Cutaneous stimulation of the face and hand with a CO2 laser in three awake patients evoked potentials (LEPs) recorded from the dominant left parasylvian cortex. These were recorded by means of a subdural grid of electrodes implanted for evaluation of epilepsy. Stimulation of the contralateral face resulted in waveforms consisting of a negative potential (N2, 162 ± 5 ms; mean ± SE) followed by a positive potential (P2, 340 ± 18 ms). Both waves occurred at longer latency after hand than after facial stimulation N2 and P2 potentials recorded from the grid correspond well in morphology to those recorded from the scalp in four additional patients tested with the same stimulation paradigm. The N2 waves recorded from the subdural grid occurred at significantly shorter latencies than did those recorded from the scalp (184 ± 6 ms), but the P2 waves at the grid occurred at significantly longer latencies than did those recorded at the scalp (281 ± 13 ms). The amplitudes of the potentials recorded from the grid were maximal over the parietal operculum both for contralateral stimulation of the face or hand and for ipsilateral stimulation of the face. Potentials also were recorded in this area after stimulation of the ipsilateral hand. The cortical distributions of these potentials suggest that their generators are located in the parietal operculum or in the insula, or in both, consistent with previous PET, magnetoencephalographic, and scalp LEP source analyses. These previous analyses provide indirect evidence of nociceptive input to parasylvian cortex because the interpretation of each analysis incorporates multiple assumptions. The present results are the first direct evidence of nociceptive input to the human parasylvian cortex.
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