Pain and functional imaging

Martin Ingvar

Abstract

Functional neuroimaging has fundamentally changed our knowledge about the cerebral representation of pain. For the first time it has been possible to delineate the functional anatomy of different aspects of pain in the medial and lateral pain systems in the brain. The rapid developments in imaging methods over the past years have led to a consensus in the description of the central pain responses between different studies and also to a definition of a central pain matrix with specialized subfunctions in man. In the near future we will see studies where a systems perspective allows for a better understanding of the regulatory mechanisms in the higher-order frontal and parietal cortices. Also, pending the development of experimental paradigms, the functional anatomy of the emotional aspects of pain will become better known.