(CTN News) – There is growing hope that brain stimulation therapies will treat those suffering from intractable chronic pain, as scientists have discovered brain signals that demonstrate how much pain a person is suffering.
As well as being utilized by patients who suffer from major depression and Parkinson’s disease, these therapies will also be brought to the attention of people who are experiencing chronic pain and are unsure of what to do.
“Prasad Shirvalkar, a neurologist and lead researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, has reported that chronic pain can be tracked and predicted in the real world, whether patients are walking their dogs, getting up in the morning, or going about their daily lives.
A “silent pandemic” of chronic pain has affected nearly 28 million people in the United Kingdom.
Arthritis, cancer, back problems, diabetes, stroke, and endometriosis are among the causes.
There is no proper treatment available for chronic pain, which has resulted in an increase in the use of potent opioids. Health experts are rethinking the treatment of patients with this condition.
A study published in Nature Neuroscience implanted electrodes in four patients with intractable chronic pain following strokes or limb losses.
Using the remote handsets, patients were able to record activity in two brain regions – the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and orbitofrontal cortex (OFC).
In addition to completing short surveys whenever they experienced pain, participants were asked to take a snapshot of their brain activity several times a day.
In their study, the researchers reported that they were able to train an algorithm that could predict a person’s pain based on their electrical signals in their OFC, as described by the scientists.
As a result, Shirvalkar and others have developed a biomarker that is capable of measuring this type of pain in the body.
They also found that accompanied acute and short-term pain, such as that produced by a hot object touching the skin for a short period of time, there are very different brain activities that occur.
A study conducted by Shirvalkar found that chronic pain was not just a more enduring version of acute pain, but a fundamentally different biological process.
According to our research, it is hoped that as we learn more about this issue, we will be able to use the information to develop personalised neurological stimulation therapies that can be used to treat the most severe forms of pain.
As a result of these findings, clinical trials investigating deep brain stimulation with regard to chronic pain may benefit from these findings.
It is reported that Blair Smith, a professor of chronic pain at the University of Dundee who was not involved in the study, has said that it is difficult for doctors to assess whether treatment is working because there are no objective measures for pain.
“If this research is extended successfully, not only will it provide a means of objectively measuring some types of pain, but it may also facilitate a deeper understanding of the underlying biological mechanisms.”
According to Smith, “pain is a complex phenomenon, influenced by psychological, social, and cultural factors, as well as previous experiences of pain and expectations. All of these factors feed into.”