Chronic pain disrupts attention, memory
NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted June 11, 2007
Patients who endure chronic pain also experience disruptions in their ability to remember and concentrate, according to a study in the May Anesthesia and Analgesia.
Researchers recruited 24 patients being treated at the University of Alberta Hospital's Multidisciplinary Pain Centre in Canada and tested their cognitive skills and ability to pay attention before and after a pain reduction procedure. The authors found that two-thirds of patients had clinically significant disruptions of their ability to pay attention and that this was connected with problems in working memory. Also, the procedure reduced pain but did not improve patients' capabilities in this cognitive area.
The authors concluded that a better understanding of the precise cognitive mechanisms disrupted by pain will lead to better tailored treatment.
Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2007/06/11/hlbf0611.htm.