What is it about?

We analyzed records from 354,943 individuals in the UK biobank cohort and found that those who had chronic pain in multiple parts of their bodies rather than one or zero, had a greater risk of dementia and broader and faster cognitive decline; further analysis suggested that the risk increased with each additional pain site, and was mediated atrophy in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memeory.

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Why is it important?

The study provides a quantitative understanding of the impact of chronic pain on cognitive function and the risk of dementia, laying an important foundation for future research into the relationship between chronic pain and cognitive impairment.


We hope that this article highlights the excessive burden of multisite chronic pain on patients' cognition and the brain, and the need to address the overlapping anture of pain conditions in both basic research and clinical studies.

Yiheng Tu
Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Elevated dementia risk, cognitive decline, and hippocampal atrophy in multisite chronic pain, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, February 2023, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2215192120.
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