73.Abstract
BACKGROUND: FMRI studies focus on sub-cortical effects of acupuncture stimuli. The purpose of this study was to assess changes in primary somatosensory (S1) activity over the course of different types of acupuncture stimulation. We used whole head magnetoencephalography (MEG) to map S1 brain response during 15 minutes of electroacupuncture (EA) and acupressure (AP). We further assessed how brain response changed during the course of stimulation. RESULTS: Evoked brain response to EA differed from AP in its temporal dynamics by showing clear contralateral M20/M30 peaks while the latter demonstrated temporal dispersion. Both EA and AP demonstrated significantly decreased response amplitudes following five minutes of stimulation. However, the latency of these decreases were earlier in EA (~30 ms post-stimulus) than AP (> 100 ms). Time-frequency responses demonstrated early onset, event related synchronization (ERS), within the gamma band at ~70-130 ms and the theta band at ~50-200 ms post-stimulus. A prolonged event related desynchronization (ERD) of alpha and beta power occurred at ~100-300 ms post-stimulus. There was decreased beta ERD at ~100-300 ms over the course of EA, but not AP. CONCLUSION: Both EA and AP demonstrated conditioning of SI response. In conjunction with their subcortical effects on endogenous pain regulation, these therapies show potential for affecting S1 processing and possibly altering maladaptive neuroplasticity. Thus, further investigation in neuropathic populations is needed.
witzel_bmcneuroscience_2011.pdf

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