Pain is frustratingly complex. Some people who have terrible injuries report very little pain while others develop terrible pain following a very minor event. This suggests that pain is not related only to the degree of physical injury and as such, other processes must contribute to the experience of pain. A growing body of evidence suggests that people in pain often have an altered perception of their body part. For example, it may feel too big or too small than its actual size. Further, people in pain have disruptions in the evaluation of incoming information from that painful body part and from the space surrounding it.
Interestingly, in these same conditions, we see dysfunctions in the way that the brain represents the painful body part and many of these brain changes correlate to the degree of pain that people are in. This raises the tantalising possibility that if we target the brain via targeting these dysfunctions, then perhaps we can influence pain. This talk will provide a general overview of pain processing, perceptual and sensory dysfunctions, and cortical changes in people with pain. It will also present current research of brain-targeted treatments for chronic pain including perceptual manipulation using bodily illusions.
Leptin is one of the key elements of communication between the brain and the body’s nutritional reserves. When there is excess calorie accumulation, in the form of increased fat, this adipokine principally sends the brain a signal to decrease food intake and increase energy expenditure. The metabolic and endocrine roles of leptin have been exhaustively studied; however, its effects on human cognition are less clear. Our group and others, in a body of research spanning two decades, have shown that both in rare patients with genetically-based leptin deficiency, as well as in the general population, leptin has multiple effects on the brain, impacting not only on mental functions related to food-processing, but also on overall cognition.
Previously Brown and Jamieson found that increased Mu rhythm (10-12Hz) localised at right BA6/BA13 differentiates elite from amateur table tennis players while viewing an elite opposing player. These cortical regions include nodes in both the dorsal attention network (identifying 'where' an object is in space relative to one’s body) and in the ventral attention network (identifying and selecting salient sensory information). These results suggest engagement of a timing mechanism by elite table tennis players regulating alpha oscillations relative to incoming stimuli, allowing for optimal efficiency in selecting salient information and, importantly, inhibiting irrelevant information.
HRV biofeedback produces an immediate increase in vagal modulation (cardiac risk marker) by guiding the user to adopt a slow rhythmic breathing pattern. A gap in the HRV biofeedback literature includes a lack of knowledge concerning the persistence of this increase in vagal modulation at baseline and under dynamic stress conditions. The current study aimed to assess the effect of 30 days of HRV biofeedback training on vagal modulation at baseline and during both orthostatic and mental stress.
This presentation describes the case of a 17 year old female athlete who suffered two consecutive concussions, producing post-concussion headache symptoms. The athlete was assessed following the initial
Developmental Dyslexia is the most common learning disability diagnosed in children (Ziegler et al., 2008), estimated to affect between 5 to 17.5% (Shaywitz, 1998). Longitudinal studies reveal that children with dyslexia display persistently poorer literacy than peers even after intensive intervention (e.g. Shaywitz, 2003). Neuroimaging studies reveal underactivity in the left posterior language areas of the brain in both adults and children relative to controls during phonological tasks (Hoeft et al., 2006). Advances in the use of Neurotherapy for the treatment of a range of psychological conditions (e.g. in ADHD, see Arns et al., 2009), lend support for its use as a treatment tool for normalising language function.