Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Thesis defense Dylan Henssen (Donders series 393)

11 October 2019

Promotors: prof. dr. T. Kozicz, prof. dr. R. Bartels
Co-promotors: dr. A. van Cappellen van Walsum, dr. R. van Dongen

Trigeminal neuroanatomy and the subsequent insights in treating chronic neuropathic orofacial pain with motor cortex stimulation

Patients suffering from intractable pain often turn to experimental treatments which need to be evaluated scientifically. This PhD-thesis contributes to this and evaluated the effectiveness of one of these experimental procedures: motor cortex stimulation (MCS). For MCS, a neurosurgeon places a small electronic mesh on the surface of the brain to send in signals that are thought to disturb the pain signalling pathways. These signals can provide significant pain relief in a well-characterized group of patients suffering from chronic orofacial pain according to this thesis. To explain why another group of patients suffering from chronic orofacial pain do not respond favorable, the researchers turned to anatomical knowledge. The researchers found that a never discovered brain pathway connects two brain areas which are important in the processing of pain from the orofacial region. Based on these insights, the researchers provided patients with another experimental neuromodulation strategy, obtaining significant pain relief in patients which were considered non-responders to MCS.