The purpose of this study was to investigate the utility of data-driven analyses of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data, by means of structural equation modeling, for the investigation of pain processing in fibromyalgia (FM).
Datasets from two separate pain fMRI studies involving healthy controls (HC) and participants with FM were re-analyzed using both a conventional model-driven approach and a data-driven approach, and the results from these analyses were compared. The first dataset contained 15 women with FM and 15 women as healthy controls. The second dataset contained 15 women with FM and 11 women as healthy controls.
Consistent with previous studies, the model-driven analyses did not identify differences in pain processing between the HC and FM study groups in both datasets. On the other hand, the data-driven analyses identified significant group differences in both datasets.