Reproducibility of psychophysics and electroencephalography during offset analgesia

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Abstract

Background:

Offset analgesia (OA) is a pain-inhibiting mechanism, defined as a disproportionately large decrease in pain perception in response to a discrete decrease in noxious stimulus intensity. Hence, the aims were (1) to investigate whether psychophysics and electroencephalography (EEG) can be assessed simultaneously during OA and (2) to assess whether OA is reproducible within the same day as well as between different days.

Methods:

Two separate studies investigated OA: Study I (13 healthy volunteers; seven men; 25.5 ± 0.65 years) aimed at determining the feasibility of recording psychophysics and EEG simultaneously during OA. Study II (18 healthy volunteers; 12 men; 34 ± 3.15 years) assessed reproducibility of OA in terms of psychophysics and EEG. Subjects were presented to a 30-s OA heat stimulus paradigm on the volar forearm and psychophysics, and EEG recordings were obtained throughout the procedure. Reproducibility was assessed within the same day and between different days, using intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs). Additionally, the reproducible psychophysical parameters were correlated to relevant EEG frequency bands.

Results:

Simultaneous recording of psychophysics and EEG affects the frequency distribution in terms of alpha suppression. Reproducibility was proven for the psychophysics and EEG frequency bands both within the same day (all ICCs > 0.62) and between different days (all ICCs > 0.66, except for the delta band). Correlations between psychophysics and EEG were found in the theta (4–8 Hz), alpha (8–12 Hz) and gamma (32–80 Hz) bands (all p < 0.01).

Conclusion:

OA is a robust and reproducible model for experimental pain research, making it suitable for future research.

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