Reuters released an article: “Depression alters how we handle pain” by
Will Dunham.

Here are some excerpts:

[begin excerpts]

Scientists have found clues in the brains of people with major
depression that might help explain why so many depressed people also
battle chronic pain, U.S. study published on Monday says.

Brain imaging showed that people with depression had more activity in
brain regions involved in emotions when they anticipated or experienced
pain, the researchers found.

Irina Strigo of the University of California San Diego and colleagues
told volunteers eight seconds beforehand that a painful experience was
coming – being touched on the arm with a device hot enough to cause
brief pain but not injury.

“Not only do you really show this high activation of emotional areas
when the pain was not there, but when the pain is there you see this
helplessness, not even trying to modulate your experience,” Dr. Strigo
said in a telephone interview.


More than three-quarters of depressed people have recurring or chronic
pain, while 30 per cent to 60 per cent of people with chronic pain
report symptoms of depression, the researchers wrote in the Archives of
General Psychiatry.

“If a person has chronic pain together with depression, this is a very
debilitating condition. This condition is very difficult to treat and
the disability is much higher and the cost of treatment is very high,”
Dr. Strigo said.

She said the study’s findings may point toward new ways to help
patients, either through behavioural therapies or perhaps drugs.

[end excerpts]

The article is online at: