Article

Imaging how attention modulates pain in human using functional MRI

Oxford University Department of Clinical Neurology, Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain, John Radcliffe Hospital, Headington, Oxford, UK.
Brain (Impact Factor: 9.2). 03/2002; 125(Pt 2):310-9.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

Current clinical and experimental literature strongly supports the phenomenon of reduced pain perception whilst attention is distracted away from noxious stimuli. This study used functional MRI to elucidate the underlying neural systems and mechanisms involved. An analogue of the Stroop task, the counting Stroop, was used as a cognitive distraction task whilst subjects received intermittent painful thermal stimuli. Pain intensity scores were significantly reduced when subjects took part in the more cognitively demanding interference task of the counting Stroop than in the less demanding neutral task. When subjects were distracted during painful stimulation, brain areas associated with the affective division of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and orbitofrontal regions showed increased activation. In contrast, many areas of the pain matrix (i.e. thalamus, insula, cognitive division of the ACC) displayed reduced activation, supporting the behavioural results of reduced pain perception.

  • Source
    • "The decrease in activity in emotional brain regions was related to the increase in activity in working memory regions of the brain, suggesting that increases in task load actually " tuned down " the emotional brain. Similar effects have been reported of working memory load on brain responses to painful stimuli (Bantick et al. 2002; Frankenstein et al. 2001). For example, pain intensity scores to thermal stimuli, as well as activity in areas of the pain matrix (i.e., thalamus, insula, the anterior cingulate cortex, ACC), are reduced significantly by high working memory load (Bantick et al. 2002). "

    Full-text · Chapter · Jan 2015
  • Source
    • "The decrease in activity in emotional brain regions was related to the increase in activity in working memory regions of the brain, suggesting that increases in task load actually " tuned down " the emotional brain. Similar effects have been reported of working memory load on brain responses to painful stimuli (Bantick et al. 2002; Frankenstein et al. 2001). For example, pain intensity scores to thermal stimuli, as well as activity in areas of the pain matrix (i.e., thalamus, insula, the anterior cingulate cortex, ACC), are reduced significantly by high working memory load (Bantick et al. 2002). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The current chapter examines attention strategies that may facilitate self-regulation. In particular, we focus on the attention strategies of distraction and mindfulness. By distraction, we mean shifting attention from the original object of attention onto a different focal object. Mindfulness, on the other hand, implies regulating the focus and the quality of one’s attention. This implies paying attention to the focal object, but at the same time observing one’s own thoughts and experiences and seeing them as mere mental events. We discuss evidence that distraction and mindfulness modulate the impact of affective information on thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Whereas the two strategies are seemingly opposing in nature, we have found that both distraction and mindfulness can undermine intrusive thinking patterns in response to affective information that normally result in more impulsive behavior. We show how the effectiveness of these strategies is reflected not only in behavioral measures of self-regulation success but in neurophysiological indices as well. Distraction seems to involve the increased engagement of prefrontal brain regions for task-related processing, whereas mindfulness training may affect the connectivity between control and affective brain regions. More broadly speaking, the present chapter shows that combining behavioral and neuroscience measures can be a particularly fruitful approach in understanding how attention strategies impact self-regulation.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015
  • Source
    • "Attentional focus is then directed away from the pain sensations and towards mental tasks. By using a pain-inducing activity (e.g., solving mental tasks), certain benefits would be expected (e.g., reduced pain perception while attention is distracted away from noxious stimuli) (Banestick et al., 2002; Johnson, 2005). Some ancillary evidence suggests that distraction should be used with caution; for instance, findings show that distraction from chronic pain (during a pain-inducing activity) is associated with greater post-activity pain (Goubert, Crombez, Eccleston, & Devulder, 2004). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) poses physiological and psychological demands on a person. RA is a autoimmune disease that can cause pain, disability, and suffering. The ability to notice bodily inner sensations and stimuli (body awareness, BA) is described in the literature in ways that could have either a positive or a negative impact on a person's health. The concept of BA is complex and a thorough understanding is needed about what BA means from the patient's perspective. This study was therefore conducted to acquire greater insight into this phenomenon. The study is grounded in a phenomenological life-world perspective. Eighteen narrative interviews were conducted in patients (age range 23-78 years) with RA. The interviews were analyzed using the Empirical Phenomenological Psychological method. General characteristics were found running through all 18 interviews, indicating that the disease resulted in a higher degree of negatively toned BA. BA was either a reactive process of searching or controlling after disease-related symptoms or a reactive process triggered by emotions. BA was an active process of taking an inventory of abilities. All participants had the ability to shift focus from BA to the outside world. Four typologies were identified: "A reactive process on symptoms," "A reactive process on emotional triggers," "An active process of taking an inventory of abilities," and "A shifting from BA to the outside world." In conclusion, because BA can be both positively and negatively toned, health care professionals must have a good understanding of when BA is positive and when it is negative in relation to the patient. RA had caused a higher degree of negatively toned BA. Thus, the ability to shift attention from BA to activity in the outside world could sometimes be beneficial for the patient's general health.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-Being
Show more