SOMA is a smartphone app that helps people with acute and chronic pain monitor and track patterns in their daily lives.
Neuroscientists at the Carney Institute for Brain Science at Brown University have developed SOMA. The new smartphone app helps people with acute and chronic pain monitor and track patterns in their mood, pain, and daily activities.
The app also allows users to track which activities affect their pain in positive or negative ways. Using data from the free app, Carney scientists are working on treatments that can be delivered through the app and will be tested in clinical trials.
Chronic pain persists well beyond an injury or illness, and it may last a lifetime and be resistant to over-the-counter medications. It is also among the most common conditions in the US, with 1 in 5 adults reporting pain on most days or every day in 2022.
New research suggests that chronic pain may result from changes in brain circuits involved in learning and memory. Yet, most treatments for pain still focus almost exclusively on the periphery and not the brain.
To bridge this divide, neuroscientists at the Carney Institute for Brain Science at Brown University have developed SOMA, available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. SOMA focuses on the role learning and expectations pain plays in transitioning from acute to chronic pain. With more detailed data gathered from users of SOMA, healthcare providers can offer precision medical treatments that target the root cause of chronic pain.
“We are hoping that SOMA will help many monitor their pain and recovery and build the basis for groundbreaking science that will improve pain treatment,” said Frederike Petzschner, PhD, head of the Psychiatry, Embodiment and Computation Lab (PEAC) at the Carney Institute for Brain Science and primary investigator behind the SOMA project.
SOMA was made possible by the new Brainstorm Program at the Carney Institute for Brain Science at Brown University, which focuses on the translation of brain science into real-world applications that have a lasting positive impact on the field of mental health and, in the case of SOMA for those that suffer from pain.
Photo courtesy of Brown University