Tag Archives: neuroscience

Microglia and Pain

Microglia may be the missing clue to solve the opioid epidemic – Sara WhitestoneNeuroscience – Université de Bordeaux – May 2019

neuroscientists have discovered a new therapeutic target for managing pain: microglia.

Pain, as an acute sensation, serves as a warning to help your body prevent injury or avoid further harm.

the message from your stubbed toe is forced to go through a series of checkpoints—or gates—which will either open or shut to control the intensity of pain you perceive.

When pain becomes chronic, this signaling and the gate controls go haywire. Nerves become hyper-sensitive, firing off messages to the brain even in the absence of an injury.   Continue reading

Modulation of pain by estrogens

Here are 4 PubMed scientific studies exploring how estrogen affects all different aspects of pain: its sensation, its interaction with opioid receptors, and its memory. Estrogen is clearly important, but the interactions with pain sensation are very complex.

Just like with hormone replacement therapy, the effects of estrogen on pain probably differ a great deal between individuals.

Pronociceptive and Antinociceptive Effects of Estradiol through Endogenous Opioid Neurotransmission in Women – NCBI – May 2006

Prominent interindividual and sex-dependent differences have been described in responses to sustained pain and other stressful stimuli. Variations in μ-opioid receptor-mediated endogenous opioid neurotransmission may underlie some of these processes.   Continue reading

Different Pain, Different Neural Circuits

Responses to External Threats and Sustained Pain Travel Via Different Neural Circuits – Practical Pain Management – By Kerri Wachter with Qiufu Ma, PhD – Jan 2019

New study outcomes in mice suggest that common pain measurement tools may be inadequate.

Different neural pathways appear to underlie

  • reflexive responses to external threats and
  • coping responses to sustained pain

I’m surprised this hasn’t been obvious to researchers because it’s certainly clear to pain patients. The experience of acute pain, like stubbing your toe, is wildly different than that of long-term pain, like failed back surgery, so it seems obvious to me that different aspects of our nervous system are involved.  Continue reading

Enhanced Interoception Links EDS and Anxiety

How Enhanced Interoception links EDS and Anxiety  – Wikipedia

I wasn’t aware of the complexity involved in “feeling what I’m feeling”, so I’m posting relevant parts of this extensive article.

Knowing a bit about interoception is critical to understanding how a disorder of the connective tissue like EDS can result in altered emotions, mostly anxiety, through biochemical processes.

Interoception is contemporarily defined as the sense of the internal state of the body.   Continue reading

Link between anxiety and joint hypermobility

Neuroimaging and psychophysiological investigation of the link between anxiety, enhanced affective reactivity and interoception in people with joint hypermobility – May 2014

This study makes connections between the acute perception of our internal body states, which trigger excessive activation of our amygdala, with anxiety.

In lay terms, we are too sensitive and too responsive, thus unable to hold life’s rougher times at an arm’s distance. It’s as though we lack the protective barrier built into the “hardware” of most people to shield them from the extremes of their environment.

Objective: Anxiety is associated with increased physiological reactivity and also increased “interoceptive” sensitivity to such changes in internal bodily arousal.   Continue reading

The Landscape of Chronic Pain

The Landscape of Chronic Pain: Broader Perspectives – free full-text /PMC6572619/ – by Mark I. Johnson – May 2019

Here is a recent lengthy review of what’s known about chronic pain: the various aspects of various types of pain under various circumstances.

This article shows the folly of making any numerical one-dimensional measurement of chronic pain, which can arise from a variety of causes, vary greatly over time and location, and make such intrusive incursions into our inner lives.

This special issue on matters related to chronic pain aims to draw on research and scholarly discourse from an eclectic mix of areas and perspectives.   Continue reading

Turning Microbes Into Living Factories

Frances Arnold Turns Microbes Into Living Factories – NY Times – By Natalie Angier May 28, 2019

I’m posting this just because it fascinates me and I hope it stirs interest and curiosity in my readers as well.

The engineer’s mantra, said Frances Arnold, a professor of chemical engineering at the California Institute of Technology, is: “Keep it simple, stupid.” But Dr. Arnold, who last year became just the fifth woman in history to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, is the opposite of stupid, and her stories sometimes turn rococo.

…another of Dr. Arnold’s maxims:

“Give up the thought that you have control. You don’t.   Continue reading

Weak Motor Cortex may lead to Pain in FM & ME/CFS

Bad Engine? Is a Wimpy Motor Cortex Causing the Pain in Fibromyalgia (and ME/CFS)? – Health Risingby Cort Johnson | Apr 2019

Studies suggest it’s possible that every [problematic] aspect of muscle activity – from oxygen uptake by the muscles, to mitochondrial functioning, to lactate build up, to the ability of the muscles to relax, to problems with the microcirculationare present to some degree in fibromyalgia.

Every time you pick up a pen, hit a key on a keyboard, or turn on your smartphone, the premotor and supplementary motor areas of your motor cortex plan the movement first

Then your primary motor cortex sends a message to the muscles to act.    Continue reading

Missing Piece in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – Driscoll

Correcting the Missing Piece in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – Part 1: Discovery – by Diana Driscoll, OD, President of Genetic Disease Investigators – Jan 2016

This article explains the “Driscoll Theory”, which posits that “extremely low levels of the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine” is causing the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She makes a convincing argument:

Abstract

Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) can involve

  • the central nervous system (cognition, executive function, short- term memory),
  • the peripheral nervous system (muscle weakness, fatigue with exertion), and
  • the autonomic nervous system (heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, digestion).   

Continue reading

Scientists Partially Revive Disembodied Pig Brains

Scientists Partially Revive Disembodied Pig Brains, Raising Huge Questions – gizmodo.comby George Dvorsky – Apr 2019

Researchers from Yale have developed a system capable of restoring some functionality to the brains of decapitated pigs for at least 10 hours after death.

Developed by neuroscientist Nenad Sestan and his colleagues from Yale University, the system was shown to restore circulation and some cellular functionality to intact pig brains removed from the skull.

The brains were hooked up to the system, known as BrainEx, four hours after death was declared and after severe oxygen starvation, or anoxia, had set in.   Continue reading