1Chronic pain impairs cognitive abilities in patients by unknown mechanismsThere is accumulating clinical evidence indicating that chronic pain may impair various aspects of cognition, such as attention, working memory, decision-making and executive function (for a review see e.g. ). The mechanisms underlying the chronic pain-associated cognitive impairment are still poorly known. Human studies allow unequivocal assessments of cognition and pain, but mechanistic studies can be performed only to a limited extent in humans. In contrast, experimental animal studies allow controlled invasive studies assessing molecular and cellular level mechanisms, while the weakness of animal studies is that cognition and pain need to be indirectly evaluated by assessing motor behavior in various cognition-demanding tasks.2Cognitive deficits can be induced by chronic pain in animalsInterestingly, recent studies in experimental animals indicate that cognitive deficits may be induced also in animal models of chronic pain (for reviews see [1,2]). Thereby, experimental animal models of chronic pain promise to extend possibilities to study mechanisms contributing to the pain-associated changes in cognition. Of course, for several reasons one needs to be cautious when interpreting results on animal behavior in terms of cognition. For example, one needs to exclude direct effects on the motor system before considering
Scandinavian Journal of Pain – de Gruyter
Published: Jan 1, 2016
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