(April 10, 2013)--Researchers have used patterns from brain images for the first time to predict and measure how much pain people were in and to tell when a drug was relieving the pain.
The work is in an early stage but has huge potential.
Someday it could help doctors determine when pain is hurting a baby, people with dementia or someone who is paralyzed and unable to talk.
So far the research only involves pain felt through the skin, in experiments where heat was applied to an arm.
Scientists now must study more common kinds of pain such as headaches and chronic back problems.
Results of the federally funded study appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine.