Alessandra Telesca

Alessandra Telesca


I obtained the Master Degree in Clinical and Developmental Psychology and Neuropsychology at the University of Milano-Bicocca in 2019.  In my experimental thesis I discussed preliminary results of a wider project in collaboration with the Ohio State University, about excitability and connectivity changes during and after tDCS in a short manipulation of social exclusion by means of TMS-EEG tracking.

I’ve been training in applying non-invasive brain stimulation techniques since my first university internship in 2015, under the supervision of Professor Romero Lauro, stuyding tDCS, TMS and TMS-EEG application on healthy subjects. In 2017, I attended one year of Master Degree at the Department of Psychology, University of Porto, where I approached for the first time neurophysiological techniques, in particular applied to the sexology area of research. Currently I am a PhD candidate in Neuroscience, School of Medicine and Surgery, University of Milano-Bicocca. My research interest is approaching the domain of pain from different perspectives. In particular, I am interested in exploring the cognitive and psychological functioning of chronic pain patients, with a focus on social cognition and social pain processes. Moreover, I’m interested in investigating the neurophysiological aspects of some pain related phenomena such as nociception and the cognitive processing of pain stimuli. I approached the context of clinical pain completing one-year post lauream advanced training in Clinical Neuropsychology, during which I gained knowledge about diagnosis and treatment of patients with chronic pain and Motor Neuron Disease. In collaboration with IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, I’m interested in searching for innovative and alternative methods for chronic pain treatment. About that, I’m currently following a mindfulness-based program with headache patients and I recently obtained a granted bursary by the World Federation of Neurology to the present a poster about personality profiles in patients with cluster headache, at the XXV World Congress of Neurology.  


New perspectives in chronic pain investigation: an integrated Neuropsychological and Neurophysiological approach

  • Curriculum: Clinical Neuroscience
  • Tutor: Leonor Josefina Romero-Lauro

Chronic pain is a worldwide common condition and is frequently associated to decreased healthy-related quality of life and high levels of psychological distress (Esteve, Ramírez-Maestre and López-Martínez 2007). Among the invalidating chronic pain conditions, there is Small Fiber Neuropathy (SFN), a peripheral neuropathy dominated by the degeneration of small fiber nerve endings (the unmyelinated C-fibers and thinly myelinated small Aδ-fibers) (Hsieh et al., 2015; Voortman et al., 2017), responsible of nociceptive, thermosensitive, and autonomic information processing (Hovaguimian and Gibbons 2011). Its incidence is about 12 per 100,000 population per year (Peters et al. 2013). SNF patients (SFN-P) have a severely reduced quality of life due to chronic pain (Bakkers et al. 2014), which is characterized by both physical and psychological symptoms. In particular, anxiety, depression and fatigue are present in 15%-62% of cases (Bolsover et al. 2014), and their impact on cognitive performance, such as executive functions, information processing speed and attention, has been described (McWilliams, Goodwin and Cox 2004, Segal et al. 2012). Nevertheless, psychiatric dimensions are poorly considered in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic pain (Bass & Yates, 2019). So far, indeed, SFN-P do not receive yet a structured neuropsychological assessment and possible clinical and psychiatric phenotypes have not been explored yet.  

Aims of the study: 

  1. To identify psychological and neuropsychological profiles of patients with small fiber neuropathy (SFN-P) investigating if they might be integrated with clinical features. 
  2. To identify the neurophysiological parameters (EEG-MEG) involved in pain perception and processing, investigating their possible relation with neuropsychological profiles. 
  3. To contribute to pain perception research, measuring neurophysiological correlates (TMS-EEG) of pain related anticipatory responses to nociceptive stimulation of SFN patients and healthy volunteers with a cognitive experimental conditioning paradigm


  1. Consonni M, Dalla Bella E, Bersano E, Telesca A, Lauria G. Cognitive reserve is associated with altered clinical expression in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Amyotroph Lateral Scler Frontotemporal Degener. 2020 Dec 2:1-11.
  2. Consonni M, Telesca A, Grazzi L, Cazzato D, Lauria G. Life with chronic pain during COVID-19 lockdown: the case of patients with small fibre neuropathy and chronic migraine. Neurol Sci. 2021 Feb;42(2):389-397.
  3. Consonni M, Telesca A, Dalla Bella E, Bersano E, Lauria G. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients’ and caregivers’ distress and loneliness during COVID-19 lockdown. J Neurol. 2021 Feb;268(2):420-423. doi: 10.1007/s00415-020-10080-6. Epub 2020 Jul 21.
  4. Consonni M, Dalla Bella E, Bersano E, Faltracco V, Telesca A, Giuga E.I, Lauria G. Loneliness is a threat to neurobehavioral functioning in Amiotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. JNNP Under review

Congress presentations:

  • M.Consonni, A. Telesca, E.Dalla Bella, E.Bersano, G.Lauria. “Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis patients and caregivers’s distress during COVID-19 locdkwown”, Short-talk: XXVI Congresso AIP Sezione Sperimentale, VIRTUAL EDITION, Sept., 3rd, 2020
  • E.Bersano, E. Dalla Bella, M. Consonni, A. Telesca, G. Lauria. “Correlation between respiratory functions and cognition on Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis”, 50° Congresso SIN, Bologna Oct., 12-15th 2019
  • Telesca, A. Vergallito, P. Riva, G. Mattavelli, A. Gallucci, B. Bushman, L. J. Romero Lauro “Combining TMS and EEG to study how tDCS over rVLPFC modulates brain responses to social Exclusion”, Short-talk: XXV Congresso AIP Sezione Sperimentale, Milano San Raffaele Sept., 22-23nd 2019