Michigan State University College of Human Medicine Department of Family Medicine

Posted in Research

People: Michelle Adler, Taylor Abounader, Alaina Miller, Natoshia Cunningham, Judy Arnetz

Functional abdominal pain disorders (FAPD) are the most common chronic pain conditions of childhood and are made worse by co-occurring anxiety.

Our research team found that the Aim to Decrease Pain and Anxiety Treatment (ADAPT), a six-session coping skills program using cognitive behavioral therapy strategies, improved pain-related symptoms and anxiety symptoms compared to standard care in children.

Now, we want to understand the mechanisms in the brain related to receiving ADAPT. This paper outlines our methods for testing potential brain mechanisms underlying the effect of ADAPT. We will include patients ages 11 to 16 years presenting to outpatient pediatric gastroenterology care at a midwestern children’s hospital with a diagnosis of FAPD plus evidence of clinical anxiety. Patients will undergo a baseline MRI involving a water-loading symptom provocation task to mimic abdominal discomfort and will rate their pain and anxiety throughout the MRI. After the first MRI, patients will be randomly assigned to either receive 6-weeks of ADAPT, or go about their regular treatment. About 8 weeks later, patients will complete a post-assessment MRI visit similar to their first visit.

We will compare those who received ADAPT to those who went about their regular treatment in hopes to better understand the brain mechanisms associated with our coping skills program in children with pain and anxiety.

Read more about this research.