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

The ability to perceive pain is crucial for survival, but pain is also a major healthcare issue as its treatment 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. 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.

Basic, translational and clinical pain research at the Institute of Neuroscience (IONS). Better understanding the neural processes underlying the perception of pain and developing novel means to diagnose and manage chronic pain conditions constitutes the core objective of several research groups and clinicians within our institute. 

The research teams are based at 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.

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

Research team led by André Mouraux

Using non-invasive functional neuroimaging techniques such as electroencephalography (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), combined with novel techniques to selectively activate specific classes of nociceptive afferents, the research performed by the team of André Mouraux (IONS/COSY) follows two main axes. First, to understand how the human brain processes nociceptive sensory input and how this leads to the perception of pain. Second, to understand the plastic changes in nociceptive pathways that occur after inflammation, injury or sustained nociceptive input that induce peripheral and central sensitization and may underlie the development of chronic pain in humans.

 

Research team led by Valery Legrain

The main research interest of the team led by Valery Legrain (IONS/COSY) is to understand the cognitive mechanisms modulating the link between nociception and the conscious perception of pain, and the neurobiological substrates of these cognitive mechanisms. Different approaches are used: neurophysiology (event-related brain potentials), cognitive psychology (mental chronometry) and neuropsychology (investigation of patients with sensory-motor or attentional deficits).
 

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

 

Research team led by Valery Legrain

The main research interest of the team led by Valery Legrain (IONS/COSY) is to understand the cognitive mechanisms modulating the link between nociception and the conscious perception of pain, and the neurobiological substrates of these cognitive mechanisms. Different approaches are used: neurophysiology (event-related brain potentials), cognitive psychology (mental chronometry) and neuropsychology (investigation of patients with sensory-motor or attentional deficits).
 

 

Research team led by Emmanuel Hermans


The research group of Prof. Emmanuel Hermans (IONS/CEMO) has a long-standing expertise in the use of animal models to study the neuroinflammation and plastic changes of the central nervous system induced by neurotrauma, and its involvement in the development of neuropathic pain. His laboratory has experience in the production of animal models of neuropathic pain, the techniques used to study the pain behaviour of these animals, and the immune-histological techniques to characterize the glial activation and changes in nociceptive pathways at peripheral, spinal and supra-spinal level.
 

 

Clinical pain research at the University Hospital


At the Cliniques universitaires Saint Luc, the Department of Anaesthesiology is involved in several clinical research projects focusing on the problematic of chronic post-operative pain. The multidisciplinary Chronic Pain Consultation led by Prof. Anne Berquin is involved in clinical research projects aiming at improving the multidisciplinary management of patients with chronic pain, including the development of new psychophysical techniques to assess patients with neuropathic pain, new bio-psycho-social approaches for the care of patients with chronic regional pain syndrome and chronic widespread pain.

Letswave 6

Letswave is a free toolbox to analyze electroencephalographic (EEG) and other neurophysiological signals, running in Matlab. As compared to existing signal processing toolboxes, emphasis is placed on intuitive and streamlined tools to process and visualize neurophysiological signals, with a shallow learning curve. The new version provides advanced scripting possibilities. 
 
 

Publications

Selective neuronal entrainment to the beat and meter embedded in a musical rhythm.

Nozaradan S, Peretz I, Mouraux A. J Neurosci (2012); 32(49):17572-81. [PDF]

Cognitive aspects of nociception and pain. Bridging neurophysiology with cognitive psychology.

Legrain V, Mancini F, Sambo CF, Torta DM, Ronga I, Valentini E. Neurophysiol Clin (2012); 42(5): 325-36. [PDF]

Chronic postsurgical pain

Steyaert A, De Kock M. Curr Opin Anaesthesiol (2012); 25(5):584-8. 

Automated single-trial assessment of laser-evoked potentials as an objective functional diagnostic tool for the nociceptive system

Hatem SM, Hu L, Ragé M, Gierasimowicz-Fontana A, Plaghki L, Bouhassira D, Attal N, Iannetti GD, Mouraux A. Clin Neurophysiol (2012); 123(12): 2437-45. [PDF]

Gamma-band oscillations in the primary somatosensory cortex - a direct and obligatory correlate of subjective pain intensity.

