Decreased intrinsic brain connectivity is associated with reduced clinical pain in fibromyalgia

Arthritis & Rheumatism, 04/19/2012

Napadow V et al. – The findings suggest that intrinsic brain connectivity can be used as a candidate objective marker that tracks intra–subject with changes in spontaneous chronic pain in fibromyalgia (FM). The authors propose that intrinsic connectivity measures could potentially be used either in research or clinical settings as a complementary, more objective outcome.


  • 17 FM patients underwent resting state fMRI at baseline and following 4 weeks of a non-pharmacological intervention to diminish pain.
  • Intrinsic default mode network (DMN) connectivity was evaluated using probabilistic independent component analysis.
  • A paired analysis evaluated longitudinal changes in intrinsic DMN connectivity and a multiple linear regression investigated correlations between longitudinal changes in clinical pain and changes in intrinsic DMN connectivity.
  • Changes in clinical pain were assessed with the Short Form of the McGill Pain Questionnaire (SF-MPQ).


  • Clinical pain was reduced following therapy (SF-MPQ sensory scale: p<0.02).
  • Intrinsic DMN connectivity to the insula was reduced, and this reduction was correlated with reductions in pain (corrected p<0.05).

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