Objective Correlate of Subjective Pain Perception by Contact Heat-Evoked Potentials

Yelena Granovsky, Michal Granot, Rony Reuven Nir, David Yarnitsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The method of pain-evoked potentials has gained considerable acceptance over the last 3 decades regarding its objectivity, repeatability, and quantifiability. The present study explored whether the relationship between pain-evoked potentials and pain psychophysics obtained by contact heat stimuli is similar to those observed for the conventionally used laser stimulation. Evoked potentials (EPs) were recorded in response to contact heat stimuli at different body sites in 24 healthy volunteers. Stimuli at various temperatures were applied to the forearm (43°C, 46°C, 49°C, and 52°C) and leg (46°C and 49°C). The amplitudes of both components (N2 and P2) were strongly associated with the intensity of the applied stimuli and with subjective pain perception. Yet, regression analysis revealed pain perception and not stimulus intensity as the major contributing factor. A significant correlation was found between the forearm and the leg for both psychophysics and EPs amplitude. Perspective: Contact heat can generate readily distinguishable evoked potentials on the scalp, consistent between upper and lower limbs. Although these potentials bear positive correlation with both stimulus intensity and pain magnitude, the latter is the main contributor to the evoked brain response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-63
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Pain
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008


  • Evoked potentials
  • contact heat
  • pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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