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Pain

Robotics

No pain no gain: Hurting robots so they can save themselves

It's probably not something you'd say to a person writhing in agony on the floor, but physical pain can have its benefits. It is after all how kids learn to be wary of hot surfaces and carpenters to hit nails on the head. Researchers are now adapting this exercise in self-learning to an artificial nervous system for robots, a tool they believe will better equip these machines to avoid damage and preserve their – and our – well-being. Read More

Medical

GM mice used in study to understand why some people can't feel pain

A new study from researchers at the UK's University College London (UCL) has examined a rare condition that makes people unable to feel pain, known as congenital insensitivity to pain (CIP). While previous projects have had little success in fully understanding the condition, the new effort represents a big breakthrough, pinpointing the key elements that cause it.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Software objectively assesses children's pain levels

It's important to know how much pain young hospital patients are experiencing, and not just because no one wants them to suffer – additionally, excessive pain can indicate problems that need addressing. That's why scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have developed facial pattern recognition software that objectively assesses children's pain levels based on consistent indicators.Read More

Medical

Scientists turn blood into nerve cells in pursuit of better pain relief

As it stands, there's not a whole lot we know about pain. Where a tissue or blood sample can be drawn and studied, our nervous system comprising different kinds of cells running signals through complex piping around the body presents a difficult task for scientific research. But a new study details a technique that turns blood cells into different nerve cells, promising to improve our understanding of why things itch or burn. By extension, it is hoped that it could lead to new forms of pain relief that do away with unwanted side effects such as sleepiness or loss of concentration.Read More

Science

Computer better than a human at telling if you're faking it

A computer-vision system able to detect false expressions of pain 30 percent more accurately than humans has been developed. Authors of the study, titled Automatic Decoding of Deceptive Pain Expressions, believe the technology has the potential for detecting other misleading behaviors and could be applied in areas including homeland security, recruitment, medicine and law.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Cefaly migraine prevention headband gets FDA approval

Though using electrical stimulation of the brain as a means of treating migraines has provided an alternative to over-the-counter medication, the administering of the electrical currents can be complex, involving bulky equipment or even surgically implanted electrodes. Cefaly, a battery-operated headband, has now been approved by FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) and is said to not only treat migraines, but possibly prevent them altogether. Read More

Medical

Brain releases powerful, opiate-like painkiller in repsonse to electric stimulation

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. Read More

Medical

MIT researchers develop painless medical tape for newborns

Pulling off a finger plaster is one of life’s little trials that can reveal a lot about a person. Do it fast or do it slow, it still hurts like heck and there’s no pretending that it didn't. For an adult, it’s an instant of pain, but for a newborn it can mean injury or even permanent scarring. In order to prevent this, a team of researchers are developing a new medical tape that can be pulled off safely without tearing delicate infant skin.Read More

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