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Center for Neuroplasticity and Pain

Guest lecture by Professor, Dr. Catherine Mercier

Thursday, 15 August 2019, at 14:00-15:00 Aalborg University, Fredrik Bajers Vej 7D, Room 2.106

Last modified: 06.08.2019

Guest lecture by Professor, Dr. Catherine Mercier.

Université Laval, Quebec City, Canada.



Dr. Mercier received a B.Sc. in Occupational therapy and a PhD in Biomedical sciences (Rehabilitation) from University of Montreal. She completed her postdoctoral training at the Institute for Cognitive Sciences in Lyon, France. She is Professor of Rehabilitation at Université Laval (Quebec City, Canada), Scientific Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation and Social Integration (CIRRIS), Emeritus Research Scholar from Fonds de recherche Québec-Santé (FRQS) and Holder of the Université Laval Research Chair in Cerebral Palsy.


Pain prevalence is particularly high in acute/subacute stage after a nervous system injury, and therefore a large proportion of patients have to undergo their motor rehabilitation in the context of pain. Based on animal studies, it has been proposed that central sensitization associated to pain and plasticity related to the motor learning share similar neural mechanisms and compete with each other. This lecture aims to address simple yet clinically relevant questions: How well can patients learn new motor tasks if they are in pain when receiving rehabilitation? Conversely does the motor rehabilitation impact on pain development? First, findings from basic research (in animal and human pain models) revealing both immediate and long-term effects of pain on motor plasticity and learning will be summarized. Second, the applicability of these observations to neurorehabilitation will be discussed. Third, examples of interventions that could address motor deficits and concomitant pain using a more integrated approach will be provided.

Associate Professor Shellie A. Boudreau, PhD, and Professor, Center Director Thomas Graven-Nielsen, DMSc, PhD
Center for Neuroplasticity and Pain (CNAP)