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NOCIONS

Pain research at UCLouvain

Institute of Neuroscience (IONS)

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.

Recent publications

Human surrogate models of central sensitization: a critical review and practical guide

European Journal of Pain

2021

Quesada C, Kostenko A, Ho I, Leone C, Nochi Z, Stouffs A, Wittayer M, Caspani O, Finnerup NB, Mouraux A, Pickering G, Tracey I, Truini A, Treede RD, Garcia-Larrea L.

Challenges and opportunities in translational pain research - an opinion paper of the working group on translational pain research of the European Pain Federation (EFIC)

European Journal of Pain

2021

Mouraux A, Bannister K, Becker S, Finn DP, Pickering G, Pogatzki-Zahn E, Graven-Nielsen T.

Visuomotor impairments in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome during pointing tasks

Pain

2020

Verfaille C, Filbrich L, Rossetti Y, Berquin A, Mouraux D, Barbier O, Libouton X, Fraselle V, Legrain V.

Rating the Intensity of a Laser Stimulus, but Not Attending to Changes in Its Location or Intensity Modulates the Laser-Evoked Cortical Activity

Frontiers in Human Neuroscience

2020

Torta DME, Ninghetto M, Ricci R, Legrain V.

No evidence for an effect of the distance between the hands on tactile temporal order judgments.

Perception

2021

Manfron L, Vanderclausen C, Legrain V.

Perceptual correlates of homosynaptic long term potentiation in human nociceptive pathways: a replication study

Royal Society Open Science

2020

van den Broeke EN, Vanmaele T, Mouraux A, Stouffs A, Biurrun-Manresa J, Torta DM

New insights into cutaneous laser stimulation – dependency on skin and laser type

Neuroscience

2020

Frahm KS, Gervasio S, Arguissain F, Mouraux A.

Investigating perceptual simultaneity between nociceptive and visual stimuli by means of temporal order judgments

Neuroscience Letters

2020

Manfron L, Filbrich L, Nijs E, Mouraux A, Legrain V.

Measuring the sensitivity of tactile temporal order judgments in sighted and blind participants using the adaptive psi method

Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics

2021

Vanderclausen C, Filbrich L, De Volder A, Legrain V.

Insular responses to transient painful and non-painful thermal and mechanical spinothalamic stimuli recorded using intracerebral EEG

Nature: Scientific Reports

2020

Liberati G, Mulders D, Algoet M, van den Broeke EN, Ferrao Santos S, Ribeiro Vaz JG, Raftopoulos C, Mouraux A.

Assessing thermal sensitivity using transient heat and cold stimuli combined with a Bayesian adaptive method in a clinical setting: a proof of concept study

European Journal of Pain

2020

Courtin AS, Maldonado Slootjes S, Caty G, Hermans MP, Plaghki L, Mouraux A.

Improving the recording of pinprick-evoked brain potentials in the context of central sensitization: the use of robot-controlled mechanical pinprick stimulation and a stimulus evaluation task

Clinical Neurophysiology

2020

van den Broeke EN, de Hemptinne P, Mercken M, Torta DM, Lambert J, Mouraux A.

Neuroscience research pain research EEG postoperative pain sensitization spinal cord neuroinflammation TMS EEG laser-evoked potentials research neuropathic

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.

Research group led by André Mouraux (IONS/COSY)

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 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 group led by Valéry Legrain (IONS/COSY)

The main research interest of the team led by Valery Legrain 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 group led by Giulia Liberati (IONS/COSY)

The group of Giulia Liberati aims to characterize how transient and sustained pain are represented in the human brain, taking advantage of the high temporal and spatial resolution of intracerebral electroencephalography (iEEG). She is particularly interested in investigating the role of the human insula in nociception and pain perception, as several findings suggest that this brain region plays a crucial role in the integration of sensory, affective, and cognitive dimensions of pain.

Research team led by Emmanuel Hermans (IONS/CEMO)

The research group of Prof. Emmanuel Hermans 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.

NOCIONS

Institute of Neuroscience (IoNS)

53 Avenue Mounier, B1200, Brussels, Belgium

+32(0)2 764 54 47

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