The researchers selected 61 healthy subjects aged between 21 and 42. First, they measured each subjects alpha wave with electroencephalogram, and then conducted the experiment in two steps: first, the cream containing capsaicin was smeared on the skin of the subjects to make them sensitive, and then the sensitive skin formed by applying capsaicin cream was heated repeatedly. After 8 weeks, the experiment was repeated.
The results show that measuring alpha waves can reliably indicate a persons sensitivity or resilience to pain. These results were confirmed in the preliminary assessment and 8-week follow-up visit.
Dr. David sminowitz, of the University of Maryland School of Dentistry, said it was important to understand the patients pain sensitivity when deciding whether to perform elective surgery or develop a post-operative rehabilitation plan. Painkillers or mindfulness meditation can also be used before surgery to minimize the patients pain.
Dr. Ali mazhali of the University of Birmingham said severe pain after surgery is often a good indicator of whether a patient develops chronic pain, and understanding the likelihood of these symptoms in a person will help clinicians and patients better determine the best treatment.