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October 24/31, 2001

Electrophysiological Correlates of Personality Influences in Visceral Perception

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorJody W.ZylkeMD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2001;286(16):1974-1975. doi:10.1001/jama.286.16.1969

To the Editor: Because perception thresholds to gastrointestinal distension can be affected by stress,1 psychological factors may play an important role in visceral perception. The cerebral evoked potential (CEP), which originates from the processing of afferent neural pathways, may reflect such higher-level processing of painful stimuli. Topographic study suggests that early peaks of CEP originate from deep central brain structures, whereas later peaks originate from the cortex.2 We have previously found that patients with functional dyspepsia have shorter peak latency of the late CEP component by esophageal electrical stimulation (ES), suggesting that patients with dyspepsia may have an altered central processing of visceral perception.3 Although Shagass and Schwartz4 reported a relationship between neuroticism and peak latencies for somatosensory evoked potentials, it is not clear how CEP responses may relate to visceral perception. We investigated the hypothesis that late CEP responses to visceral stimulation may be related to personality traits.