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Functional Imaging Contributions to Chasing Pain 

Functional Imaging Contributions to Chasing Pain
Functional Imaging Contributions to Chasing Pain

Kenneth L. Casey

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date: 20 September 2020

Functional imaging shows that activity in the limbic and parietal cerebral cortices, the hypothalamus, and medial brainstem of the awake, resting human brain is relatively increased during emotional states. The central nervous system (CNS) limbic and sensory systems that are conjointly activated during pain can be independently enhanced by manipulating selectively the affective or sensory-discriminative components of pain. The CNS structures creating pain overlap extensively with those activated during highly salient but otherwise painless sensory events, and their activity is modulated by a wide range of cognitive processes such as attention and expectation that are mediated through the cerebral cortex. The spatial pattern of CNS activations and their functional connectivity changes as pain is modulated and develops over times ranging from seconds to years. Patients with chronically painful conditions may have changes in the volume of cerebral structures such as the frontal lobe that participate in the modulation of pain intensity and duration.

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