Professor Richard Wise is the FMRI Director of the Cardiff University Brain Research. Previously he worked in Oxford University (FMRIB Centre) where he led the methodological development of human pharmacological FMRI studies, particularly in the field of pain and analgesia. Richard’s current research interests include the development of quantitative FMRI methods for human pharmacological imaging studies and the tracking of drug action e.g. analgesics, over time in the human brain.
In recent years non-invasive functional neuroimaging techniques such as functional MRI have taught us much about the brain systems engaged in the experience of pain. Studies began using experimental pain in healthy volunteers and have more recently moved into patients with real pain conditions. FMRI techniques are beginning to neuro-anatomically dissect the pain experience and to help us understand the CNS changes, both short term and long term, which may worsen pain. FMRI is also developing as a tool for investigating the mechanisms of action of pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments for pain and is likely to be important in the drug development process. However the limitations of the technique must also be borne in mind when interpreting changes in pain related brain activity in pharmaceutical and clinical research.
In this talk, recorded live at the Welsh Pain Society’s Annual Conference 2010, Richard discusses what FMRI has told us, what it might tell us in the future and what it probably cannot tell us.