Normal And Abnormal Coding Of Somatosensory Stimuli Causing Pain

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The article that I read is entitled, “Normal and Abnormal Coding of Somatosensory Stimuli Causing Pain.” It is a review article that was written by Steven A. Prescott, Qiufu Ma, and Yves De Koninck. First, the article briefly talks about how important it is for us to experience pain at the right time. Many people who do not properly experience pain when they need to end up having serious health complications because they problem went untreated. On the other hand, pain can also be experienced even when there is no painful stimulus present. Both of these examples illustrate how communication between noxious stimulation and perception of pain can be disrupted. The process of encoding noxious stimuli is called nociception; all information available must be encoded by primary afferent neurons (PANs). The neocortex is where the representations for pain end up developing. If the information is normally processed along the neuraxis, the stimulus will prompt the expected perception, but if something goes wrong, the stimulus will be misperceived; an innocuous stimulus could be perceived as being noxious. Maladaptive plasticity can develop along multiple points on the nueraxis, which then disrupts the communication process. Therefore, later processing stages will received misprocessed information. The cortex calculates inferences about the stimulus based on the incorrect information that it received, which is why the representation of the stimulus ends up being incorrect as well. A PAN’s tuning depends on the expression of their receptor and their association with special structures in the body. Central neurons’ tuning depends on their synaptic input. This means that if a central neuron only receives information from one specific type o... ... middle of paper ... ...ys a huge gap in the understanding of how pain is perceived and that it would be a good place to start digging for answers. This article relates to chapter 14 in the book, “The Cutaneous Senses.” It specifically relates to the section about pain on page 351. On page 352, the book talks about phantom limbs, which is when people can still feel their limbs after they have been amputated. This is related because it is a false perception of what is really there, or in this case, is not there. Page 358 talks about synesthesia, which is when a stimulation of modality elicits experience in a different modality. This is also related because it is a disruption in communication from stimulus to perception. These are both examples of how the perception of a stimulus can become distorted along the many complicated pathways that are traveled before it reaches the cortex.

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