Sensory Organs in the Fingertips

Chronic Pain Conditions, Chronic Pain News, Nerve Pain
That a finger can distinguish the texture of satin from suede is an exquisite sensory discrimination largely relying on small sensory organs in the fingertips called Merkel discs. Jianguo Gu, Ph.D., of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, has now unraveled how the sensory information is processed in the Merkel discs and further conveyed to the ending of a sensory nerve, the start of its journey to the brain. Such molecular understanding about the sensory information transmission between Merkel cells and nerve endings may lay the foundation to treat the intense pain felt by patients with a gentle touch of their inflamed skin—a pathological pain known as tactile allodynia. This knowledge may also point to how diabetes patients lose their sense of touch. And this new knowledge may lead to…
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Regenerative Biology: A New Molecule Regenerates Bone Tissue

Chronic Pain Conditions, Chronic Pain News
Researchers from California discover the key to simplifying the creation of engineered bones: adenosine. This naturally occurring molecule can be injected into bone tissue to coax human pluripotent stem cells to regenerate. REGENERATING BONE TISSUE The incidence of bone disorders, particularly in populations where aging is tied to rising obesity rates and poor physical activity, has been increasing steadily— so much so that it is expected to double in the coming years. UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. To date, bone grafts have been the only solution to this problem. But researchers from the University of California in San Diego have now found a speedier and more efficient way to regenerate bone tissue. This is a major leap in the field of regenerative medicine, specifically for engineering bone tissue,…
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Boost Immune System to Effect Repairs and Fight Disease

Chronic Pain News, Therapies & Treatments
Applications from Regenerative Medicine to Gene Therapy to Antiviral Therapeutics Emphasize Self-Healing Therapeutic interventions of various kinds try to improve the body’s capacity to defend, repair, and even cure itself. Interventions that attempt to enhance self-healing span cell-based therapy, gene therapy, small molecule drugs, biologics, and tissue engineering. Advances in each of these areas are being followed by Allied Market Research, which has concluded that stem cell technologies look especially promising. For example, stem cell technologies are set to revolutionize the human ability to produce neural cells in abundance. Stem cells may overcome a limitation of human tissues that is as sobering as it is familiar: the retina and the central nervous system have extremely poor regenerative capabilities. This limitation seems all the more dire when one contemplates the prevalence…
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Substance P: new chemical capable of controlling pain

Chronic Pain News
Scientists have found a substance that activates pain along the central nervous system, which is also able to decrease pain in the peripheral nervous system. It was named Substance P, and it may be the reason why many pain management drugs appear to be successful amid laboratory tests and unsatisfactory in real-life circumstances. The study was published in the journal Antioxidants and Redox Signaling, on June 15. It explains how scientists from Hebei Medical University in China and the University of Leeds in the U.K. Came across Substance P, a peptide that promotes pain responses of different kinds through the nervous system. Substance P controls pain Substance P is synthesized in all of the nerves that send signals from and towards the brain and the spinal cord. The peptide desensitizes…
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Food as medicine: importance of nutrition in disease

