Patterns of activity can be seen in certain parts of the brain when participants are told they will feel pain. © SFB Treatment Expectation
Where can expectations and treatment of pain be seen in the brain?
When a patient feels pain, this can be visualised as neural activity patterns in the brain using imaging techniques. This study investigates whether and how expectations of pain can be seen in the brain and influence the sensation of pain.
Positive and negative expectations influence tonic pain: the role of neural activity patterns
This project uses functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study the application of prolonged experimental pain stimuli that resemble chronic pain in their duration and variability. Two studies will investigate a) the role of neural patterns and their effects on positive and negative expectations of pain and b) the experimental modulation of side effect experiences to increase expectations of analgesic treatments and their effect on pain. This project will focus on the role of the mesolimbic reward system and how it interacts with the prefrontal cortex and areas of pain processing.
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Horing B, Sprenger C, Büchel C (2019) The parietal operculum preferentially encodes heat pain and not salience. PLOS Biology 17:e3000205. PubMed
Wimmer EG, Büchel C (2019) Learning of distant state predictions by the orbitofrontal cortex in humans. Nature Communications 10:2554. PubMed