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Transcranial Ultrasound Seems Beneficial in Chronic Pain

WEDNESDAY, July 24 (HealthDay News) -- Transcranial ultrasound (TUS) is associated with significant improvements in subjective mood, and slight improvements in pain among patients with chronic pain, according to a study published in the May issue of Brain Stimulation.

Stuart Hameroff, M.D., from the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center in Tucson, and colleagues examined possible TUS modulation of mental states among 31 individuals with chronic pain. Participants completed two visual analog scales for pain and mood and had vital signs recorded before and at 10 and 40 minutes after exposure to TUS or placebo in a double-blind crossover study. A probe from an ultrasound-imaging machine was applied to the scalp over the posterior frontal cortex, contralateral to maximal pain, for 15 seconds. The ultrasound machine operator randomized the participants to TUS (8 MHz) or placebo.

The researchers found that at 10 and 40 minutes there were significant improvements in subjective reports of mood/global affect with TUS versus placebo. Reports of pain were improved (P = 0.07) at 40 minutes following TUS.

"We found improvement in subjective mood 10 minutes and 40 minutes after TUS compared to placebo," the authors write. "TUS can have safe neurophysiological effects on brain function, and is a promising noninvasive therapy for modulating conscious and unconscious mental states and disorders."

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