Chronic Pain News, Lifestyle Tips for Chronic Pain
‘‘Get your health from the farm, not from the pharmacy.’’ That’s not necessarily what you’d expect to hear at an international conference attended by some of the biggest names in the world of medicine and nutrition. Nor do you expect this declaration to be received with clapping, whooping and cheering from a respectable crowd of multidisciplinary healthcare professionals and for it to be tweeted and retweeted ad infinitum. However, the title of the conference should give this some context. ‘Food. The Forgotten Medicine’ was convened by the College of Medicine (9 June 2016) to explore how food and diet can be incorporated into routine clinical practice to promote health. The criticism was actually levelled primarily at GPs who, with limited consultation time to discuss diet and lifestyle, tend to send…
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Emotional Expression Benefits Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain News, Nerve Pain
A therapeutic intervention involving confronting and expressing emotional and traumatic experiences shows greater improvement in fibromyalgia pain compared with conventional cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), randomized trial results show. It was also linked to significant pain reductions when offered as a one-time intervention in the primary care setting, researchers report. "Current evidence-based psychological interventions for fibromyalgia, such as CBT, are relatively weak, we believe, because they do not help patients disclose, target, and resolve their conflicted emotional experiences," senior author Mark Lumley, PhD, professor of psychology at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, told Medscape Medical News. "We have demonstrated, however, that doing so leads to improved outcomes for patients with fibromyalgia, including a substantial minority of patients who no longer meet diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia." The findings, from the PAST-FM (Pain and…
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Neuroinflammation: How it causes Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain News, Nerve Pain
What is neuroinflammation and why does it cause severe burning pain even when there seems to be no injury? Let me explain it as simply as I can. Say you sprain your ankle. Your ankle then hurts, swells, discolors, and the pain limits use. The swelling occurs because of “healing” chemicals that move into the affected area and work to repair any damage. In a typical person, this process is successful and the healing chemicals trigger another set of chemicals to take the healing chemicals away. The swelling and discoloration go away and the person doesn’t have any additional issues healing from that trauma. But sometimes the healing process doesn’t work correctly and the neuroinflammation becomes chronic, activating glial cells in our spine and brain. This poor healing process changes…
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Buprenorphine Patches in Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

Chronic Pain Conditions, Chronic Pain News, Nerve Pain
[caption id="attachment_147" align="alignleft" width="300"] Buprenorphine may be an effective therapy for diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain.[/caption] Transdermal buprenorphine may be an effective therapy for diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain (DPNP), however the treatment was associated with a high rate of adverse events, mostly nausea and/or vomiting. The findings come from a newly published multi-center, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group trial. Ninety-three patients with type 1 or 2 diabetes were enrolled and received either buprenorphine (5μg/h) or placebo patches. All of the patients had been experiencing moderate to severe DPNP for a minimum of 6 months on maximal tolerated conventional therapy. The dose was titrated to effect to a maximum of 40μg/h. Results showed that of those who completed the study, the buprenorphine group had 86.3% who experienced a 30% reduction in average versus…
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Tarantula toxin untangles pain pathways

Chronic Pain News, Therapies & Treatments
[caption id="attachment_796" align="alignleft" width="400"] The Togo starburst tarantula (Heteroscodra maculata) produces two toxins that target the Nav1.1 voltage-gated sodium channel. Photograph: Lucas Foglia.[/caption] A toxin isolated from the Togo starburst tarantula provides new insights into pain mechanisms and could lead to new treatments for irritable bowel syndrome. With their large, hairy bodies and long legs, tarantulas are an arachnophobe’s worst nightmare. For pain researchers, however, these outsized spiders are a dream come true: Their venom contains a cocktail of toxins, each of which activates pain-sensing nerve fibers in different ways, and researchers in the United States have now identified one such toxin that will help them to better understand pain, and could also lead to treatments for the chronic pain associated with irritable bowel syndrome. Physical pain signals are transmitted…
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Blocking Intracellular Glutamate May Halt Neuropathic Pain

Chronic Pain News, Peripheral Neuropathy, Therapies & Treatments
Experiments to block receptors deep within spinal neurons, metabotropic glutamate 5 receptors (mGluR5), may open the door to more effective treatments for neuropathic pain. Understanding how the body processes pain is essential to understanding how to better treat it. Aiding in that understanding has been intense research on one of the key players that transmit nociceptive information through the body. G-protein-couple receptors (GPCRs) play a critical role in various bodily functions, including as a mediator of neuroplasticity underlying chronic pain.  One specific receptor, metabotropic glutamate 5 receptor (mGluR5), is heavily abundant in the dorsal horn (DH),1,2 prime real estate for the relay of pain information throughout the central nervous system (CNS).3 While researchers already know that mGluR5 influences hypersensitivity following a nerve injury, they haven’t understood whether these effects are…
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