The goal is to characterize the brain’s pain regulatory system in individuals with Fibromyalgia pain by using Conditioned Pain Modulation (CPM) and other quantitative sensory testing methods during fMRI scanning. We will contrast the results from those suffering from chronic pain with individuals who are exposed to pain via self-injury, and healthy controls. The aim is to gain deepened knowledge of the mechanisms that contribute to development of chronic pain, and ultimately, to improve the treatments.

Placebo responses are powerful examples of how psychological processes can affect disease symptoms. Yet, little is known about the placebo response in patients with limited cognitive abilities, such as dementia. The goal of this research project is to use psychophysical testing and functional neuroimaging to investigate placebo mechanisms in patients with dementia. Patients with dementia will be tested regarding the effects of associative learning and verbal suggestions on non-painful thermal perception. By using fMRI data and psychophysical measures we are able to look at the specific brain circuitry underlying placebo responses.



Pain Matrix


The purpose of this project is to provide a comprehensive characterization of the pain regulatory system in individuals who engage in non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI). To reach that purpose, we intend to employ and further develop novel network-based analysis methods of brain imaging data. We will use structured pain experiments to assess different aspects of the pain regulatory system and study their neuronal correlates. The aim is to understand of the role of pain in NSSI and to contribute to the development of new treatment strategies and preventions for those who suffer from self-injury.

The set of brain regions often associated with pain is sometimes referred to as the pain matrix. Yet, it is not certain whether the pain matrix is uniquely related to pain or whether it serves other functions. In this project, we aim to utilize novel methods for modeling the brain in terms of temporal network theory. This approach allows us to learn about the set of brain regions involved in generating and maintaining the subjective experience of pain. Although standard approaches that aggregates fMRI data into a static picture of brain activity has provided important insights to the neural correlates to pain, a characterisation of brain dynamics will offer new information about the brain in pain.


In this prospective study among healthy individuals, we aim to find baseline factors that predict development of chronic pain later in life. Utilising the fact that several hundreds of healthy participants perform brain scans in different studies at Karolinska Institutet, we will collect both structural and functional brain images from a large group of individuals. We will pair this information with data from Sweden’s unique health registries. The combination of fMRI data and registry based research allows us to look for factors predicting the development of chronic pain.