[In search of] Digital biomarkers for objective pain assessment

Moscato, Serena (2023) [In search of] Digital biomarkers for objective pain assessment, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze e tecnologie della salute, 35 Ciclo. DOI 10.48676/unibo/amsdottorato/11061.
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Pain is a highly complex phenomenon involving intricate neural systems, whose interactions with other physiological mechanisms are not fully understood. Standard pain assessment methods, relying on verbal communication, often fail to provide reliable and accurate information, which poses a critical challenge in the clinical context. In the era of ubiquitous and inexpensive physiological monitoring, coupled with the advancement of artificial intelligence, these new tools appear as the natural candidates to be tested to address such a challenge. This thesis aims to conduct experimental research to develop digital biomarkers for pain assessment. After providing an overview of the state-of-the-art regarding pain neurophysiology and assessment tools, methods for appropriately conditioning physiological signals and controlling confounding factors are presented. The thesis focuses on three different pain conditions: cancer pain, chronic low back pain, and pain experienced by patients undergoing neurorehabilitation. The approach presented in this thesis has shown promise, but further studies are needed to confirm and strengthen these results. Prior to developing any models, a preliminary signal quality check is essential, along with the inclusion of personal and health information in the models to limit their confounding effects. A multimodal approach is preferred for better performance, although unimodal analysis has revealed interesting aspects of the pain experience. This approach can enrich the routine clinical pain assessment procedure by enabling pain to be monitored when and where it is actually experienced, and without the involvement of explicit communication,. This would improve the characterization of the pain experience, aid in antalgic therapy personalization, and bring timely relief, with the ultimate goal of improving the quality of life of patients suffering from pain.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Moscato, Serena
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
pain assessment, wearable device, artificial intelligence, pervasive monitoring
Data di discussione
20 Giugno 2023

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