Barbara Basile1, Andrea Bassi, Giovanni Calcagnini2, Emiliano Macaluso1, Angelica Piccolomini, Carlo Caltagirone3, Marco Bozzali1
1Neuroimaging Laboratory, Santa Lucia Foundation, Rome, Italy, Italy; 23Department of Technology and Health, Italian Institute of Health, Rome, Italy, Italy; 3Department of Neuroscience, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy, Italy
The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is well known in its peripheral functioning, while its central effects are still rather obscure. We present here a novel method that, using fMRI and a parasympathetic stimulation of the carotid baroreceptors, allows to investigate brain activity by a direct perturbation of the ANS. We provide here new evidence that ANS perturbation induces expected peripheral responses together with modulation of brain activity in different regions, during an explicit emotional processing task.