Turning off certain brain cells can “deaden” pain

Feb 05, 2019, 8:06 AM EST
(Source: Luca Volpi/flickr)
(Source: Luca Volpi/flickr)

Pain, both a sensory and emotional experience, is distinct from other sensations, for it accompanies hurt and distress. Decoding the neurological factors that lend this unique “unpleasantness” to pain could help researchers formulate solutions to numb the discomfort.

The scientists at Stanford University may have already taken the first step in that direction. They recently studied mouse brains and identified a set of neurons that make pain “hurtful,” writes NPR. The researchers were successful in manipulating these neurons to decouple the unpleasantness of pain from its sensation, a breakthrough that lays the groundwork for targeted pain treatment.

In future, researchers could propose solutions, like switching off these neurons, which would eliminate the “negative perception of pain” while retaining the physical sensation of it, notes Scientific American.

TAGS: Pain