Modulation of Thermal Pain-Related Brain Activity With Virtual Reality: Evidence From fMRI

Neuroreport. 2004 Jun 7;15(8):1245-8. doi: 10.1097/01.wnr.0000127826.73576.91.

Abstract

This study investigated the neural correlates of virtual reality analgesia. Virtual reality significantly reduced subjective pain ratings (i.e. analgesia). Using fMRI, pain-related brain activity was measured for each participant during conditions of no virtual reality and during virtual reality (order randomized). As predicted, virtual reality significantly reduced pain-related brain activity in all five regions of interest; the anterior cingulate cortex, primary and secondary somatosensory cortex, insula, and thalamus (p<0.002, corrected). Results showed direct modulation of human brain pain responses by virtual reality distraction.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analgesia / methods
  • Attention / physiology
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Down-Regulation / physiology
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Gyrus Cinguli / anatomy & histology
  • Gyrus Cinguli / physiology
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Hyperalgesia / physiopathology*
  • Hyperalgesia / therapy
  • Illusions / physiology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Pain / physiopathology*
  • Pain Management
  • Pain Measurement
  • Somatosensory Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology
  • Thalamus / anatomy & histology
  • Thalamus / physiology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • User-Computer Interface*