Scientists find a new method to block pain
In a new study from King’s College London and elsewhere, researchers found that low levels of electrical current can be used to inhibit pain signals in nerves from ever reaching the brain.
This results in a strong decrease in the levels of pain experienced by people.
Previous studies have shown that electrical neuromodulation (the alteration of pain perception through targeted delivery of electrical impulses) can be used as an alternative to medication and more specifically opioids.
Previously, electrical approaches relied on activating neural circuits to indirectly depress pain signaling.
The novel treatment in the study instead directly inhibits pain signals before they can be relayed to the brain.
The researchers performed the computational modeling in the study to examine the potential scientific mechanisms of the immediate and delayed conduction block effects.
The findings provide insights into the dramatic pain relief observed in the clinical trial.
The team says this technology is extremely exciting because it provides a novel approach to treat chronic pain.
It has the ability to directly inhibit pain signaling, while other neuromodulation approaches typically rely on activating neural circuits to more indirectly reduce pain transmission.
The study is published in Science Translational Medicine. One author of the study is Scott Lempka, Ph.D.
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