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Distinguishing pain from nociception, salience, and arousal: How autonomic nervous system activity can improve neuroimaging tests of specificity.

08:00 EDT 8th October 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Distinguishing pain from nociception, salience, and arousal: How autonomic nervous system activity can improve neuroimaging tests of specificity."

Pain is a subjective, multidimensional experience that is distinct from nociception. A large body of work has focused on whether pain processing is supported by specific, dedicated brain circuits. Despite advances in human neuroscience and neuroimaging analysis, dissociating acute pain from other sensations has been challenging since both pain and non-pain stimuli evoke salience and arousal responses throughout the body and in overlapping brain circuits. In this review, we discuss these challenges and propose that brain-body interactions in pain can be leveraged in order to improve tests for pain specificity. We review brain and bodily responses to pain and nociception and extant efforts toward identifying pain-specific brain networks. We propose that autonomic nervous system activity should be used as a surrogate measure of salience and arousal to improve these efforts and enable researchers to parse out pain-specific responses in the brain, and demonstrate the feasibility of this approach using example fMRI data from a thermal pain paradigm. This new approach will improve the accuracy and specificity of functional neuroimaging analyses and help to overcome current difficulties in assessing pain specific responses in the human brain.

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This article was published in the following journal.

Name: NeuroImage
ISSN: 1095-9572
Pages: 116254

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