Updates & Features

PainSolve Paper of the Month

June 2019 

PainSolve Editorial Team

Composite Pain Biomarker Signatures for Objective Assessment and Effective Treatment

Tracey I, et al. Neuron. 2019 Mar 101(5):783–800

Pain is a subjective experience (see Prof. Aziz’s PainSolve webinar for an example of how pain can be perceived differently). Here, Tracey et al. highlight that the gold standard in pain measurement rating scales, such as the visual analogue scale, have limitations due to interindividual variabilities (e.g. genetic, cultural and environmental differences) during pain self-assessment.

Tracey et al. went on to put forward the idea of a composite biomarker signature to predict pain in a more objective way. This comprises of biopsychosocial, environmental, lifestyle, genetic and biochemical predictors, as well as quantitative sensory testing and imaging phenotypes. Going forward, the authors support the implementation of a consortium to bring together these different biomarker groups, alongside advanced analytical methods. They envisage this approach heralding a new era in determining the presence of pain, potentially implicating a wide range of fields, from insurance to routine patient diagnosis and management.

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