Speaker: Dr. Flavia Di Pietro
Title: The brain in chronic pain: is dis-inhibition the underlying mechanism?
Date: Thursday 10 September, 12-1 pm
Venue: AS4/02-08 (Psychology Department Meeting Room)
There is compelling evidence for an important role of the brain in complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Much of the research has focussed on the primary somatosensory and primary motor cortices; there is a widely-held notion of ‘reorganisation’ in these regions in chronic pain states. We investigated the question of reorganisation in the primary somatosensory cortex with our own functional magnetic resonance imaging study, and our findings surprised us. Our findings highlighted that the picture may not be as simple as was once thought, and prompted us to question whether altered inhibition may play a role. Interestingly, the concept of dis-inhibition is also pertinent to another painful disorder – trigeminal neuropathic pain. We are currently investigating this question and I will complete my talk with a brief and general overview of the neuroimaging evidence in this disorder.
About the Speaker:
Flavia Di Pietro is a post-doctoral fellow in the Neural Imaging Laboratory at the University of Sydney. She was awarded her PhD in May 2014 by the University of New South Wales. Her PhD investigated the role of the brain in complex regional pain syndrome, using magnetic resonance imaging. Flavia holds an NHMRC CJ Martin Early Career Fellowship and is currently investigating mechanisms of altered brain rhythms in chronic orofacial pain, at the University of Sydney.