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Prof. Dr. Enrica Santarcangelo
Associate Editor: Dr Enrica Laura Santarcangelo
Dr. Enrica Laura Santarcangelo, MD, PhD, clinical psychologist, is an Associate Professor of Physiology at the Department of Translational Research and New Technologies in Medicine and Surgery, Pisa University. She is interested in the physiology of the mind-body axis and, in particular, in the physiological correlates of hypnotizability in the sensori-motor and cardiovascular domain. Findings in these fields allow us to consider the susceptibility to hypnosis as a factor of variability of the general healthy population in the ordinary state of consciousness and in the absence of specific suggestions. In the subjects with high hypnotizability scores Dr. Santarcangelo has shown a less strict cerebellar control of posture and movement, a higher parasympathetic component of heart rate variability and greater availability of endothelial nitric oxide, whose release is not reduced by stress and acute pain. In the field of pain, she has contributed that suggestions of analgesia are effective also out of hypnosis and that, in line with the earliest findings of KE Hilgard, the modulation of pain perception is not always associated with congruent autonomic changes. In addition, she has shown that other cognitive-emotional traits such as those based on the activity of Grey’s Behavioral Approach/inhibition System interact with hypnotizability in determining the efficacy of pain imagery, pain modulation and its cortical correlates.