NOCIONS
Pain research at the Institute of Neuroscience
Université catholique de Louvain (UCL)

The ability to perceive pain is crucial for survival. Furthermore, pain is a major healthcare issue and its treatment, especially in the context of pathological chronic pain, constitutes a very problematic challenge for physicians. Because of its aversive quality and its high prevalence, chronic pain affects the quality of life of millions of individuals and imposes a severe financial burden upon our societies. Yet, how the perception of pain emerges from human brain activity remains a largely unresolved enigma. The nociceptive system, conducting noxious sensory input from the periphery to the brain, is not a static hardwired system. Following injury, inflammation or sustained noxious input, plastic changes in nociceptive pathways take place at both peripheral and central levels. These changes lead to sensitization and are thought to contribute largely to the establishment and maintenance of chronic pain.

Therefore, progress in understanding the neural representation of pain in humans is not only important for basic neuroscience research. Indeed, it is also critical to develop effective strategies for the diagnosis and management of pathological pain conditions.

The core objective of our research group is to progress in our understanding of the neural processes underlying the perception of pain, by developping new approaches to identify and characterize activity specifically related to the processing of noxious input in humans.

The research activity of our lab is organized along two axes: (1) research on the physiology of the nociceptive system in humans (in particular, the cortical processes underlying the perception of pain) and (2) research on the pathophysiology of the nociceptive system in humans (in particular, the peripheral and central mechanisms leading to chronic pain). Both lines of research involve (3) the development of novel methods to activate the nociceptive system and (4) the development of novel methods to analyse neurophysiological data.

André Mouraux pain research EEG nociception letswave software analysis free matlab wavelets toolbox nocions

The NOCIONS lab is part of the Institute of Neuroscience (IONS) of the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL).  See also the 2013-2014 and 2011-2012 activities report of the Institute.

Publications

Enhanced brainstem and cortical encoding of sound during synchronized movement

Nozaradan S, Schönwiesner M, Caron-Desrochers L, Lehmann A. Neuroimage (2016); in press.

Secondary hyperalgesia is mediated by heat-insensitive A-fiber nociceptors

van den Broeke E, Lenoir C, Mouraux A. J Physiol (2016); in press.

Measuring Neural Entrainment to Beat and Meter in Infants: Effects of Music Background.

Cirelli LK, Spinelli C, Nozaradan S, Trainor LJ. Front Neurosci (2016); 10:229.

Using temporal order judgments to investigate attention bias towards pain and threat-related information. Methodological and theoretical issues

Filbrich L, Torta DM, Vanderclausen C, Azanon E, Legrain V. Consciousness and Cognition (2016); 41:135-8. [PDF]

What's coming near? The influence of dynamic visual stimuli on nociceptive processing

De Paepe AL, Crombez G, Legrain V. PLoS ONE (2016); 11(5):e0155864. [PDF]

Touch uses frictional cues to discriminate flat materials

Gueorguiev D, Bochereau S, Mouraux A, Hayward V, Thonnard JL. Nature : Scientific Reports (2016); 6:25553. [PDF]

Nociceptive local field potentials recorded from the human insula are not specific for nociception

Liberati G, Klocker A, Safronova MM, Ferrao Santos S, Ribeiro Vaz JG, Raftopoulos C, Mouraux A. PLoS Biology (2016); 14(1):e1002345. [PDF]

Physiologie, exploration et troubles de l'olfaction

Huart C, Mouraux A, Rombaux P. In : EMC en oto-rhinolaryngologie. (EMC, Ed.). Les traités EMC. Elsevier-Masson. 2016.

EEG frequency tagging to explore the cortical activity related to the tactile exploration of natural textures

Moungou A, Thonnard JL, Mouraux A. Nature : Nature : Scientific Reports (2016); 6:20738. [PDF]

Exploration fonctionnelle et troubles du gout

Huart C, Mouraux A, Rombaux P. In : EMC en oto-rhinolaryngologie. (EMC, Ed.). Les traités EMC. Elsevier-Masson. 2016.

