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      Differential neurophysiological correlates of bottom-up and top-down modulations of pain.

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          Abstract

          The perception of pain is highly variable. It depends on bottom-up-mediated factors like stimulus intensity and top-down-mediated factors like expectations. In the brain, pain is associated with a complex pattern of neuronal responses including evoked potentials and induced responses at alpha and gamma frequencies. Although they all covary with stimulus intensity and pain perception, responses at gamma frequencies can be particularly closely related to the perception of pain. It is, however, unclear whether this association holds true across all types of pain modulation. Here, we used electroencephalography to directly compare bottom-up- and top-down-mediated modulations of pain, which were implemented by changes in stimulus intensity and placebo analgesia, respectively. The results show that stimulus intensity modulated pain-evoked potentials and pain-induced alpha and gamma responses. In contrast, placebo analgesia was associated with changes of evoked potentials, but not of alpha and gamma responses. These findings reveal that pain-related neuronal responses are differentially sensitive to bottom-up and top-down modulations of pain, indicating that they provide complementary information about pain perception. The results further show that pain-induced gamma oscillations do not invariably encode pain perception but may rather represent a marker of sensory processing whose influence on pain perception varies with behavioral context.

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          FieldTrip: Open Source Software for Advanced Analysis of MEG, EEG, and Invasive Electrophysiological Data

          This paper describes FieldTrip, an open source software package that we developed for the analysis of MEG, EEG, and other electrophysiological data. The software is implemented as a MATLAB toolbox and includes a complete set of consistent and user-friendly high-level functions that allow experimental neuroscientists to analyze experimental data. It includes algorithms for simple and advanced analysis, such as time-frequency analysis using multitapers, source reconstruction using dipoles, distributed sources and beamformers, connectivity analysis, and nonparametric statistical permutation tests at the channel and source level. The implementation as toolbox allows the user to perform elaborate and structured analyses of large data sets using the MATLAB command line and batch scripting. Furthermore, users and developers can easily extend the functionality and implement new algorithms. The modular design facilitates the reuse in other software packages.
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            The cerebral signature for pain perception and its modulation.

            Our understanding of the neural correlates of pain perception in humans has increased significantly since the advent of neuroimaging. Relating neural activity changes to the varied pain experiences has led to an increased awareness of how factors (e.g., cognition, emotion, context, injury) can separately influence pain perception. Tying this body of knowledge in humans to work in animal models of pain provides an opportunity to determine common features that reliably contribute to pain perception and its modulation. One key system that underpins the ability to change pain intensity is the brainstem's descending modulatory network with its pro- and antinociceptive components. We discuss not only the latest data describing the cerebral signature of pain and its modulation in humans, but also suggest that the brainstem plays a pivotal role in gating the degree of nociceptive transmission so that the resultant pain experienced is appropriate for the particular situation of the individual.
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              Cognitive and emotional control of pain and its disruption in chronic pain.

              Chronic pain is one of the most prevalent health problems in our modern world, with millions of people debilitated by conditions such as back pain, headache and arthritis. To address this growing problem, many people are turning to mind-body therapies, including meditation, yoga and cognitive behavioural therapy. This article will review the neural mechanisms underlying the modulation of pain by cognitive and emotional states - important components of mind-body therapies. It will also examine the accumulating evidence that chronic pain itself alters brain circuitry, including that involved in endogenous pain control, suggesting that controlling pain becomes increasingly difficult as pain becomes chronic.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Pain
                Pain
                1872-6623
                0304-3959
                Feb 2015
                : 156
                : 2
                Affiliations
                [1 ] aDepartment of Neurology, Technische Universität München, Munich, Germany bTUM-Neuroimaging Center, Technische Universität München, Munich, Germany cDepartment of Neurology, University Hospital Essen, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany.
                00006396-201502000-00013
                10.1097/01.j.pain.0000460309.94442.44
                25599450

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