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Pathological limb pain patients show decreased attention to some stimuli on the painful limb and increased attention to others, a paradox that has dogged the field for over a decade. We hypothesized that pathological pain involves a spatial inattention confined to bodily representations. Patients showed inattention to the painful side for visual processing of body parts but not letters, tactile processing but not auditory, and body-part bisection tasks but not line bisection tasks. We propose the new term "somatospatial inattention" to describe bodily-specific spatial inattention associated with pathological limb pain.

Original publication




Journal article


Ann Neurol

Publication Date





701 - 704


Adult, Attention, Auditory Perception, Body Image, Chronic Pain, Complex Regional Pain Syndromes, Extremities, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Pain Perception, Space Perception, Touch Perception, Visual Perception