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Stanford University Researchers Report Progress in Quest to Create Objective Method of Detecting Pain  
12/18/2012 8:08:39 AM

A method of analyzing brain structure using advanced computer algorithms accurately predicted 76 percent of the time whether a patient had lower back pain in a new study by researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine. The study, which will be published online Dec. 17 in Cerebral Cortex, reported that using these algorithms to read brain scans may be an early step toward providing an objective method for diagnosing chronic pain. "People have been looking for an objective pain detector — a 'pain scanner' — for a long time," said Sean Mackey, MD, PhD, chief of the Division of Pain Medicine and professor of anesthesiology, pain and perioperative medicine, and of neurosciences and neurology. "We're still a long way from that, but this method may someday augment self-reporting as the primary way of determining whether a patient is in chronic pain."
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