Presence Through the Eyes of a Child

mel slater virtual small body

Using a head-mounted display and body tracking suit, entering into a virtual reality, you can experience yourself as a child of about 4 years old.  You look into a mirror, or directly down towards your own body, but you see the child body instead.  The brain appears to be remarkably flexible in quickly accepting the proposition that your body is … [Read more...]

What grabs your attention?

Integrated priority map

Advertisers and marketers make a living out of grabbing your attention. They are not above using sudden loud noises (a salient physical stimulus or bottom-up attention grab). Nor do they shy away from top-down effects such as priming (defined as subtle suggestions made to the ‘subconscious’ brain to influence behaviour). But wait. Don’t classical … [Read more...]

rTMS and chronic pain: Our two penny’s worth

Some of you might have heard of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and its use in chronic pain. Basically rTMS uses magnetic fields to generate electrical currents within the brain. This is a direct way of altering neuronal firing or excitability in the brain and a number of research groups have been investigating whether it might … [Read more...]

Don’t just rub it better, cross it over – the analgesic effect of crossing your arms.

The gate control theory gave us all a theoretical rationale for ‘rubbing it better’ – activation of Aβ fibres and subsequent ‘closing of the gate’ in the dorsal horn. Well, there is a new paper just out in Pain,[1] that raises the possibility of another quick and easy analgesic strategy – crossing your arms. My mum reckons that her mum was onto … [Read more...]

BiM in Review 2010

In reviewing 2010 for BiM, we wanted to gather together in one place the gems and nuggets that have been written in the last year. A big big THANK YOU to the 40 writers who have taken time out to explain their research and thinking as well as the many readers and commenters to the posts in various places on the interweb - the blog, facebook, … [Read more...]

Evidence Based Arguing

I love Science. I love reading about science, I love doing science and I love thinking about how science can be applied to helping patients. But what I really love about science are the arguments! It is good and proper that in science ideas are debated, views challenged and criticisms aired, so when an article appeared looking at the science of … [Read more...]

Misinformed Consent? What not to tell a patient with back pain

We just came across a fancy patient information form that was given to a patient after an assessment by a clinician. The form just blew our minds (but not in a good way) because it seemed to be the perfect clinical tool for generating ongoing pain and disability, and all by the simple process of ramping up the fear. So, just for fun, we thought … [Read more...]

Is CRPS an auto-immune disease

Andreas Goebel

Intravenous Immunoglobulin in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Andreas Goebel on the results of his latest clinical trial .Just imagine the causes of some chronic pains are completely different from what you had thought. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is a severe pain which persists after limb trauma. You are unlucky if you develop this nasty … [Read more...]

What is it like to be a woman

Another intriguing experiment by Mel Slater's group from Barcelona[1], this one sure to get a good whack of popular media coverage. 24 (supposedly normal) healthy blokes put on virtual reality goggles and were 'transported' into a scene that contained two virtual women. They then induced the illusion of body transfer, which has been shown before … [Read more...]

Stuart Derbyshire on I feel your pain

Dr Stuart Derbyshire

Several studies have demonstrated that people can share in the emotion of someone else's pain. Typically, when seeing someone else injured, there is a tendency to share in the aversion and feel the unpleasantness of what is going on. But there have also been a few cases of people reporting not just a shared emotional experience but also a shared … [Read more...]