Pain research at the Institute of Neuroscience - 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]

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