Researchers Demonstrate How Brains Upgrading or Downgrading Pc

Wednesday, October 16, 2019 - 16:07

Researchers of National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) demonstrated that brain circuitry is responsible for upgrading or downgrading pain signals.

Based on a new study, published in Cell Reports, Yarimar Carrasquillo, the paper's senior author and a scientist for the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), told AFP the region responsible was the central amygdala, which according to her work appeared to play a dual role.

Studying mice, Carrasquillo and her colleagues found that the activity in neurons that express protein kinase C-delta amplified pain, while neurons that express somatostatin inhibited the chain of activity in the nerves required to communicate pain, Medical Express reports.

The central amygdala isn't completely responsible for pain itself: if it were removed entirely, then "the 'ouch' of things, or the protective pain, would remain intact," said Carrasquillo.

"It seems to be sitting there waiting for something to happen," for example responding to stress or anxiety that amplifies pain, or being forced to focus on a task that diverts your attention and reduces pain.

Experiencing pain can be a vital warning to seek help, for example in a person experiencing appendicitis or a heart attack.

By better understanding the brain mechanisms responsible for pain modulation, researchers hope to eventually find better cures: potentially ones that target only those forms of pain that are "bad" and not useful.

"The healthy response is you get pain, it tells you something is wrong, it heals, and the pain goes away," said Carrasquillo.

"In chronic pain, that doesn't happen, the system gets stuck. If we can identify what makes the system gets stuck, then we can reverse it."

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