Distraction affects frontal alpha rhythms related to expectancy of pain

An EEG study

Claudio Del Percio, Domenica Le Pera, Lars Arendt-Nielsen, Claudio Babiloni, Alfredo Brancucci, Andrew C N Chen, Liala De Armas, Roberto Miliucci, Domenico Restuccia, Massimiliano Valeriani, Paolo Maria Rossini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Previous electroencephalographic (EEG) evidence has shown event-related desynchronization (ERD) of alpha rhythms before predictable painful stimuli, as a possible neural concomitant of attentional preparatory processes (Babiloni, C., Brancucci, A., Babiloni, F., Capotosto, P., Carducci, F., Cincotti, F., Arendt-Nielsen, L., Chen, A.C., Rossini, P.M., 2003. Anticipatory cortical responses during the expectancy of a predictable painful stimulation. A high-resolution electroencephalography study. Eur. J. Neurosci. 18 (6) 1692-700). This study tested the hypothesis that alpha ERD before predictable painful stimuli is reduced as an effect of distraction. A visual warning stimulus preceded a laser painful stimulation, which was strictly followed by visual imperative stimuli. In the Pain (control) condition, no task was required after the imperative stimuli. In the Pain + Movement condition, subjects had to perform a movement of the right index finger. In the Pain + Cognition condition, they had to mentally perform an arithmetical task. EEG data were recorded in 10 subjects from 30 electrodes. Artifact-free recordings were spatially enhanced by surface Laplacian transformation. Alpha ERD was computed at three alpha sub-bands according to subjects' individual alpha frequency peak (i.e., about 6-8 Hz, 8-10 Hz, 10-12 Hz). Compared to the control condition, the subjects reported a significantly lower stimulus intensity perception and unpleasantness in the Pain + Movement and Pain + Cognition conditions. In addition, there was a cancellation of the alpha 3 ERD (i.e., about 10-12 Hz) in Pain + Cognition condition and even a generation of a statistically significant alpha 3 ERS in Pain + Movement condition. These effects were maximum over fronto-central midline. These results suggest that distraction during the expectancy of pain is related to a reduced neural desynchronization of fronto-central midline alpha rhythms (i.e., reduced cortical activation) towards an overt hyper-synchronization (cortical idling).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1268-1277
Number of pages10
JournalNeuroImage
Volume31
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2006

Fingerprint

Alpha Rhythm
Pain
Cognition
Cortical Synchronization
Artifacts
Fingers
Electroencephalography
Electrodes
Lasers

Keywords

  • Alpha rhythms
  • Cognition
  • Distraction
  • Electroencephalography (EEG)
  • Event-related desynchronization/synchronization (ERD/ERS)
  • Pain
  • Sensorimotor interactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Neurology

Cite this

Distraction affects frontal alpha rhythms related to expectancy of pain : An EEG study. / Del Percio, Claudio; Le Pera, Domenica; Arendt-Nielsen, Lars; Babiloni, Claudio; Brancucci, Alfredo; Chen, Andrew C N; De Armas, Liala; Miliucci, Roberto; Restuccia, Domenico; Valeriani, Massimiliano; Rossini, Paolo Maria.

In: NeuroImage, Vol. 31, No. 3, 01.07.2006, p. 1268-1277.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Del Percio, C, Le Pera, D, Arendt-Nielsen, L, Babiloni, C, Brancucci, A, Chen, ACN, De Armas, L, Miliucci, R, Restuccia, D, Valeriani, M & Rossini, PM 2006, 'Distraction affects frontal alpha rhythms related to expectancy of pain: An EEG study', NeuroImage, vol. 31, no. 3, pp. 1268-1277. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2006.01.013
Del Percio, Claudio ; Le Pera, Domenica ; Arendt-Nielsen, Lars ; Babiloni, Claudio ; Brancucci, Alfredo ; Chen, Andrew C N ; De Armas, Liala ; Miliucci, Roberto ; Restuccia, Domenico ; Valeriani, Massimiliano ; Rossini, Paolo Maria. / Distraction affects frontal alpha rhythms related to expectancy of pain : An EEG study. In: NeuroImage. 2006 ; Vol. 31, No. 3. pp. 1268-1277.
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