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Linking pain and the body: neural correlates of visually induced analgesia

Longo, Matthew R. and Iannetti, G.D. and Mancini, F. and Driver, J. and Haggard, P. (2012) Linking pain and the body: neural correlates of visually induced analgesia. Journal of Neuroscience 32 (8), pp. 2601-2607. ISSN 0270-6474.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4031-11.2012

Abstract

The visual context of seeing the body can reduce the experience of acute pain, producing a multisensory analgesia. Here we investigated the neural correlates of this “visually induced analgesia” using fMRI. We induced acute pain with an infrared laser while human participants looked either at their stimulated right hand or at another object. Behavioral results confirmed the expected analgesic effect of seeing the body, while fMRI results revealed an associated reduction of laser-induced activity in ipsilateral primary somatosensory cortex (SI) and contralateral operculoinsular cortex during the visual context of seeing the body. We further identified two known cortical networks activated by sensory stimulation: (1) a set of brain areas consistently activated by painful stimuli (the so-called “pain matrix”), and (2) an extensive set of posterior brain areas activated by the visual perception of the body (“visual body network”). Connectivity analyses via psychophysiological interactions revealed that the visual context of seeing the body increased effective connectivity (i.e., functional coupling) between posterior parietal nodes of the visual body network and the purported pain matrix. Increased connectivity with these posterior parietal nodes was seen for several pain-related regions, including somatosensory area SII, anterior and posterior insula, and anterior cingulate cortex. These findings suggest that visually induced analgesia does not involve an overall reduction of the cortical response elicited by laser stimulation, but is consequent to the interplay between the brain's pain network and a posterior network for body perception, resulting in modulation of the experience of pain.

Item Type: Article
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Science > Psychological Sciences
Depositing User: Dr Matthew R Longo
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2012 13:50
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:33
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/4526

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