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Francesco Cerritelli, Piero Chiacchiaretta, Francesco Gambi, Mauro Gianni Perrucci, Giovanni Barassi, Christian Visciano, Rosa Grazia Bellomo, Raoul Saggini, Antonio Ferretti

Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research ~ July 30, 2020 ~ Pages 79-92



The present randomised placebo controlled trial explored the extent to which osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) affects brain activity, particularly the insula, during both an “interoceptive awareness” and “exteroceptive awareness” task in a sample of 32 right-handed adults with chronic Low Back Pain (CLBP) randomly assigned to either the OMT or sham group. Patients received 4 weekly sessions and fMRI was performed at enrolment (T0), immediately after the first session (T1) and at 1 month (T2). The results revealed that the OMT produced a distinct and specific reduction in BOLD response in specific brain areas related to interoception, i.e., bilateral insula, ACC, left striatum and rMFG. The observed trend across the three time points appears uncharacteristic. At T1, a marginal increase of the BOLD response was observed in all the above-mentioned areas except the rMFG, which showed a decrease in BOLD response. At T2, the response was the opposite: areas related to interoception (bilateral insula and ACC) as well as the rMFG and left striatum demonstrated significant decreased in BOLD response. The findings of this study provide an insight into the effects of manual therapies on brain activity and have implications for future research in the field.

Copyright © 2020 Cerritelli, F. et al . This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Cerritelli, F., Chiacchiaretta, P., Gambi, F. et al. Effect of manual approaches with osteopathic modality on brain correlates of interoception: an fMRI study. Sci Rep 10, 3214 (2020).

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