The Pain Study
Dr. Harris led a study called “the Multidisciplinary Approach to the Study of Chronic Pelvic Pain Research Network study.” In this study led by Harris, they “compared participants with a clinical diagnosis of urological chronic pelvic pain syndrome to pain-free controls and to fibromyalgia patients.” The point of the study was to examine if widespread pain originates in the brain rather than in the nervous system.
The MAPP study looked at 1,079 patients. The participants were asked to answer questions about their pain severity and how it impairs their lives. There was also a visual component where patients could draw where there pain was on a diagram.
A group of these participants underwent MRIs. According to Harris, not only did many of those who had MRIs suffer from “pain located in the pelvic region, had pain also widely distributed throughout their body… When we put these individuals into the brain imaging scanner, we found that those who had widespread pain had increased gray matter and brain connectivity within sensory and motor cortical areas, when compared to pain-free controls.”