Expectation of nocebo hyperalgesia affects EEG alpha-activity | Academic Article individual record

Changes in EEG activity have been related to clinical and experimental pain. Expectation of a negative outcome can lead to pain enhancement (nocebo hyperalgesia) and can alter the response to therapeutic interventions. The present study characterizes EEG alteration related to pain facilitation by nocebo. Thirty healthy subjects were randomly assigned to the nocebo or control group. Five-minute EEG was recorded under: resting state, tonic innocuous heat and tonic noxious heat before and after the application of a sham inert cream to the non-dominant volar forearm combined with cognitive manipulation. The intensity and unpleasantness of heat-induced pain increased after cognitive manipulation in the nocebo group compared to control and was associated with enhanced low alpha (8-10Hz) activity. However, changes in alpha activity were predicted by catastrophizing but not by pain intensity or unpleasantness, which suggest that low alpha power might reflect brain activity related to negative cognitive-affective responses to pain.

author list (cited authors)
Albu, S., & Meagher, M. W.
publication date
Elsevier BV Publisher
  • Nocebo
  • Pain Facilitation
  • Eeg Alpha Power
  • Catastrophizing
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