Study investigating peripheral sensitivity in healthy individuals using fMRI

Welcome to our research study utilizing functional MRI to explore peripheral sensitivity to pain in both healthy males and females. Our objective is to examine the intricate relationship between peripheral sensitivity and the autonomic nervous system, discovering how they intersect and influence the perception of pain. The outcome of this investigation is anticipated to contribute invaluable insights to the broader scientific community, potentially enhancing our understanding of heightened peripheral sensitivity observed in chronic pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia.

Enrollment for this study is open to healthy individuals, both males and females, aged 19 to 60, with no history of significant brain or neurological injuries or conditions. The study, hosted at Queen's University's MRI facility, involves two parts. The initial phase occurs in a simulated MRI environment known as the 'sham.' During this phase, participants will acquaint themselves with a carefully calibrated heat stimulus applied to their right hand, designed to match their unique pain sensitivity. Subsequently, participants will undergo heat contacts at three fixed temperatures, chosen to ensure safety and prevent any physical harm. Throughout this process, participants will be trained to assess their pain intensity and unpleasantness using provided scales. Additionally, they will complete questionnaires covering general information, mental health history, and receive a briefing on MRI safety.

Moving to the second phase, participants will transition to the actual MRI system, mirroring the setup of the 'sham.' Positioned supine with a mirror to view the pain rating scale and instructions, participants will undergo imaging runs focusing on the spinal cord and brainstem. Throughout each run, participants will receive prompts indicating when to expect the heat stimulus and will be asked to rate their pain accordingly. As transparency is valued, participants will always be informed of what to expect and when to provide pain ratings. The entire visit is estimated to take approximately 2 hours.

As a token of appreciation for their time and contribution, participants will receive an honorarium of $40 to cover expenses. Your involvement in this study is greatly valued, and we look forward to gaining valuable insights together.

The study is currently in progress. If you are interested in participating please email Here is a video with some information about participating in MRI studies: Information Video