A connectionist modeling study of the neural mechanisms underlying pain's ability to reorient attention.
The effects of innocuous and noxious sural nerve stimulation on the SEP scalp topography were examined in 15 human subjects. This analysis focused on the 6 stable periods (i.e., consecutive time points where the topography did not change) that were identified in the companion paper (Dowman 1994). Stable period 1 (SP1: 58-90 msec post stimulus), SP4 (178-222 msec) and SP5 (223-277 msec) showed amplitude-stimulus intensity relationships that are similar to those of neurons involved in the sensory-discriminative aspects of innocuous somatosensation. The SP1 topographic pattern showed little or no change across the innocuous and noxious stimulus levels, which together with the amplitude data suggests that SP1 is largely generated by neurons involved in innocuous somatosensation. The SP4 topographic pattern did not change appreciably across the innocuous and noxious stimulus levels, but its amplitude decreased with increasing noxious stimulation. These data suggest that SP4 is generated by neurons involved in innocuous somatosensation and that noxious inputs inhibit these cells. There were differences in the SP5 topographic patterns evoked at the innocuous and the noxious stimulus levels, which suggest SP5 also receives a contribution from neurons involved in noxious somatosensation. SP3 (135-157 msec) and SP6 (282-339 msec) are probably generated by neurons involved in noxious somatosensation. The topographic patterns of both were different at innocuous and noxious levels. SP3's amplitude-stimulus intensity function suggests that it is generated by neurons that respond to noxious inputs in a non-graded fashion. The amplitude and offset latency of SP6 increased with increasing noxious stimulation, which suggests that SP6 is generated by neurons that respond to noxious inputs in a graded fashion.