Aftermath of sexual abuse history on adult patients suffering from chronic functional pain syndromes: An fMRI pilot study

Michael Noll-Hussong, Alexander Otti, Leonhard Laeer, Afra Wohlschlaeger, Claus Zimmer, Claas Lahmann, Peter Henningsen, Thomas Toelle, Harald Guendel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: This preliminary study investigates the neural substrates of empathy-induced pain in multisomatoform pain patients "with vs. without" a history of sexual abuse during childhood. Methods: Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and behavioral measurements, we compared eight abused with eight nonabused patients using an established empathy-for-pain paradigm. Results: Higher activations in left lateral and medial superior frontal gyrus as well as a nonsignificant activation of the right supplementary motor area in abused patients were detected. The nonabused participants showed higher activation of left hippocampus. There was no significant difference in subjective pain ratings between the groups. Conclusion: Although the number of participants still needs to be increased, our main findings mirror the clinical impression and support the notion of perturbed neuroprocessing of grievous stimuli in chronic pain patients with a history of sexual abuse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-487
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of psychosomatic research
Volume68
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adverse childhood experiences
  • FMRI
  • Functional somatic syndromes
  • Neurobiology
  • Pain-predominant multisomatoform disorder
  • Sexual abuse

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