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Publication Detail
Widespread nociceptive maps in the human neonatal somatosensory cortex
  • Publication Type:
    Working discussion paper
  • Authors:
    Jones L, Verriotis M, Cooper R, Laudiano-Dray MP, Rupawala M, Meek J, Fabrizi L, Fitzgerald M
  • Publication date:
  • Status:
Topographic cortical maps are essential for spatial localisation of sensory stimulation and generation of appropriate task-related motor responses. Somatosensation and nociception are finely mapped and aligned in the adult somatosensory (S1) cortex, but in infancy, when pain behaviour is disorganised and poorly directed, nociceptive maps may be less refined. We compared the topographic pattern of S1 activation following noxious (clinically required heel lance) and innocuous (touch) mechanical stimulation of the same skin region in newborn infants (n=32) using multi-optode functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). Signal to noise ratio and overall activation area did not differ with stimulus modality. Within S1 cortex, touch and lance of the heel elicit localised, partially overlapping increases in oxygenated haemoglobin (HbO), but while touch activation was restricted to the heel area, lance activation extended into cortical hand regions. The data reveals a widespread cortical nociceptive map in infant S1, consistent with their poorly directed pain behaviour.
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