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Sensations of skin infestation linked to abnormal frontolimbic brain reactivity and differences in self-representation

Eccles, J.A., Garfinkel, S.N., Harrison, N.A., Ward, J., Taylor, R.E., Bewley, A.P. and Critchley, H.D. 2015. Sensations of skin infestation linked to abnormal frontolimbic brain reactivity and differences in self-representation. Neuropsychologia 77 , pp. 90-96. 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2015.08.006

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Abstract

Some patients experience skin sensations of infestation and contamination that are elusive to proximate dermatological explanation. We undertook a functional magnetic resonance imaging study of the brain to demonstrate, for the first time, that central processing of infestation-relevant stimuli is altered in patients with such abnormal skin sensations. We show differences in neural activity within amygdala, insula, middle temporal lobe and frontal cortices. Patients also demonstrated altered measures of self-representation, with poorer sensitivity to internal bodily (interoceptive) signals and greater susceptibility to take on an illusion of body ownership: the rubber hand illusion. Together, these findings highlight a potential model for the maintenance of abnormal skin sensations, encompassing heightened threat processing within amygdala, increased salience of skin representations within insula and compromised prefrontal capacity for self-regulation and appraisal.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0028-3932
Last Modified: 14 May 2019 10:49
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/121432

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