, Volume 156, Issue 4, pp 513-517
Date: 04 May 2004

Attention to pain is processed at multiple cortical sites in man

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Painful cutaneous laser stimuli evoked potentials (LEPs) were recorded over the primary somatosensory (SI), parasylvian, and medial frontal (MF) cortex areas in a patient with subdural electrode grids located over these areas for surgical treatment of epilepsy. The amplitudes of the negative (N2*) and positive (P2**) LEP peaks over SI, parasylvian, and MF cortex were enhanced by attention to (counting stimuli), in comparison with distraction from the stimulus (reading for comprehension). Late positive deflections following the P2** peak (late potential—LP) were recorded over MF and from the lateral premotor regions during attention but not during distraction. These findings suggest that attention gates both early (N2*) and late (P2**) pain-related input to SI, parasylvian, and MF cortical regions while the later components (LP) are specifically related to attention.