The work presented in this PhD thesis is the result of research carried out at
the Center for Sensory-Motor interaction (SMI) at Aalborg University
(Denmark) in the period from September 2009 to March 2013. The
research was supported by the Danish Research Council for Technology
and Production (FTP). During this project five months, between April and
August 2011, were spent at Duke University, Durham, NC, USA in
collaboration with Dr. Warren M. Grill.
This thesis investigates the basic methodology behind the human
nociceptive withdrawal reflex (NWR). The aims of this thesis were to
investigate this methodology as a potential way of reducing the variability
of NWR assessment and, if possible try, to discover methods which could
help to reduce this variability. In order to fulfill these aims
electrophysiological experiments, advanced mathematical modeling and
anatomical studies were applied to investigate the elicitation and recording
of the NWR.
This thesis contains four chapters. The Introduction presents the reader to
the background and motivation for this project and gives a general
overview of the PhD thesis. The Methods chapter introduces the used
methods and elaborates the background for choosing them. The Results
chapter presents and discusses the main findings in this thesis; in addition,
all these findings are further elaborated in the original papers. The
Conclusions chapter sums up the main findings and the impact on the state
of the art, and finally looks at the perspectives towards future studies.
The thesis is based on three original papers that all are either published in,
or submitted to, peer-reviewed journals. In addition one submitted peerreviewed
paper and several conference abstracts were based on the research
conducted in this project.