11 February 2015
Vol 7, Issue 274

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ONLINE COVER Your Brain on Drugs. Chronic pain is tough to treat, and the drugs that doctors rely on, such as morphine, have varied and complex mechanisms of action in the brain. New therapies are sorely needed to address the dearth of drugs for chronic pain; but, it would be beneficial to know earlier whether the analgesic is effective, before continuing with costly clinical trials. In this issue, Duff et al. devised a computational approach to understand the relationship between drug effects on brain processes and health outcomes using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data from eight different studies. By compiling fMRI images from patients on known drugs, the authors revealed patterns of efficacy that could then be used to predict whether a new drug was a viable candidate for translation. This image-based computational framework could help bring new drugs for pain into the clinic faster and more efficiently. See the related Focus by Wager and Woo. [CREDIT: J.CRAIGMYLE/CORBIS]