Learning and Memory

Study Goals

This behavioral and neuroimaging study looks at learning and memory in youth with chronic pain as compared to their healthy peers. Through this research study, we hope to gain understanding on the role of learning and memory as related to pain in children and adolescents. We hypothesize that learning and memory contribute to maintenance and persistence of the pain process. With knowledge gained from this study, we plan to develop better treatments for youth with chronic pain.

Our Approach

Visual and auditory stimuli will be presented to study participants to facilitate the learning and memory process. At the same time, we will measure the participants’ sweat responses using finger sensors and take images of their brains in the MRI scanner to determine any differences between the patient and control groups.

Eligibility to Participate

Seeking 10 – 24 year olds with chronic pain.  Healthy 10 – 24 year old individuals are also eligible to participate in the control group of the study.

Study Visit Overview

The study visit takes place at Boston Children’s Hospital in Waltham (9 Hope Avenue). The study is comprised of 6 parts and may take up to 3 hours, plus a 15 minute phone call one month after the study visit.  It includes the following:

  1. Pre-surveys (50 minutes)
  2.  Sensory Testing (10 minutes)
  3. Presentation of pictures and sounds + sweat monitoring (30 minutes)
  4. Presentation of pictures and sounds + brain MRI (60 minutes)
  5. Post-surveys (30 minutes)
  6. Follow Up Phone Call (15 minutes)


Participants will receive $100 in Amazon Gift Codes at the end of the visit along with a CD picture of their brains. If all study visits are attended with a potential of up to 3, participants will be entered into a drawing for a $500 prize that will be drawn every 6 months (odds of winning are 1 in 30!).


This study is supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.


To learn more about this study, please email farah.mahmud@childrens.harvard.edu