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Predicting the neurophysiological basis of neonatal pain from functional and diffusion MRI

From 5/10/2021 to 5/10/2021

Pr Rebeccah Slater (University of oxford - St John’s College Professorial Fellow, Department of Paediatrics) will give a talk on Zoom on May 10th.

Invited by: Jessica Dubois

Short abstract:

Infant pain has long-term negative consequences but is under-treated and poorly understood, representing a significant clinical problem. Although hospitalised infants require frequent medical procedures, our understanding of the development of pain-related brain circuitry is poor, and evidence-based treatment options are limited. Adequate pain treatment requires mechanistic understanding of the structural and functional development of human nociceptive circuitry.

In this talk I will describe how recent scientific and technological advances in neonatal brain imaging can provide a platform to ask how intrinsic brain network connectivity affect noxious-evoked brain activity, behaviour and ultimately pain perception in the developing infant nervous system. I will describe how brain imaging can be used to provide insight into how noxious information is transmitted to the infant brain and how these approaches can assess the analgesic efficacy of pain-relieving interventions in clinical trials. I will describe a multimodal neonatal MRI study, where resting-state and diffusion MRI have been used to investigate inter-individual variability in noxious-stimulus evoked brain activity, demonstrating that in healthy neonates noxious-evoked brain activity is tightly coupled to both resting-state brain activity and white matter microstructure.

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