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Placebo analgesia is one of the most striking examples of the cognitive modulation of pain perception and the underlying mechanisms are finally beginning to be understood. According to pharmacological studies, the endogenous opioid system is essential for placebo analgesia. Recent functional imaging data provides evidence that the rostral anterior cingulate(More)
Placebo analgesia involves the endogenous opioid system, as administration of the opioid antagonist naloxone decreases placebo analgesia. To investigate the opioidergic mechanisms that underlie placebo analgesia, we combined naloxone administration with functional magnetic resonance imaging. Naloxone reduced both behavioral and neural placebo effects as(More)
The perception of pain results from an interaction between nociceptive and antinociceptive mechanisms. A better understanding of the neural circuitry underlying these physiological interactions provides an important opportunity to develop better treatment strategies for and ultimately even prevent pain. Here, we investigated how repeated painful stimulation(More)
Using functional imaging, we recently investigated how repeated painful stimulation over several days is processed, perceived and modulated in the healthy human brain. Considering that activation-dependent brain plasticity in humans on a structural level has already been demonstrated in adults, we were interested in whether repeated painful stimulation may(More)
Humans differ substantially in their ability to imagine spatial transformations of novel stimuli (i.e., mental rotation). Whereas "high-spatial" individuals are able to maintain high-quality representations even after complex mental transformations, "low-spatial" individuals often experience substantial degradation of the initial representation. Even though(More)
The endogenous opioid system is involved in fear learning in rodents, as opioid agonists attenuate and opioid antagonists facilitate the acquisition of conditioned fear. It has been suggested that an opioidergic signal, which is engaged through conditioning and acts inhibitory on unconditioned stimulus input, is the source of these effects. To clarify(More)
Habituation to repetitive painful stimulation may represent an important protection mechanism against the development of chronic pain states. However, the exact neurobiological mechanisms of this phenomenon remain unclear. In this study we (i) explore the somatotopic specificity of pain attenuation over time and (ii) investigate the role of the endogenous(More)
The endogenous opioid system represents one of the principal systems in the modulation of pain. This has been demonstrated in studies of placebo analgesia and stress-induced analgesia, where anti-nociceptive activity triggered by pain itself or by cognitive states is blocked by opioid antagonists. The aim of this study was to characterize the effect of(More)
PURPOSE OF REVIEW In this review, we discuss recent advances in pain imaging research. We focus on the involvement of endogenous pain control mechanisms in the healthy central nervous system and the potential contribution of failure within this system for chronic pain states. RECENT FINDINGS Nociceptive information processing and related pain perception(More)
Human behavior can be influenced by information that is not consciously perceived. Recent behavioral and electrophysiological evidence suggests, however, that the processing of subliminal stimuli is not completely beyond an observer's conscious control. The present study aimed to characterize the cortical network that implements strategic control over(More)