UCLA Launches Brain Imaging Database for Chronic Pain Research


The University of California-Los Angeles has announced the launch of the first-ever standardized database for brain imaging associated with chronic pain, Health Data Management reports.


Currently, research on brain imaging is limited because most organizations:

  • Do not have enough resources to support large studies; and
  • Lack access to large patient samples.

In addition, data acquired about brain imaging have not been standardized, making it difficult to integrate information from different sources.

Details of Database

The Pain and Interoception Imaging Network, or PAIN, database will be operated through UCLA's Gail and Gerald Oppenheimer Family Center for Neurobiology.

The database was created in part through a $300,000 NIH grant.

So far, 14 organizations in North America and Europe have joined the effort.

The database will include information on several chronic pain conditions, including:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome;
  • Fibromyalgia;
  • Migraines;
  • Rheumatoid arthritis; and
  • Other illnesses.


The database aims to include information on more than 1,000 adults and children, including:

  • Brain scans;
  • Environmental data;
  • Immune system information;
  • Intestinal bacteria data;
  • Gene expressions;
  • Psychosocial factors; and
  • Symptom measurements.

Researchers plan to use the data sets to determine similarities and differences between chronic pain conditions.

Emeran Mayer, director of the Oppenheimer center, said, "[I]f we want to treat [chronic pain] more effectively, we need to better understand and treat the mechanisms in the brain that are driving it" (Health Data Management, 10/29).

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