Research

RESEARCH

 

How do brain states impact acute and chronic pain?

 

How can we increase the brain's resilience to pain?

 

The aim of my research is to translate theory and evidence from cognitive neuroscience and pain psychology into the development of clinical methods for improving the long-term prognosis of patients with chronic pain. I collaborate with academics and clinicians in Liverpool, Manchester and Cambridge, providing access to diverse expertise spanning pain medicine and rheumatology, theoretical neuroscience and engineering.

 

Learning and neuroplasticity

 

The brain naturally adapts its structure and function over time in response to changes in the body and environment, a phenomenon referred to as neuroplasticity.

 

I am investigating whether experience-dependent neuroplasticity impacts on the intensity and persistence of chronic pain. I seek to develop and validate biologically-plausible computational models of pain-related neuroplasticity that have potential to be developed into practicable clinical tests for screening, diagnosis and treatment stratification.

 

Brain mechanisms of pain resilience

 

Much research in pain neuroscience has focused on find out what states of the mind and brain contribute to human suffering. A complementary approach is to understand how the brain can be trained to develop psychological resilience to pain and injury.

 

Certain key regions of the brain have been found to be important in regulating our mental and emotional life, as well as contributing to the suffering of chronic pain. Within this research theme I consider whether patients can using psychological training such as mindfulness to increase psychological resilience to chornic pain and to understand the role of neurotransmitters such as the endogenous opioids.

 

Neurotherapeutics

 

The discovery of brain processes contributing to chronic pain, and the ability to detect and monitor these using low cost EEG systems, provides a new class of candidate targets for electroceutical medicine.

 

We are in the process of developing and testing technologies that will measure and modify brain mechanisms that directly link to many aspects of chronic pain pathophysiology and associated mental health problems.

CHRISTOPHER BROWN

 

Brain mechanisms of human pain perception and behaviour

Institutional Links

Prospective collaborators and PhDs

Contact me to find out about research collaboration and studentship funding opportunities: