Dissertation Defense - Ishtiaq Mawla
“A Multimodal Examination of Functional Brain and Neurochemical Mechanisms Underlying Nociplastic Pain”
Drs. Rick Harris and George Mashour, Co-Chairs
ABSTRAT: Chronic pain affects well-being, causes suffering, and is a significant burden to society. Unfortunately, pain management in the U.S. remains poor, primarily due to an inadequate understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms underlying pain. Research over the past few decades has shown that maladaptive central nervous system processing may contribute to the development or maintenance of a particular type of chronic pain called nociplastic pain. The prototypical nociplastic pain condition is fibromyalgia, characterized by widespread body pain, fatigue, sleep problems, and heightened sensory sensitivity. Therefore, understanding the central nervous system in nociplastic pain may allow biomarker development for the diagnosis and prognosis of pain while generating mechanistically informed treatment options. My thesis work has aimed to understand the neurochemical and functional brain processes involved in pain augmentation (i.e., hyperalgesia) and non-pharmacologic pain relief (i.e., analgesia) in nociplastic pain.