Pain theory & physiology: A literature review and proposed experiment
Robosan, Todd J.
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A literature review tracing the development of today's current theoretical understanding of pain. An experiment is proposed, which studies the variations in the activity of the amygdala, blood pressure, and cortisol levels between experimentally induced intermittent and sustained pain. A method of experimentally inducing deep somatic pain experiences will be used to, which is induced and temporally controlled using a computer-controlled system that regulates the release of a medication-grade hypertonic saline (5%) into the masseter muscle (Zubieta et al., 2002). The participant's responses to the noxious stimulus will be measured using a blood pressure cuff, a 1.5 T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system (Bingel et al., 2002), and Salivette swabs. The doubleblind experiment, which is randomized and counterbalanced, has both a within-subject and between-subject component The participants (N = 120) will include male and female college students who are between the ages of 18 and 22 years old. It is hypothesized that sustained pain condition will yield lower mean levels of amygdala activity, blood pressure, and cortisol levels than will the intermittent pain condition.