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Neuromodulation for Pain Management

Pain is a salient and complex sensory experience with important affective and cognitive dimensions. The current definition of pain relies on subjective reports in both humans and experimental animals. Such definition lacks basic mechanistic insights and can lead to a high degree of variability. Research on biomarkers for pain has previously focused on genetic analysis. However, recent advances in human neuroimaging and research in animal models have begun to show the promise of a circuit-based neural signature for pain. At the treatment level, pharmacological therapy for pain remains limited. Neuromodulation has emerged as a specific form of treatment without the systemic side effects of pharmacotherapies. In this review, we will discuss some of the current neuromodulatory modalities for pain, research on newer targets, as well as emerging possibility for an integrated brain-computer interface approach for pain management.

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