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Press Release: EFIC 2013: UK Study: Pain is less intense when you are hungry

Written by | 31 Oct 2013 | All Medical News

Pain is more intense after a meal than when hungry, according to a University of Liverpool study presented at the Congress of the European Pain Federation EFIC in Florence. The mechanism appears to be a “competition” between the eating drive and pain in cortical processes.

Pain is more intense when sated than when hungry, a principle demonstrated by research presented by a team from Liverpool University at the Congress of the European Pain Federation EFIC in Florence. “Hunger and pain are basic homoeostatic drives that compete for behavioural responses when experienced together”, said Dr Hazel Wright, one of the authors of the study. “We were interested to investigate the cortical processes underlying hunger-pain interactions.”

14 participants in the study completed two EEG sessions, one following an overnight fast, the other following a large breakfast. Trials displayed photographs of either food or non-edible objects, accompanied by a moderately painful laser stimulus to the dorsal surface of the right hand. Participants rated the pain after each stimulus. The experiment was organised into three blocks, each containing 32 trials.

“Pain was stronger during the sated than during the hungry state in the first experiment block”, Dr Wright reported. “Pain and cortical processing of noxious stimuli in parts of the limbic cortex are attenuated in hungry state, suggesting competition between eating drive and pain. Cortical processing of noxious stimuli is also attenuated by passively viewing food photographs, pointing to pain processing being modulated by stimuli with strong motivational value.”

Source: EFIC Abstract Wright et al, The effect of hunger on pain: A laser-evoked study


EFIC Press Office:
Dr Birgit Kofler
Ph. after the Congress: +43-1-319 43 78-13
E-mail: kofler@bkkommunikation.com

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