Chronic Pain: Lost Inhibition? PART TWO

In our last blog (Chronic Pain: Lost Inhibition?) we talked about the role of the thalamus in the development and maintenance of orofacial neuropathic pain. We reported that painful trigeminal neuropathic pain (PTN) is associated with altered thalamic anatomy, function and biochemistry, which may disturb central processing and play a key role in … [Read more...]

Directing Attention to Pain

Pain captures our attention instantaneously, and makes it hard to pay attention to anything else. But is it possible to direct attention to pain voluntarily and in a specific manner? Which brain mechanisms would drive voluntary direction of attention to pain? Why is this important? It is likely that chronic pain patients have exaggerated … [Read more...]

Affective Touch by Others Determines how we Perceive our Own Body

Just why does the touch of a loved one feel so good? The answer may have something to do with the fact that slow, gentle touches from another person (like the caress of a loved one) can enhance our sense of self – specifically, the feeling that our body is our own (i.e. the sense of body ownership). This sense of body ownership seems indubitable; … [Read more...]

Preserved ability to integrate a rubber hand indicates intact multisensory integration in CRPS

To the avid BiM reader the Rubber Hand Illusion (RHI) is probably well-known and old hat (for the not-so avid reader see below*). It is a popular paradigm because it can be used to investigate a) functionality of multisensory integration in corresponding brain areas and b) pre-existing mental representations of the body, i.e. body image [1]. We … [Read more...]

It is the instrument that shapes your brain and not only the time you spend with it

We know that repetitive training changes functional circuits and even the structure of the brain.  These structural changes are especially prominent in people who train for many years several hours a day, for example musicians who are highly motivated to play their instrument and often have extensive training periods. It has been demonstrated … [Read more...]

How Academics Face the World

These days, academics routinely talk about their work and place pictures of themselves on web sites like However, the picture we choose to show the world may reveal more about the way we see ourselves than we realise. Together with a great cast of researchers from my laboratory at UniSA and Flinders University I collected 5829 … [Read more...]

Learning and Chronic pain part III

As we have discussed in part 1 and 2 of this series of posts, there is some evidence that classical conditioned responses play a role in chronic pain (Flor and Birbaumer 1994; Schneider, Palomba et al. 2004; Klinger, Matter et al. 2010). We have discussed the work of Flor and others showing that injury response systems (such as motor and autonomic) … [Read more...]

Why Things Hurt

Lorimer grew a mo.  To help promote men's health.  It was during this time that he, and his mo, gave a talk at TEDx.  Here it is. httpvh:// … [Read more...]

Regret, empathy, espresso

I’ve got news for those of us who thought that Italians just sat around wearing designer sunglasses and drinking fine coffee; it turns out we were wrong.  This fMRI study by a group in Milan is a pearler, and I urge anyone who’s interested to have a look at it.[1] First was a look into empathy: these investigators wanted to know whether the same … [Read more...]

A haptic glove and a head-tracking software – illusory ownership induced without touch

Our last rubber hand illusion paper attracted this comment from one of the reviewers: ‘it would take something very special to get yet another study on the rubber hand illusion into a journal like this one’. We were pretty sympathetic to the reviewer because there really are a tonne of them out there.  Here is one that was actually published a year … [Read more...]