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Papers of the Week

Papers: 13 Jan 2024 - 19 Jan 2024

2024 Jan 13

Cereb Cortex


Modulations in high-density EEG during the suppression of phantom-limb pain with neurostimulation in upper limb amputees.


Kleeva D, Soghoyan G, Biktimirov A, Piliugin N, Matvienko Y, Sintsov M, Lebedev M


Phantom limb pain (PLP) is a distressing and persistent sensation that occurs after the amputation of a limb. While medication-based treatments have limitations and adverse effects, neurostimulation is a promising alternative approach whose mechanism of action needs research, including electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings for the assessment of cortical manifestation of PLP relieving effects. Here we collected and analyzed high-density EEG data in 3 patients (P01, P02, and P03). Peripheral nerve stimulation suppressed PLP in P01 but was ineffective in P02. In contrast, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation was effective in P02. In P03, spinal cord stimulation was used to suppress PLP. Changes in EEG oscillatory components were analyzed using spectral analysis and Petrosian fractal dimension. With these methods, changes in EEG spatio-spectral components were found in the theta, alpha, and beta bands in all patients, with these effects being specific to each individual. The changes in the EEG patterns were found for both the periods when PLP level was stationary and the periods when PLP was gradually changing after neurostimulation was turned on or off. Overall, our findings align with the proposed roles of brain rhythms in thalamocortical dysrhythmia or disruption of cortical excitation and inhibition which has been linked to neuropathic pain. The individual differences in the observed effects could be related to the specifics of each patient’s treatment and the unique spectral characteristics in each of them. These findings pave the way to the closed-loop systems for PLP management where neurostimulation parameters are adjusted based on EEG-derived markers.