Who can participate?
Healthy women, 18 years and older, who:
- Are not claustrophobic
- Do not have any metallic objects in the body (braces, pacemaker)
- Do not have any known medical conditions
- Are not pregnant
What will happen in the study?
You will be given an informed consent document that thoroughly explains all the details of the study. Before any procedures for this research study are completed, you will be asked to read, ask questions, and sign the consent form.
As part of this research study, you may experience any combination of 1 or more, but not all, of the following painful and/or non-painful tasks:
- Pressure pain task: different intensities (2 to 7 kg/cm2) and durations (5 to 12 seconds) of pressure will be applied to either your thumbnail, fingernail or to other locations on your arm and leg using a pressure pain research device
- Thermal pain task: different intensities (42°C to 49°C / 107.6°F to 120.2°F) and durations of heat will be applied to your forearm using a thermal pain research device
- Multisensory stimulation task: a combination of auditory, visual and tactile-motor stimulation (non-painful task)
- Affective self-referential task: you may be given an adjective trait and asked to rate how you think it applies to yourself (non-painful task)
- Working memory task: you may be given a sequence of stimuli and must indicate when the current stimulus matches the one from “n” steps earlier (1-step, 2-steps, etc.) in the sequence (non-painful task)
You will not participate in all of the tasks; however, there will be periods of rest in between each of the stimulation tasks you do participate in. The combination of tasks you take part in will never exceed 2 hours of duration, not including the time taken for pain calibration (which lasts for about 15 minutes).
If you complete either the pressure or pain tasks during this study, the research team will first run a pain calibration procedure to make sure the painful stimuli are within the range of what feels painful yet tolerable to you. If at any point during the research study, the thermal pain or pressure becomes too high or intolerable for you, you can manually remove the device and alert research staff.
You may also be connected to a number of physiological devices to collect information about some or all of the following: heart rate, skin conductance, respiration, eye pupil dilation and muscle contraction. These devices are non-invasive and are not associated with any uncomfortable, harmful, or painful sensations.
Any images produced by the fMRI scanner are for experimental purposes only and should not be used for any clinical purpose.
What are the good things that can happen from this research?
You will not receive a direct medical benefit from being in this study right now. However, when we finish the study, we hope to know more about the best experimental tasks to use with chronic pain patients, which will eventually be helpful to further understand the causes of their chronic pain.