Psychological Mediators in Individual Experiences of Pain

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Justice Williams Hadas Nahman-Averbuch


By Justice Williams, Biomedical Engineering

Advisor: Hadas Nahman-Averbuch

Presentation ID: AM_B40

Abstract: An estimated 20% of the U.S. population (50 million) suffers from chronic pain, and these patients are four times more likely to have depression or anxiety than patients without pain. Little is known about how psychological factors in the brain influence experiences of pain, and contradictory results on the subject make drawing conclusions difficult. However, a greater understanding of this topic would result in better development of individualized treatments for chronic pain. The purpose of this project is to summarize the results from previously published papers, focusing on the interrelationship between psychological factors such as depression, anxiety, and anxiety sensitivity and an individual's perception of noxious sensory experiences and their related factors, including pain threshold, tolerance, intensity, and unpleasantness. To better understand the role of the neural mechanisms of different psychological factors on how patients experience chronic pain, these topics must be further researched, with the severity of the psychological condition and the modality the pain is delivered being accounted for when determining the mediators of individual or sex differences in pain.

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AM Poster Session -- Great Hall -- B: Health & Body