Pain perception, hypnosis and 40 Hz oscillations
Croft RJ, Williams JD, Haenschel C, Gruzelier JH.
Department of Cognitive Neuroscience and Behaviour,
Imperial College London, Medical Faculty,
St Dunstan's Road, W68 RF, London, UK.
Int J Psychophysiol. 2002 Nov;46(2):101-8


A number of brain regions are associated with the subjective experience of pain. This study adds to our understanding of the neural mechanisms involved in pain by considering the relation between cortical oscillations in response to pain, with and without hypnosis and hypnotic analgesia, and the subjective experience of pain. Thirty-three subjects' neural responses (EEG) were measured during the 40-540 ms period following phasic electrical stimulations to the right hand, under control and hypnosis conditions. Resultant FFT amplitudes for frequencies ranging from 8 to 100 Hz were computed. These were grouped into 7 scalp topographies, and for each frequency, relations between these topographies and pain ratings, performance and stimulus intensity measures were assessed. Gamma activity (32-100 Hz) over prefrontal scalp sites predicted subject pain ratings in the control condition (r=0.50, P=0.004), and no other frequency/topography combination did. This relation was present in both high and low hypnotisable subjects and was independent of performance and stimulus intensity measures. This relation was unchanged by hypnosis in the low hypnotisable subjects but was not present in the highs during hypnosis, suggesting that hypnosis interferes with this pain/gamma relation. This study provides evidence for the role of gamma oscillations in the subjective experience of pain. Further, it is in keeping with the view that hypnosis involves the dissociation of prefrontal cortex from other neural functions.
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Franklin Commission Report on Animal Magnetism
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