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November 1958

Studies on Pain: Relation of Pain Perception and Central Inhibitory Effect of Noxious Stimulation to Phenomenon of Extinction of Pain

Author Affiliations

New York

From the Study Program in Human Health and the Ecology of Man and the Departments of Medicine (Neurology) and Psychiatry, the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1958;80(5):533-543. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1958.02340110003001

With central nervous system lesions, impaired perception of pinprick in the involved area of skin often may not be apparent on stimulation of that area alone. However, when such an involved skin area and an homologous normally innervated area are simultaneously pricked, pinprick will be perceived only in the normally innervated area.

Bender1 applied the term extinction to the perception of a stimulus from only one area during the simultaneous stimulation of other areas in which there was some remaining, albeit impaired, sensory function. Oppenheim,2 in 1885, employed a technique of double simultaneous stimulation in the examination of sensation in patients with central nervous system damage, and he was aware that on the side exhibiting "extinction" there was a hypalgesia.

It has been observed in normal human subjects that when an intense pain is experienced in one body area, the threshold of pain perception in other areas is

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