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Papers of the Week

Papers: 15 Jan 2022 - 21 Jan 2022

Human Studies

2022 Jan 15

J Pain

Facilitatory Effect of Intermittent Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation on Perceptual Distortion of the Face.


Kothari S F, Blicher JU, Dagsdottir LK, Kothari M, Kumar A, Sengupta K, Buchholtz PE, Ashkanian M, Svensson P
J Pain. 2022 Jan 15.
PMID: 35041936.


Orofacial pain patients often report that the painful facial area is "swollen" without clinical signs – known as perceptual distortion (PD). The neuromodulatory effect of facilitatory repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) on PD in healthy individuals was investigated, to provide further support that the primary somatosensory cortex (SI) is involved in facial PD. Participants were allocated to active (n=26) or sham (n=26) rTMS group in this case-control study. PD was induced experimentally by injecting local anesthesia (LA) in the right infraorbital region. PD was measured at baseline, 6 min after LA, immediately, 20 and 40 min after rTMS. Intermittent theta-burst stimulation (iTBS) as active rTMS and sham rTMS was applied to the face representation area of SI at 10 min after LA. The magnitude of PD was compared between the groups. The magnitude of PD significantly increased immediately after iTBS compared with sham rTMS (P=0.009). The PD was significantly higher immediately after iTBS compared to 6 min after LA (P=0.004) in the active rTMS group, but not in the sham rTMS group (P=0.054). iTBS applied to a somatotopic-relevant cortical region appears to facilitate facial PD further supporting the involvement of SI in the processing of one´s own face and PD. PERSPECTIVE: This study provides information on neural substrate responsible for processing of perceptual distortion of the face which is speculated to contribute to the chronification of orofacial pain. The findings of this study may aid in mechanism-based management of the condition in orofacial pain disorders and possibly other chronic pain states.