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Trauma, PTSD, and Comorbidity of Pain

The Brains of Veterans

A veteran’s self-reported level of trauma/pain is important but doesn’t always give clinicians an objective measurement. A new study published in Frontiers in Pain Research identified connection strength via functional magnetic resonance imaging of army veterans’ brain regions. By scanning 57 veterans’ brains and grouping them based on brain connection signatures, 3 unique brain subtypes were identified: low, medium, and high integrated connectivity patterns between networks.

Irina Strigo, first author of the article and a professor at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Health Care Center, stated, “Despite the fact that the majority of subjects within each subgroup had a co-morbid diagnosis of pain and trauma, their brain connections differed. In other words, despite demographic and diagnostic similarities, we found neurobiologically distinct groups with different mechanisms for managing pain and trauma. Neurobiological-based subgroups can provide insights into how these individuals will respond to brain stimulation and psychopharmacological treatments.” The study believes “specific connections or whole-brain patterns are important for determining vulnerability or resilience subtypes and may be used to classify future samples.”


Read the journal article.

Read the press release.