Brain responses to hypnotic verbal suggestions predict pain modulation


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Desmarteaux, C., Streff, A., Chen, J-I, Houzé, B., Piché, M. et Rainville, P. (2021). Brain responses to hypnotic verbal suggestions predict pain modulation. Frontiers in Pain Research, 2 . Article 757384. ISSN 2673-561X DOI 10.3389/fpain.2021.757384

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The effectiveness of hypnosis in reducing pain is well supported by the scientific literature. Hypnosis typically involves verbal suggestions but the mechanisms by which verbal contents are transformed into predictive signals to modulate perceptual processes remain unclear. We hypothesized that brain activity during verbal suggestions would predict the modulation of responses to acute nociceptive stimuli.
Brain activity was measured using BOLD-fMRI in healthy participants while they listened to verbal suggestions of HYPERALGESIA, HYPOALGESIA, or NORMAL sensation (control) following a standardized hypnosis induction. Immediately after the suggestions, series of noxious electrical stimuli were administered to assess pain-related responses. Brain responses measured during the suggestions were then used to predict changes in pain-related responses using delayed regression analyses.
Listening to suggestions of HYPERALGESIA and HYPOALGESIA produced BOLD decreases (vs. control) in the parietal operculum (PO) and in the anterior midcingulate cortex (aMCC), and increases in the left parahippocampal gyrus (lPHG). Changes in activity in PO, aMCC and PHG during the suggestions predicted larger pain-evoked responses following the HYPERALGESIA suggestions in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and the anterior insula (aINS), and smaller pain-evoked responses following the HYPOALGESIA suggestions in the ACC, aMCC, posterior insula (pINS) and thalamus. These changes in pain-evoked brain responses are consistent with the changes in pain perception reported by the participants in HYPERALGESIA and HYPOALGESIA, respectively.
The fronto-parietal network (supracallosal ACC and PO) has been associated with self-regulation and perceived self-agency. Deactivation of these regions during suggestions is predictive of the modulation of brain responses to noxious stimuli in areas previously associated with pain perception and pain modulation. The response of the hippocampal complex may reflect its role in contextual learning, memory and pain anticipation/expectations induced by verbal suggestions of pain modulation. This study provides a basis to further explore the transformation of verbal suggestions into perceptual modulatory processes fundamental to hypnosis neurophenomenology. These findings are discussed in relation to predictive coding models.

Type de document: Article
Mots-clés libres: Hypnosis Suggestion Pain Predictive coding model fMRI
Date de dépôt: 14 mars 2022 17:52
Dernière modification: 14 mars 2022 17:57
Version du document déposé: Version officielle de l'éditeur

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