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Reviews in the Neurosciences

Editor-in-Chief: Huston, Joseph P.

Editorial Board: Topic, Bianca / Adeli, Hojjat / Buzsaki, Gyorgy / Crawley, Jacqueline / Crow, Tim / Gold, Paul / Holsboer, Florian / Korth, Carsten / Li, Jay-Shake / Lubec, Gert / McEwen, Bruce / Pan, Weihong / Pletnikov, Mikhail / Robbins, Trevor / Schnitzler, Alfons / Stevens, Charles / Steward, Oswald / Trojanowski, John

IMPACT FACTOR 2017: 2.590
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 3.078

CiteScore 2017: 2.81

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.980
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.804

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Volume 22, Issue 5


Autonomic responses to pain in aging and dementia

Bart Plooij / Dick Swaab
  • Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, an Institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1105 BA Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Erik Scherder


Increasing age and dementia are accompanied by an increased risk for undertreatment of pain owing to difficulty in assessing pain. Registration of autonomic responses to pain may contribute to a more reliable pain assessment. The aim of this review was to gain more insight into autonomic responses to pain in older persons with and without dementia. Literature searches were performed in the online databases MEDLINE and Web of Science. Seven studies on autonomic responses to pain in older people with or without dementia were included in the review. Autonomic responses to pain are present in older people with and without dementia, although they may be attenuated. Because no distinction could be made between different dementia subtypes based on these studies, predictions of changes in autonomic responses to pain have been made based on neuropathological changes. It can be concluded that autonomic responses to pain are attenuated in older people with and without dementia. Studies to specify the changes in the different autonomic responses for the different dementia subtypes are needed.

Keywords: aging; autonomic responses; dementia; pain assessment

About the article

Received: 2011-07-29

Accepted: 2011-09-05

Published in Print: 2011-10-01

Citation Information: Reviews in the Neurosciences, Volume 22, Issue 5, Pages 583–589, ISSN (Online) 2191-0200, ISSN (Print) 0334-1763, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/RNS.2011.045.

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