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Papers of the Week

Papers: 1 Jun 2024 - 7 Jun 2024


Front Hum Neurosci



Visuotactile integration in individuals with fibromyalgia.


Augière T, Simoneau M, Mercier C


Our brain constantly integrates afferent information, such as visual and tactile information, to perceive the world around us. According to the maximum-likelihood estimation (MLE) model, imprecise information will be weighted less than precise, making the multisensory percept as precise as possible. Individuals with fibromyalgia (FM), a chronic pain syndrome, show alterations in the integration of tactile information. This could lead to a decrease in their weight in a multisensory percept or a general disruption of multisensory integration, making it less beneficial. To assess multisensory integration, 15 participants with FM and 18 pain-free controls performed a temporal-order judgment task in which they received pairs of sequential visual, tactile (unisensory conditions), or visuotactile (multisensory condition) stimulations on the index and the thumb of the non-dominant hand and had to determine which finger was stimulated first. The task enabled us to measure the precision and accuracy of the percept in each condition. Results indicate an increase in precision in the visuotactile condition compared to the unimodal conditions in controls only, although we found no intergroup differences. The observed visuotactile precision was correlated to the precision predicted by the MLE model in both groups, suggesting an optimal integration. Finally, the weights of the sensory information were not different between the groups; however, in the group with FM, higher pain intensity was associated with smaller tactile weight. This study shows no alterations of the visuotactile integration in individuals with FM, though pain may influence tactile weight in these participants.