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The shadows of pain A major roadblock in understanding pain mecha-

Summary: Editorial
The shadows of pain
A major roadblock in understanding pain mecha-
nisms is, arguably, the current limitation regarding the
precise dynamics exhibited by the cortex during percep-
tion of a painful experience. Certainly, researchers will
welcome Ohara and colleagues' (2006) report (on page
244 of this issue) on the fascinating possibility that pain
can be traced to the emergence of large-scale synchrony,
occurring at two distinctive frequency bands; a synchro-
ny that can be enhanced or destroyed by attention and
distraction. These results seem to suggest that what
matters most, in the case of cortical dynamics during
pain, is not the oscillations by themselves but the syn-
chrony. In previous work, the authors have already
shown how various cortical regions engage in long-
range oscillations. Here, Ohara and colleagues used a
laser as a nociceptive skin stimulus while recording
from the surface of primary somatosensory (SI), para-
sylvian (PS) and medial frontal (MF) cortices through


Source: Apkarian, A. Vania - Department of Physiology, Northwestern University


Collections: Biology and Medicine