Negative emotions influence brain activity during anticipation and experience of pain

September 19, 2011, American Gastroenterological Association

Neuroticism — the tendency to experience negative emotions — significantly affects brain processing during pain, as well as during the anticipation of pain, according to a new study in Gastroenterology, the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association. Neuroticism tends to be higher in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and is a risk factor for chronic, unexplained pain in IBS.

"Patients who have high expectations of pain may have a harder time coping with the actual source of pain, as is often seen in patients with irritable bowel syndrome," said Steven J. Coen, PhD, of the Wingate Institute of Neurogastroenterology and lead author of this study.

Researchers of this study observed higher levels of associated with activity during anticipation of pain in regions of the brain responsible for emotional and cognitive pain processing. During pain, however, activity in these regions was reduced. This behavior may help explain the greater incidence of those with higher neuroticism attending outpatient pain clinics and being at greater risk for developing chronic pain conditions.

"Previous research has shown that there is a connection between a patient's emotions and their perceived levels of , especially in gastrointestinal disorders," explained Dr. Coen. "Our study shows a patient's state of mind should be noted by their physician and taken into account when determining treatment regimens — both behavioral and pharmacologic."

Explore further: Peppermint earns respect in mainstream medicine

More information: For more information on IBS, please read the AGA brochure "Understanding Irritable Bowel Syndrome" at www.gastro.org/patient-center/ … table-bowel-syndrome

Related Stories

Peppermint earns respect in mainstream medicine

April 19, 2011
University of Adelaide researchers have shown for the first time how peppermint helps to relieve Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which affects up to 20% of the population.

Managing pain -- a family affair

April 11, 2011
Could adult children's strategies for coping with pain come from watching their parents react to and deal with pain? According to Suzyen Kraljevic, from the University Hospital Split in Croatia, and colleagues, a family may ...

Recommended for you

A depressed spouse may increase one's own cognitive decline, study finds

August 21, 2018
Researchers at Yale School of Public Health and their scientific partners have found that having a depressed spouse can increase one's own depressive symptoms as well as cognitive decline over time in late life. 

Study identifies 'compulsivity circuit' in heavy alcohol drinkers

August 21, 2018
Heavy alcohol drinkers attempt to acquire alcohol despite the threat of a negative consequence more so than light drinkers, a study in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging has found, and this behavior ...

Depressed patients see quality of life improve with nerve stimulation

August 21, 2018
People with depression who are treated with nerve stimulation experience significant improvements in quality of life, even when their depression symptoms don't completely subside, according to results of a national study ...

Beauty is simpler, and less special, than we realize

August 20, 2018
Beauty, long studied by philosophers, and more recently by scientists, is simpler than we might think, New York University psychology researchers have concluded in a new analysis. Their work, which appears in the journal ...

Bilingual children who speak native language at home have higher intelligence

August 20, 2018
Children who regularly use their native language at home while growing up in a different country have higher IQs, a new study has shown.

People are more honest when using a foreign tongue, research finds

August 17, 2018
New UChicago-led research suggests that someone who speaks in a foreign language is probably more credible than the average native speaker.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.