Sungkyunkwan University reveals brain scientific clues to individual differences in pain

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A research team led by Professor Choong-wan Woo of the Department of Global Biomedical Engineering identified brain activation patterns that differ from person to person when experiencing pain

▲ (From left) Sungkyunkwan University Researcher Lee Dong-hee, first author Radha Kohotova Researcher, Corresponding author Professor Woo Choong-wan, Researcher Lee Seong-woo (Photo=Sungkyunkwan University)

[에너지경제신문 송기우 에디터] Even with the same intensity of pain stimulus, each person’s pain intensity and brain response are all different. But so far, most pain brain research has focused on brain response patterns that are common to all people. Accordingly, Sungkyunkwan University (President Shin Dong-ryeol) Global Biomedical Engineering Department Professor Choong-wan Woo’s research team (first author Radha Kohotova, co-authors Lee Dong-hee, and Lee Seong-woo) conducted joint research with international researchers from the United States, Germany, the Netherlands, France, and Canada. , revealed that they have identified a unique pattern of pain activation that appears differently in each brain.

Professor Choongwan Woo’s research team analyzed brain activation patterns observed while giving heat pain stimulation to more than 400 subjects, and developed a personalized pain prediction model using a machine learning algorithm. Using this developed personalized pain model, we identified a brain region showing a similar pattern across multiple people and a brain region showing a unique activation pattern for each person, and it was repeatedly verified with more than 120 independent subjects.

Professor Woo Choong-wan said, “This study allowed us to identify additional brain regions important for pain that had not been missed and seen before,” said Professor Woo. In the future, we will make more efforts to develop individual human-centered neuroscience technology that can be used clinically by investigating the unique characteristics of each individual’s pain.”

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Radha Kohotova, first author of the study, said, “There are many more questions to be answered about how pain is processed and regulated in the human brain than we have already answered. We hope to further promote the study of individual characteristics.”

Research Center for Brain Science Imaging Research Center (IBS-R015-D1), Korea Institute of Science and Technology (2E30410-20-085), National Research Foundation’s Outstanding New Research (2019R1C1C1004512), Next-generation bio social support project ( 2021M3A9E4080780) and super convergence AI source technology development project (2021M3E5D2A01022515) were supported. It was published on May 30th in the world-renowned academic journal Nature Neuroscience (IF 24.88).

Research Schematic

▲ Brain regions important for predicting pain in individual subjects and their cluster analysis (Source = Sungkyunkwan University)

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