Comparison of laser and contact heat evoked potentials in able-bodied people

Researcher(s): Dr. John Kramer
Researchers in Dr. John Kramer’s lab are investigating the brain’s response to different painful stimuli: contact-heat and radiant-heat. The brain’s response will be recorded using electroencephalography (EEG). These stimuli are currently used in clinical applications to diagnose nerve-damage (neuropathies), however no direct comparison between them has ever been done. We therefore aim to characterize their effects in able-bodied participants with no history of neuropathy or chronic pain. Response to both stimuli will also be investigated in a neuropathic-pain setting, modelled by application of topical capsaicin to the forearm. Capsaicin-related sensation is temporary and will be resolved within 24 hours of application.
In this study, you will be asked to wear an EEG head-cap while undergoing approximately 5 minutes of stimulation at each appointment. You will rate each stimulation on a scale of 0-10/10. Your response to multiple pinpricks will also be recorded at each experimental session. 

Why should you participate in this study?

There are no direct benefits to participants from participating in this research study, but the researchers hope that the information learned from this study can be used in the future to help others receive a more accessible and timely diagnosis of neuropathies, including spinal cord lesions.

You may be eligible to participate in this study if you:

  • are between 19 and 45  years at the first examination
  • proficient in English

You may not be eligible to participate if you:

  • are pregnant
  • have taken any psychoactive medication, alcohol or other drug use in the 24 hours before testing
  • have any neurological condition
  • are hypersensitive to light in the near-infrared wavelength region
  • take any prescribed medications other than birth control
  • have a personal history of skin cancer
  • have had previous negative reactions to topical capsaicin application
  • have skin disorders or tattoos in the area of testing
The study will take a total of six hours to complete (four 90-minute sessions). No compensation will be provided but refreshments (coffee, tea) will be provided after each session.

For more information

or to sign up to participate, please contact the study coordinator, Carson Berry, by email or call 604-675-8876.