Oscillatory dynamics in the perception of pain investigated using magnetoencephalography

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Rossiter, Holly E.

This thesis investigates changes in the oscillatory dynamics in key areas of the pain matrix during different modalities of pain. Gamma oscillations were seen in the primary somatosensory cortex in response to somatic electrical stimulation at painful and non-painful intensities. The strength of the gamma oscillations was found to relate to the intensity of the stimulus. Gamma oscillations were not seen during distal oesophageal electrical stimulation or the cold pressor test. Gamma oscillations were not seen in all participants during somatic electrical stimulation, however clear evoked responses from SI were seen in everyone. During a train of electrical pulses to the median nerve and the digit, a decrease in the frequency of the gamma oscillations was seen across the duration of the train. During a train of electrical stimuli to the median nerve and the digit, gamma oscillations were seen at ~20-100ms following stimulus onset and at frequencies between 30-100Hz. This gamma response was found to have a strong evoked component. Following a single electrical pulse to the digit, gamma oscillations were seen at 100-250ms and between 60-95Hz and were not temporally coincident with the main components of the evoked response. These results suggest that gamma oscillations may have an important role in encoding different aspects of sensory stimuli within their characteristics such as strength and frequency. These findings help to elucidate how somatic stimuli are processed within the cortex which in turn may be used to understand abnormal cases of somatosensory processing.
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