Dr. Catherine Mercier (CIRRIS, l’Université Laval) is using the KINARM in various populations suffering from chronic pain (complex regional pain syndrome, fibromyalgia, spinal cord injury) to study how pain affects body perception and sensorimotor performance.
Her team has developed protocols in which the actual upper limbs of the patient are replaced by virtual limbs that can provide altered visual feedback about movement in a controlled manner. Her work shows that while people with pain are less able to consciously distinguish the alteration in visual feedback, reflecting a poorer perception of their own movements, they experience more sensory disturbances in response to visuomotor conflicts. These disturbances are increased when patients actively moved their limbs compared to when the limbs are passively moved by the KINARM.
Ongoing research is investigating whether altered feedback can be used to increase movement and reduce movement-related pain during training in populations with chronic pain, who often exhibit fear-avoidance behavior. In parallel, studies are looking at the impact of the anticipation of movement-related pain on movement preparation and execution.
Brun C, Giorgi N, Pinard AM, Gagné M, McCabe CS, Mercier C.
J Pain. 2019 Jan;20(1):17-27.
Brun C, Gagné M, McCabe CS, Mercier C.
Front Integr Neurosci. 2017 Jul 21;11:14.
Neige C, Mavromatis N, Gagné M, Bouyer LJ, Mercier C.
J Physiol. 2018 Jul;596(14):2917-2929.