PET scan of a patient's brain before and after tDCS stimulation with red and yellow showing regions with large numbers of available mu-opioid receptors
Electric stimulation of the brain through the skull has been found to release a powerful, opiate-like painkiller (Image: Shutterstock)
Twenty to thirty percent of the world's population suffers from some sort of chronic pain, which is far more difficult to control than, say, the pain of a cut or bruise. A great deal of effort has gone into the search for medically acceptable ways to control such pain, with few good answers emerging. Now medical researchers at the University of Michigan have directly demonstrated that transcranial electrical stimulation of a patient's brain causes the release of a natural opiate that dulls or eliminates the perception of pain.
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