Research Study : Predicting pain - a telemedicine tool to track the phenomenal and neural dynamics of chronic pain

January 28th, 2022

A team of clinical doctors and researchers in neuroscience at the University of Zurich and the University of Cambridge are developing a tool to predict future pain levels in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.  Currently they have developed a device to track chronic pain levels in CRPS using portable EEG and a smartphone app.

The Research Team include:

Dr Maria Niedernhuber (University of Zurich, University of Cambridge),

Prof Tristan Bekinschtein (University of Cambridge),

Prof Bigna Lenggenhager (University of Zurich),

Prof Olaf Blanke (EPFL)

The team would like to test how different emotional or cognitive variables (such as stress, brain fog, etc.) influence whether patients with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome will get worse in the near future. 

Researchers are now seeking patients with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome to take part in a study which can be conducted remotely at the patients’ home.

Participants will be sent an EEG headband which has electrodes measuring brain activity. They will be asked to complete a pain diary for several weeks and occasionally be asked to complete little psychological experiments using their browser. Patients will also receive individual feedback about which variables predict whether their condition will get worse.

You must be aged between 18-80 have a diagnosis of CRPS (Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome) and ideally own a smart phone and meetings will take place online via Zoom.  

Participants will be informed individually about which factors predict whether their pain will get worse or not (e.g., aspects of sleep, neurophysiological markers, stress levels, variables related to their sleep, cognitive fatigue levels, etc.). The aim is also to assist participants identify these triggers so that they can make life adjustments (where possible) to avoid triggers.    It is hoped that this app will become a resource for the CRPS community and their treating clinicians.

The study obtained ethical approval at the University of Cambridge.  To register your interest email Dr Maria Niedernhuber