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Biol Psychiatry. 1993 Nov 15;34(10):687-9.

Pain perception threshold in major depression.

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  • 1Unit Neurobiology of Functional Psychoses, Central Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim, Germany.


Somatosensory perception threshold (SPT) and pain perception threshold (PPT) were studied in 16 patients with major depression, compared to the findings in an age-matched and gender-matched control group and related to the psychopathological state evaluated by means of the Hamilton Depression Scale. Perception thresholds were assessed by means of a noninvasive high-frequency electric skin stimulation. Absolute perception thresholds were increased in the patients. However, the relative pain perception threshold (RPPT = PPT: SPT) was significantly reduced. RPPT was positively correlated with retardation. It was negatively correlated with anxiety, suggesting that a reduction of pain perception thresholds in depressive patients may be attributed to anxiety and impaired stress-coping.

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