The Myth of the Brain’s Pain Matrix?

How does the brain encode physical pain? Which brain areas (if any) respond only to painful stimuli?

A new paper reports that one supposedly “pain-selective” brain region, the posterior insula, doesn’t actually specifically encode pain – it activates in response to diverse non-painful stimuli as well. The study appears in PLoS Biology and it comes from Giulia Liberati and colleagues of the Universit√© catholique de Louvain, Belgium.

Liberati et al. found that the insula responds to non-

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