Tag Archives: neuroscience

Without New Proteins, Chronic Pain Cannot Take Off

Lost in Translation: Without New Proteins, Chronic Pain Cannot Take Off – Pain Research Forum – by Nathan Fried – Feb 2018

A first-in-class RNA decoy blocks PABP from attaching to messenger RNA, preventing translation and pain sensitization.

Pain sensitivity after an injury, such as damage to a nerve or an inflammatory insult, involves the synthesis of new proteins in pain neurons.

This process is thought to play a role in the transition from acute to chronic pain, suggesting that blocking it may prevent chronic pain from developing in the first place. Now, a new paper reports a novel strategy to inhibit protein synthesis and stop pain in mice.   Continue reading

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Opioid Antagonists in Chronic Pain Management

A Fresh Look at Opioid Antagonists in Chronic Pain Management – October 16, 2017 – By Dmitry M. Arbuck, MD

The article explains how these drugs are *not* effective for the pain from physical damage but are able to reduce the pain from neurological “central pain sensitization”.

As clinicians reduce their reliance on opioids for the treatment of pain, they are turning to a wider array of pharmacological tools and approaches to help overcome deficiencies of opioids, such as treatment-limiting side effects, and as aids in relieving difficult-to-treat pain conditions.

One such approach is the use of opioid antagonists. The use of opioid antagonists—in particular, naltrexone and naloxone—in chronic pain management is not new, but it deserves more recognition and acceptance than it enjoys presently.   Continue reading

How Your Mind Reacts to Stress

How Your Mind Reacts to Stress – May 2018 / By Tali Sharot

Some of the most important decisions you will make in your lifetime will occur while you feel stressed and anxious.

Do we become better or worse at processing and using information under such circumstances?

Many of us live as if we are in real danger, constantly ready to put out the flames of demanding emails and text messages.   Continue reading

A Pathogenic Autoantibody Causes Pain

When the Immune System Attacks Its Own Proteins, Pain Can Emerge – RELIEF: PAIN RESEARCH NEWS, INSIGHTS AND IDEAS – April 2018

The results of this study are pretty amazing: injecting a “pain protein” from humans into normal mice caused the mice to feel pain.

This directly contradicts the popular belief that pain isn’t a physical entity in itself, but rather a bio-psycho-social disorder. Now we know that’s simply not true.

Unremitting pain may eventually create a bio-psycho-social disorder by leading to deconditioning, depression, and isolation, but those are consequences, not causes.    Continue reading

Fibromyalgia & Rheumatoid Arthritis Features Overlap

Imaging Study Finds Rheumatoid Arthritis Shares Neurobiological Features of Fibromyalgia – Pain Medicine News

Patients with rheumatoid arthritis who have increased levels of fibromyalgianess (FMness)—a continuous measure of fibromyalgia—show neurobiological features that are consistently observed in fibromyalgia patients, according to a study that used neuroimaging.

“This is the first study to provide neuroimaging evidence that rheumatoid arthritis [RA] is a mixed pain state,” said senior author Daniel Clauw, MD, a professor of anesthesiology and the director of the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor. 

I believe this is true for me and my EDS + Fibromyalgia: the endlessly repeating small injuries and pains from EDS eventually sensitized my nervous system into a state of “fibromyalgia-ness”. I can easily imagine the same would happen with RA. Continue reading

Endogenous versus Medical Opioid Actions

Study upends conventional view of opioid mechanism of action | National Institutes of Health (NIH) – May 10, 2018

NIH-funded scientists find new molecular target for developing safer pain medications.

A new discovery shows that opioids used to treat pain, such as morphine and oxycodone, produce their effects by binding to receptors inside neurons, contrary to conventional wisdom that they acted only on the same surface receptors as endogenous opioids, which are produced naturally in the brain.   Continue reading

High Quality Study Shows NO Hyperalgesia

Analgesic tolerance without demonstrable opioid-induced hyperalgesia: a double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of sustained-release morphine. – PubMed – NCBI – Pain. 2012 Aug

This is the highest quality of research design: double-blinded, randomized, and placebo-controlled – you can ask for nothing more – and it showed NO hyperalgesia.

Although often successful in acute settings, long-term use of opioid pain medications may be accompanied by waning levels of analgesic response not readily attributable to advancing underlying disease, necessitating dose escalation to attain pain relief.  

How would a doctor or even a patient be able to tell the difference between increasing tolerance and “advancing underlying disease”?  Continue reading

Executive function in chronic pain patients

Executive function in chronic pain patients and healthy controls: Different cortical activation during response inhibition in fibromyalgia – free full-text  /PMC3715316/  – Dec 2011

The primary symptom of fibromyalgia (FM) is chronic, widespread pain; however, patients report additional symptoms including decreased concentration and memory.

Performance based deficits are seen mainly in tests of working memory and executive function.

Neural correlates of executive function were investigated in 18 FM patients and 14 age-matched HCs during a simple go/no-go task (response inhibition) while they underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).   Continue reading

Exploding Brain Network Causing Chronic Pain?

Does an Exploding Brain Network Cause Chronic Pain? – Michigan Medicine – University of Michigan – Jan 2018

A new study finds that patients with fibromyalgia have brain networks primed for rapid, global responses to minor changes.

This abnormal hypersensitivity, called explosive synchronization (ES), can be seen in other network phenomena across nature.

Researchers from the University of Michigan and Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea report evidence of ES in the brains of people with fibromyalgia, a condition characterized by widespread, chronic pain.   Continue reading

To treat back pain, look to the brain not the spine

To treat back pain, look to the brain not the spine | Aeon Essays – September 2017 by Cathryn Jakobson Ramin

For patient after patient seeking to cure chronic back pain, the experience is years of frustration. Whether they strive to treat their aching muscles, bones and ligaments through physical therapy, massage or rounds of surgery, relief is often elusive – if the pain has not been made even worse.

Now a new working hypothesis explains why: persistent back pain with no obvious mechanical source does not always result from tissue damage.

Instead, that pain is generated by the central nervous system (CNS) and lives within the brain itself.   Continue reading