Peripheral vs. central determinants of vibrotactile adaptation

Klocker A, Gueorguiev D, Thonnard JL, Mouraux A. J Neurophysiol (2015); 115(2):685-91. [PDF].

A novel method using EEG to characterize the cortical processes involved in active and passive touch

Moungou A, Thonnard JL, Mouraux A. IEEE Haptics Symposium (2016); IEEE - Haptic Symposium 2016, Apr 2016, Philadelphia, United States. [PDF]

The rostral ventro-medial medulla (RVM) control of cutaneous vasomotion of paws and tail in the rat. Implication for pain studies

El Bitar N, Pollin B, Huang G, Mouraux A, Le Bars D. J Neurophysiol (2015); 115: 773-789. [PDF]

Watching what's coming near increases tactile sensitivity: an experimental investigation

Van der Biest L, Legrain V, De Paepe A, Crombez G. Behav Brain Res (2015) (in press). [PDF]

Characterizing pinprick evoked brain potentials before and after experimentally-induced secondary hyperalgesia

van den Broeke E, Mouraux A, Groneberg A, Pfau D, Treede RD, Klein T. J Neurophysiol (2015); 114(5):2672-81. [PDF]

The effect of heterotopic noxious conditioning stimulation on Ad-, C- and Ab-fiber brain responses in humans.

Torta DM, Churyukanov M, Plaghki L, Mouraux A. Eur J Neurosci (2015); 42(9):2707-15. [PDF]

Using EEG (SS-EPs) to characterize the brain activity in response to textured stimuli in passive touch

Moungou A, Thonnard JL, Mouraux A. IEEE World Haptics Conference (2015); 7177700: 113-118. 

From a somatotopic to a spatiotopic frame of reference for the localization of nociceptive stimuli

De Paepe AL, Crombez G, Legrain V. PLoS ONE. (2015) 10(8):e0137120. [PDF]

Evoked potentials in relation to pain perception

Mouraux A, Iannetti GD, Baumgartner U, Treede RD. In: The brain adapting with pain: Contribution of neuroimaging technology to pain mechanisms. Apkarian AV (Ed). IASP Press, (in press). 

The ‘pain matrix’: myths and (unpleasant) truths.

Iannetti GD, Mouraux A. In: The brain adapting with pain: Contribution of neuroimaging technology to pain mechanisms. Apkarian AV (Ed). IASP Press, (2015)

Electrophysiological techniques to study the supraspinal responses to nociceptive input in humans

Mouraux A. In : Pain persistence after surgery and altered central processing: science and clinical practice. Wilder-Smith OHG, Arendt-Nielsen L, Yarnitski D and Vissers K (Eds). IASP Press, (2015).

Use of prism adaptation in children with unilateral brain lesion: is it feasible?

Riquelme I, Henne C, Flament B, Legrain V, Bleyenheuft Y, Hatem S. Use of prism adaptation in children with unilateral brain lesion: is it feasible? Research in Developmental Disabilities (2015); 43-44:61-71. [PDF]

Unirhinal olfactory testing for the diagnostic workup of mild cognitive impairment

Huart C, Rombaux P, Gérard T, Hanseeuw B, Lhommel R, Quenon L, Ivanoiu A, Mouraux A. J Alzheimers Dis (2015); 47(1): 253-270. [PDF]

Cognitive psychology and neuropsychology of nociception and pain.

Legrain V, Torta DM. (2015) In: Pickering G., Gibson S. (Eds). Pain, Emotion and Cognition: a Complex Nexus (pp. 3-20). Cham: Springer. [PDF]

Prisms for pain. Can visuo-motor rehabilitation strategies alleviate chronic pain?

Torta DM, Legrain V, Rossetti Y, Mouraux A. Eur J Pain (2015) (in press). [PDF]

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