[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abstract Objective: Findings of existing functional MRI (fMRI) studies on the neural mechanisms that mediate effects of acupuncture analgesia are inconsistent. This study analyzes the effects of manual acupuncture on pain ratings and brain activation in response to experimental, electrical pain stimuli. Design: Fourteen healthy volunteers were examined by using a 1.5-T MRI scanner. The intensity of pain stimuli was adjusted to individual pain ratings on a numeric rating scale. Baseline fMRI was performed during electrical pain stimulation in a blocked design. For the second session, manual acupuncture with repeated stimulation was performed on contralateral acupoints-large intestine 4, liver 3, and stomach 36-before imaging. After imaging, subjective pain ratings and ratings of the de qi sensation were assessed. Results: Compared with baseline, volunteers showed modulated brain activity under pain conditions in the cingulate gyrus, insula, primary somatosensory cortex, and prefrontal areas after the acupuncture session. In accordance with the literature, anterior insular and prefrontal activity seemed to be correlated with acupuncture treatment. Conclusion: This study supports the existence of analgesic acupuncture effects that outlast the needling period. Pain-associated brain areas were modulated in direct response to a preceding acupuncture treatment.
Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.) 11/2014; · 1.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies are increasingly employed in different conscious states. Autogenic training (AT) is a common clinically used relaxation method. The purpose of this study was to investigate the cerebral modulation of pain activity patterns due to AT and to correlate the effects to the degree of experience with AT and strength of stimuli.
Thirteen volunteers familiar with AT were studied with fMRI during painful electrical stimulation in a block design alternating between resting state and electrical stimulation, both without AT and while employing the same paradigm when utilizing their AT abilities. The subjective rating of painful stimulation and success in modulation during AT was assessed.
During painful electrical stimulation without AT, fMRI revealed activation of midcingulate, right secondary sensory, right supplementary motor, and insular cortices, the right thalamus and left caudate nucleus. In contrast, utilizing AT only activation of left insular and supplementary motor cortices was revealed. The paired t-test revealed pain-related activation in the midcingulate, posterior cingulate and left anterior insular cortices for the condition without AT, and activation in the left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex under AT. Activation of the posterior cingulate cortex and thalamus correlated with the amplitude of electrical stimulation.
This study revealed an effect on cerebral pain processing while performing AT. This might represent the cerebral correlate of different painful stimulus processing by subjects who are trained in performing relaxation techniques. However, due to the absence of a control group, further studies are needed to confirm this theory.
European journal of pain (London, England) 03/2012; 16(9):1293-301. · 3.37 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neuromodulation has been recognized as a valuable surgical treatment option for patients with refractory chronic cluster headache (CCH). Due to the small number of afflicted individuals, the knowledge about this specific therapy is limited. In this study, we present our experiences with bilateral occipital nerve stimulation (ONS) in patients with CCH focusing on patient selection, pre- and postoperative evaluation, surgical procedures, and outcome.
Since December 2008, 10 patients with CCH have been treated with ONS at our department. Patients were recruited and clinically followed by a neurologist and a neurosurgeon. Baseline data records on frequency, intensity, and duration of attacks as well as the use of medication were assessed with a 30-day diary. Standardized questionnaires were used pre- and postoperatively and during the follow-up on a regular basis. Surgical procedure and stimulation parameters were standardized for all patients. Lead implantation was followed by a test period of 30 days prior to implantation of the permanent generator. Mean follow-up time was 12 months (range 3-18).
All patients responded to the stimulation treatment. Frequency, duration, and severity of the cluster attacks were reduced in 90% of the patients. One patient had a significant reduction of his concomitant tension headache. 70 % of the patients needed less medication during the attacks. All patients reported an improvement in their quality of life. The SF-36 showed a tendency toward objective improvement in the field of psychological comfort. As a major adverse event, one generator had to be exchanged due to a local infection. Another patient had to be reoperated due to a scar tissue formation around the thoracic connector.
ONS is a valuable tool in the treatment of patients with refractory CCH. According to our data, the potential side effects and complication rates of the operation are small. With a meticulous selection of patients by an interdisciplinary team, CCH can bed improve in the majority of the patients. Yet, the optimal parameters for the stimulation regarding pulse width and frequency remain unclear. For this reason, we started a prospective single-center observational trial at our center in October 2009, including patients with ONS, to identify the best stimulation parameters.
Central European neurosurgery 03/2011; 72(2):84-9. · 0.87 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The chronic cluster headache (CCH) is a disabling disorder for every patient. Treatment is a challenging situation for the physician. Some patients will not experience adequate resolution of their cluster attacks by medication and the prophylaxis does not reduce the attacks sufficiently. Therefore, other treatment options have to be found.
Since December 2008 seven patients with CCH have been treated by bilateral occipital nerve stimulation (ONS) at the University Hospital Essen. Implantation of the electrodes and stimulation paradigms were standardised. The maximum follow-up to date is 12 months.
ONS was successfully employed in all patients. The intensity of the attacks decreased by 50 %. The consumption of attack medication was reduced by 77 % on average. Some patients could reduce their medication prophylaxis. A tendency towards improved quality of life was seen in all patients by means of a standardised questionnaire (SF-36). One generator had to be exchanged due to infection. Scar formations required reoperation and adhesiolysis of the thoracic connector in another patient. 6 out of 7 patients would fully recommend the operation.
Bilateral ONS is a promising treatment for CCH, with a low risk profile in our experience. Further studies have to be conducted to clarify the mechanism of the stimulation and optimal parameters of ONS. For this particular reason, patients with CCH have been included in a prospective study since October 2009.