Last updated on March 2020

Brain Mechanisms of Psychosocial Aspects of Acupuncture Therapy

Brief description of study

The overall aim of the present proposal is to investigate how patients' and clinicians' (Licensed acupuncturists, LAc) neural and autonomic processes during treatment interaction correlate to patient outcomes. Male and female healthy clinicians and fibromyalgia patients will be recruited for the study.

Detailed Study Description

At the training sessions, both clinicians and patients will fill out a set of questionnaires and go through standardized psychophysical tests for assessing visual displays of affect. They will also be informed of the efficacy of the electroacupuncture in relieving pain during the experiment. During the clinical examination, the clinician will follow clinical exam protocol and do an intake of the FM patient; including a physical exam and pain assessment. While in the scanner, the clinician will receive pain stimulation with a pressure cuff on the leg over an 8 minute paradigm in order to get cerebral representation. The patient, will then be placed in a different scanner running simultaneously, and will experience pain stimulation with the pressure cuff while interacting via live camera with the clinician in the other scanner. When visually prompted via cues on a screen, the clinician will activate analgesia for the patient, through a response device (response box) in clinician's one hand. After each trial of pain with/without treatment, the clinicians will be asked "how did you feel about the outcome (extremely positive - extremely negative)", and how satisfied are you (Not at all satisfied - Very satisfied) on Numerical Rating Scales (NRS). The patient will also give ratings after each trial of pain with/without treatment. They will be asked asked "how did you feel about the outcome (extremely positive - extremely negative)?", and "how painful was the cuff (Not painful - Extremely painful)?" on NRS. After the scan, both the clinician and patient will be asked to rate anxiety during the presence of visual stimulus preceding cuff activation (not at all anxious - extremely anxious). After the final MRI session, the clinician and the patient will both be given the chance to report their responses to the treatment and then debriefed.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT02908022

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