NeuroBiography: A database of cognitive neuroscientists' lives & work
User: Guest
Lockwood PL, Iannetti GD, Haggard P (2013) Transcranial magnetic stimulation over human secondary somatosensory cortex disrupts perception of pain intensity. Cortex, 49(8):2201-2209    
Pain is a complex sensory experience resulting from the activity of a network of brain regions. However, the functional contribution of individual regions in this network remains poorly understood. We delivered single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to the contralateral primary somatosensory cortex (S1), secondary somatosensory cortex (S2) and vertex (control site) 120 msec after selective stimulation of nociceptive afferents using neodymium:yttrium–aluminium–perovskite (Nd:YAP) laser pulses causing painful sensations. Participants were required to judge either the intensity (medium/high) or the spatial location (proximal/distal) of the stimulus in a two-alternative forced choice paradigm. When TMS pulses were delivered over S2, participants' ability to judge pain intensity was disrupted, as compared to S1 and vertex (control) stimulation. Signal-detection analysis demonstrated a loss of sensitivity to stimulation intensity, rather than a shift in perceived pain level or response bias. We did not find any effect of TMS on the ability to localise nociceptive stimuli on the skin. The novel finding that TMS over S2 can disrupt perception of pain intensity suggests a causal role for S2 in encoding of pain intensity