Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Researchers in Illinois have designed a wireless and battery-less device that can be implanted under the skin to block pain signals from reaching the brain. The researchers stated that one huge benefit to these devices is that they are LED lit and and enable scientists to work with neurons in the spinal cord or other locations outside the CNS.
The research was done using genetically engineered mice with light-sensitive proteins on specific nerve cells. "In order to establish that their implants could disrupt the pain pathway in nerve cells, the team triggered a pain response using light; as the mice walked through a certain area in a maze, the researchers activated the devices, causing discomfort for the mice. Then, when they left that area, the devices switched off, clearing the discomfort." (Ellis) This study shows that the devices are able to deliver pain; however, researchers believe that the devices could also be used to block pain. The hope in this research is that patients suffering from chronic and untreatable pain will be provided with a cure.
I found this article to be very interesting. Many people suffer from chronic pain, young and old; with this new technology patients could potentially have a life altering cure. Pain limits a person's ability to do much of anything so results like this could bring people their lives back. I hope that more research is done on this and I would be interested to see if this device makes it into the medical field.
Check out the full article here! To see symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of chronic pain click here.