Show Summary Details
Page of

A signature of pain in the brain 

A signature of pain in the brain
Chapter:
A signature of pain in the brain
Author(s):

Pierre Rainville

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198834359.003.0029
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD MEDICINE ONLINE (www.oxfordmedicine.com). © Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Medicine Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 16 January 2021

The discovery of pain biomarkers has profound implications for both pharmacology and neurobiology; in 2013, in the landmark paper discussed in this chapter, Wager et al. presented a neurologic signature of pain based on human brain imaging performed in healthy individuals administered experimental heat-pain stimuli. Using advanced analytic methods based on machine learning and multivariate pattern analysis, Wagner et al. provide very convincing support for the idea that pain is encoded in a distinctive pattern of brain activity in one or several brain areas typically referred to as the ‘pain matrix’, which acts as a saliency detection system for the body. Although the usage of such tool to infer pain in patients poses major challenges and is clearly not indicated in medico-legal contexts, the study provides experimental proof of concept in favour of a pattern theory of pain as well as for a specificity theory of pain.

Access to the complete content on Oxford Medicine Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.