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Papers of the Week

Papers: 27 Mar 2021 - 2 Apr 2021

Human Studies

2021 Mar 25

Sci Rep



An intensity matched comparison of laser- and contact heat evoked potentials.


De Schoenmacker I, Berry C, Blouin J-S, Rosner J, Hubli M, Jutzeler CR, Kramer JLK
Sci Rep. 2021 Mar 25; 11(1):6861.
PMID: 33767259.


Previous studies comparing laser (LEPs) and contact heat evoked potentials (CHEPs) consistently reported higher amplitudes following laser compared to contact heat stimulation. However, none of the studies matched the perceived pain intensity, questioning if the observed difference in amplitude is due to biophysical differences between the two methods or a mismatch in stimulation intensity. The aims of the current study were twofold: (1) to directly compare the brain potentials induced by intensity matched laser and contact heat stimulation and (2) investigate how capsaicin-induced secondary hyperalgesia modulates LEPs and CHEPs. Twenty-one healthy subjects were recruited and measured at four experimental sessions: (1) CHEPs + sham, (2) LEPs + sham, (3) CHEPs + capsaicin, and (4) LEPs + capsaicin. Baseline (sham) LEPs latency was significantly shorter and amplitude significantly larger compared to CHEPs, even when matched for perceived pain. Neither CHEPs nor LEPs was sensitive enough to detect secondary hyperalgesia. These differences provide evidence that a faster heating rate results in an earlier and more synchronized LEPs than CHEPs. To our knowledge, this was the first study to match perceived intensity of contact heat and laser stimulations, revealing distinct advantages associated with the acquisition of LEPs.