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Behavioural Neurology - Volume 2016 2016, Article ID 7576292, 14 pages -

Review Article

Neurophysiopathology of Pain Section, SMBNOS Department, Bari Aldo Moro University, Bari, Italy

Center for Sensory-Motor Interaction, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark

Department of Physical Therapy, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel

Department of General Practice, Section Gerontology, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands

CHU Clermont-Ferrand, Centre de Pharmacologie Clinique, Clermont-Ferrand, France

Inserm, CIC 1405, Neurodol 1107, 63003 Clermont-Ferrand, France

Division of Neurology, Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù, IRCCS, Rome, Italy

Received 10 January 2016; Revised 18 April 2016; Accepted 8 May 2016

Academic Editor: Andrea Truini

Copyright © 2016 Marina de Tommaso et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Neurodegenerative diseases are going to increase as the life expectancy is getting longer. The management of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease AD and other dementias, Parkinson’s disease PD and PD related disorders, motor neuron diseases MND, Huntington’s disease HD, spinocerebellar ataxia SCA, and spinal muscular atrophy SMA, is mainly addressed to motor and cognitive impairment, with special care to vital functions as breathing and feeding. Many of these patients complain of painful symptoms though their origin is variable, and their presence is frequently not considered in the treatment guidelines, leaving their management to the decision of the clinicians alone. However, studies focusing on pain frequency in such disorders suggest a high prevalence of pain in selected populations from 38 to 75% in AD, 40% to 86% in PD, and 19 to 85% in MND. The methods of pain assessment vary between studies so the type of pain has been rarely reported. However, a prevalent nonneuropathic origin of pain emerged for MND and PD. In AD, no data on pain features are available. No controlled therapeutic trials and guidelines are currently available. Given the relevance of pain in neurodegenerative disorders, the comprehensive understanding of mechanisms and predisposing factors, the application and validation of specific scales, and new specific therapeutic trials are needed.

Author: Marina de Tommaso, Lars Arendt-Nielsen, Ruth Defrin, Miriam Kunz, Gisele Pickering, and Massimiliano Valeriani



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