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PhD defense by Janusiya Muthuligam

The Department of Clinical Medicine, Aalborg University and Aalborg University Hospital are pleased to invite to PhD defense by Janusiya Anajan Muthulingam, Mech-Sense, Department of Radiology, who will defend the thesis entitled: Characterization of structural, metabolic and functional brain alterations in patients with chronic pancreatitis – A multimodal brain MRI study


12.12.2019 kl. 13.00 - 16.00


The PhD defense will take place

Thursday, December of 12th, 2019

At 1.00 p.m. in Auditorium A
Forskningens hus, Aalborg University Hospital

After the defense there will be held a reception. All are welcome.



Professor Jens Brøndum Frøkjær, MD, PhD
Aalborg University Hospital
Aalborg University

Associate Professor Søren Schou Olesen, MD, PhD
Aalborg University Hospital
Aalborg University

Assistant Professor Tine Maria Hansen, MSc (Eng.), PhD,
Aalborg University

Assessment Committee

Professor Thomas Starch-Jensen, DDS, PhD (chairman)
Aalborg University Hospital,
Aalborg University

Associate Professor Vikesh Singh, MD, M.Sc.
The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
United States

Senior researcher Henrik Lundell, MSc (Eng.), PhD,
Danish Research Centre for MR (DRCMR)
Copenhagen University Hospital Hvidovre

About the PhD thesis

Chronic pancreatitis (CP) is an inflammatory disease of the pancreas, manifested by abdominal pain, exocrine and endocrine insufficiency, and often leads to multiple hospitalizations. Particularly, treating chronic pain secondary to CP remains a difficult clinical problem to manage, as the current pain treatment is often unsatisfactory and accompanied with undesirable side effects.

To date, several studies have demonstrated that the pain is largely driven by central mechanisms rather than morphological changes of the pancreas organ. The purpose of this Ph.D. project was to perform a multimodal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain assessment of structural, functional and metabolic properties to provide more objective information about the role of the CNS in the pathophysiology of chronic pain in CP.

This multimodal MRI study provides strong evidence of structural and functional reorganization in CP patients, in addition to metabolic brain alterations. Taken together, these brain alterations may arise from a combination of both sustained nociceptive effect of long-lasting pain and previous neurotoxic effect of alcohol. This knowledge contributes to improve insight into pain mechanisms and treatment in CP, suggesting that the treatment must also be aimed at the CNS. The first step in treating pain could be examination and profiling the sensory system in CP patients, enabling the clinicians to provide a more precise and effective (personalized) treatment based on the central pain mechanisms. Additionally, this Ph.D. thesis also provides valuable knowledge to design future clinical studies with painful CP patients.

The thesis is based on three peer-reviewed papers and an additional paper, which is under review. Those four papers are compiling data from two studies; a longitudinal study and a cross-sectional study. The main results from both studies will be presented at the PhD defense.


Department of Clinical Medicine, Aalborg University and Aalborg University Hospital


Sdr. Skovvej 15, 9000 Aalborg

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