The disruptive effect of chronic pain on mismatch negativity Journal Articles uri icon

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  • OBJECTIVE: To investigate the effect of chronic pain on processes that generate the mismatch negativity (MMN). METHODS: Twelve participants with a diagnosis of chronic intractable pain were tested before and after pain treatment. During testing, event-related potentials were recorded while participants performed tasks of varying difficulty. RESULTS: The amplitude of the MMN was found to be greater following a nerve block procedure compared to MMN amplitude when participants were experiencing chronic pain. This effect was found to occur in the MMN for difficult-to-detect tones elicited while participants were performing a simultaneous cognitively demanding visual task. MMN amplitude was found to be greater with attention to difficult-to-detect deviants during pain but not in no pain conditions. CONCLUSIONS: These results provide an electrophysiological correlate of previous findings that high levels of pain disrupt cognition during the performance of demanding tasks.


  • Dick, BD
  • Connolly, John
  • McGrath, PJ
  • Finley, GA
  • Stroink, G
  • Houlihan, ME
  • Clark, AJ

publication date

  • August 2003

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