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Abnormal pain perception is associated with thalamo-cortico-striatal atrophy in C9orf72 expansion carriers in the GENFI cohort
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  • Published on:
    Pain Responsiveness: A Useful Clinical Tool?
    • Hannah E. Silverman, Research Worker Taub Institute, Department of Neurology, Columbia University Irving Medical Center
    • Other Contributors:
      • Megan S. Barker, Postdoctoral Research Scientist in Neuropsychology
      • Masood Manoocheri, Staff Associate
      • Edward D. Huey, Psychiatrist

    The recently published paper ‘Abnormal pain perception is associated with thalamo-cortico-striatal atrophy in C9orf72 expansion carriers in the GENFI cohort’ by Convery et al.[1] draws attention to a topic of great importance in the field of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) research. In this study, Convery and colleagues investigated differences in pain responsiveness within a group of patients with genetic FTD. Changes in pain responsiveness compared to baseline were captured using a scale designed by the group, and patients were scored from 0-3 (0 = no change, 0.5 = questionable or very mild change, 1 = mild change, 2 = moderate change, 3 = severe change). Within the sample, symptomatic C9orf72 mutation carriers (9/31) experienced greater changes in pain responsiveness than symptomatic MAPT (1/10) and GRN (1/24) mutation-carriers or normal controls (1/181). Within the C9orf72 mutation carriers, these changes were associated with thalamo-cortico-striatal atrophy.
    This research brings attention to an important but little-investigated clinical feature of FTD. Changes in pain responsiveness, including both increases and decreases, have now been reported in both sporadic and genetic FTD, along with other somatic complaints.[1–4] However, the changes are not widely captured in either clinical or research settings, and the field lacks standardized and objective measurements to do so. The ability to measure changes in pain responsiveness may be a useful clinical marker to di...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.