Zhang ZG, Lu H, Hung YS, Mouraux A, Iannetti GD. J Neurosci (2012) 32(22): 7429-38. [PDF]

 

Assessment of chemosensory function using electroencephalographic techniques.

Rombaux P, Huart C, Mouraux A. Rhinology (2012) 50(1): 13-21. [PDF]

Adaptation visuo-motrice et représentations corporelles: de la négligence au syndrome douloureux régional complexe.

Jacquin-Courtois S, Legrain V, Sumitani JP, Muyauchi S, Rossetti Y. La Lettre de Médecine Physique et de Réadaptation (2012); 28: 93-8. [PDF]

Dyspnea-pain counter-irritation induced by inspiratory threshold loading: a laser evoked potentials study.

Bouvier G, La Violette L, Kindler F, Naccache L, Mouraux A, Similowski T, Morelot-Panzini C. J Appl Physiol (2012) 112(7):1166-73.

Dishabituation of laser-evoked EEG responses: dissecting the effect of certain and uncertain changes in stimulus spatial location.

Torta DM, Liang M, Valentini E, Mouraux A, Iannetti GD. Exp Brain Res (2012) 218(3): 361-72. [PDF]

Pain, body, and space: what do patients with complex regional pain syndrome really neglect?

Legrain V, Bultitude JH, De Paepe A, Rossetti Y. Pain (2012); 153: 948-951. [PDF]

The depth of the olfactory sulcus is an indicator of congenital anosmia

Huart C, Meusel T, Gerber J, Duprez T, Rombaux P, Hummel T. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol (2011); 32(10):1911-4.

Steady-state evoked potentials to tag specific components of nociceptive cortical processing.

Colon E, Nozaradan S, Legrain V, Mouraux A. Neuroimage (2011); 60(1):571-581. [PDF]

Steady-state evoked potentials as an index of multisensory temporal binding

Nozaradan S, Peretz I, Mouraux A. Neuroimage (2011); 60(1): 21-28. [PDF]

Tagging the neuronal entrainment to beat and meter

Nozaradan S, Peretz I, Missal M, Mouraux A. J Neurosci (2011) 31(28): 10234-40. [PDF]

Nociceptive steady-state evoked potentials elicited by rapid periodic thermal stimulation of cutaneous nociceptors.

Mouraux A, Iannetti GD, Colon E, Legrain V, Nozaradan S, Plaghki L. J Neurosci (2011); 31(16): 6079-87. [PDF]

 

Can the fMRI responses to physical pain really tell us why social rejection "hurts"?

Mouraux A, Iannetti GD. PNAS (2011) 108(30): E343. [letter] [PDF]

Chemosensory function assessed with psychophysical testing and event-related potentials in patients with atrophic rhinitis.

Huart C, Eloy P, Collet S, Rombaux P. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol (2011); 269(1):135-41. [PDF]

Asymptomatic small fiber neuropathy in diabetes mellitus: investigations with intraepidermal nerve fiber density, quantitative sensory testing and laser-evoked potential.

Ragé M, Van Acker N, Knaapen MW, Timmers M, Streffer J, Hermans Mp, Sindic C, Meert T, Plaghki L. J Neurol (2011); 258(10):1852-64. [PDF]

Enhanced neuroinflammation and pain hypersensitivity after peripheral nerve injury in rats expressing mutated superoxide dismutase 1

Berger JV, Deumens R, Goursaud S, Schäfer S, Lavand'homme P, Joosten EA, Hermans E. J Neuroinflammation (2011); 8:33.

Multimodal therapeutic assessment of peripheral nerve stimulation in neuropathic pain: Five case reports with a 20-year follow-up.

 Kupers R, Laere KV, Calenbergh FV, Gybels J, Dupont P, Baeck A, Plaghki L. Eur J Pain (2011); 15(2): 161.e1-9. [PDF]

Dishabituation of laser-evoked EEG responses: dissecting the effect of certain and uncertain changes in stimulus modality

Valentini E, Torta D, Mouraux A, Iannetti GD. J Cog Neurosci (2011) (in press). [PDF]

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